Florida did a round of drug testing for all current weflare recipients and people applying for benefits a while back. Out of everyone who was tested, 2% tested positive for drugs of some kind where as 2% refused to be tested. So, for Florida at least, we're looking at somewhere between 2-4% of welfare recipients that do drugs on a regular enough basis that they tested positive on a drug screen. I understand your disdain for not wanting to pay someone's way who is a lazy drug addict, but these people are few and far between. I don't think it's right to make the other 96% of people who aren't druggies suffer because of a few bad apples.
Personally I think the biggest roadblock to equality in this country is education. People across income levels and races do not get the same educational resources. You can't expect people to pick themselves up by their bootstraps if you don't give them the tools to do it. I'm not going to pretend that I know how to fix education in this country, but I DO think we should take a look at what other countries are doing that are currently beating us in test scores and in economy and maybe take some notes?
You and I are never going to agree on this subject. The way I see it, above a certain amount of money, everyone should be taxed at the same rate for ALL of their income. Say it's agreed on that it takes $30k to feed/house a person reasonably for a year (that's way more than it takes, but whatever). At $40k, everyone
is taxed at 25%.
Capital gains (i.e. money from the stock market that's taxed at a lesser rate than income) would also be included. No loopholes, nothing. If you make the money in the US, you pay taxes on it.
That sets a floor for taxes, and anyone under that doesn't owe a dime to the government. They'll still pay tax on goods and services in their daily lives, but that's included in the yearly cost of living.
And yes, everyone should have access to public education. They do already (or should, taxes pay for them). It's not nearly equal, but in a lot of cases (like for me, where I grew up in Chicago) taxes are higher to fund their schools. My parents paid higher taxes, and that allowed me to go to a better public school. There's a lot of ways we could divert funding to public schools, or have schools make their own money if the government wasn't so inept at making money.
His Excellency Aethien wrote:
But if you give those people drugs they stay at or near a place where they get help and where they can work to becoming a valuable part of society again, it also means that they won't go out stealing which saves everyone money (not to mention the savings of not having the war on drugs and the revenue from taxing the drugs) and let's face it, alcohol is as much of a drug as weed is, moreso even.
And it's not redistribution of wealth, it's providing a safety net so people don't end up in the gutter if something goes horribly wrong, it is protecting the people against themselves and society because some people frankly need it. And yes, that ends up costing you and your family more than average because in the end people with a lot of money also tend to profit more from other people being able to spend money on whatever it is they sell/work for.
Here's the bone I have to pick with that:
I work hard. I make a good salary for someone my age. I invest.
It is redistribution of wealth. I work hard for what I have. I'm taxed at a higher rate because I'm good at my job and because I work harder and am better educated than others.
I agree with your safety net, in theory. It should be for people that can prove that they're either going further with their education, or for people that have lost a job and are looking for a new one.
That's it. I know a lot of people (my ex's dad included) that game the system. They go out, apply to jobs that they have no business applying to, and then collect unemployment.
That's not even the drug abusers who abuse the system, either.
I'm all for helping people. Seriously, if I could continue my education and not have to work at the same time, I would love it. I could get my MBA and just dick around every day instead of having to work my ass off at work and then come home and work my ass off some more.
The thing is, this is why communism never worked. Most people will try their hardest to make a living doing whatever they can. Others, though, will try to beat the system and take advantage of any easy way out that they can. If everyone had a work ethic like mine, I'd be fine with redistribution of wealth because that would basically mean everyone was busting their ass every day and not sitting on it smoking pot.
Edit cuz I derped my math. Edited, Jan 8th 2013 4:32pm by Theophany