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Old 09-05-2012, 05:01 PM   #41
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The other issue is the financial sustainability and efficiency of option A in post 36.
I still question how sustainable the Nordic SS systems are, in terms of future unfunded liabilities and payouts, and income.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:35 PM   #42
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The other issue is the financial sustainability and efficiency of option A in post 36.
I still question how sustainable the Nordic SS systems are, in terms of future unfunded liabilities and payouts, and income.
In our (non oil lubed) pension system there are four levels of corrections to save the system from market and demographic changes. The pre 90s system was more generous but a sure path to broke due to demographics (system designed when life expectancy was just 5 years higher than the retirement age, not 20 as today).
So I'm pretty confident the system will survive, but it level out at around $100k (employer cost vise), where individual add-on systems start to get important (if you want to keep a high percentage of that income).

What level you place the base security at (between not being executed for sleeping on the air vent and living like a king) will affect the society at large.

The carrot and the stick can be used in different ways (including the stick in your eye and the carrot up your ***).
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:34 PM   #43
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Why is the freedom to **** up your life such a valued quality in the american society? Full personal freedom is not achieved until there are no laws restricting you, yet no one will accept anarchy.
Genious question is genious.

But there are always answers.

Have you ever heard of idea called "The American dream"?

It's an idea which is incredibly well engrained within the contributing workforce of our society. The basic, no frills, premise of "The American Dream" is that "Anyone can become great on their own". The important part of this is not "Anyone can become great", but rather "on their own"

The framework for our country was founded on the belief that "all men are created equal", and as such, all men have rights which no man shall ever cross.

All men have a right to "life".
All men have a right to "liberty".
All men have a right to "pursue happiness".

Those rights are listed in order of importance.

"The American dream" has become almost a myth in today's world, but not completely. The principles behind it are still solid, and anyone can still become great on their own.

"Full personal freedom" is not something we seek to achieve, as by our very nature, we strongly support laws which protect people from each other. For instance, if I were to give someone the liberty to carelessly murder an innocent person, I will have violated the right of "life" to give someone the right of "liberty", and since life is more important than liberty, this can not be allowed to happen (which is a HUGE reason why gun laws are so controversial in the USA); however, In my biased American opinion, it should be a crime punishable by death, to propose a law which would protect me from myself, for if you pass such a law, you are infringing upon both my right to liberty, and my right to pursue my own happiness without positively affecting my right to "life" (or my right to die because I made unhealthy or uneconomic choices in my life - the right to "life" is only a right insofar as no other man may take your right to life, but it is misconstrued in modern times to suggest that "you are not allowed to die by your own choices"). I think Social Security Tax is unlawful, but I'm not willing to argue about why - it's just my opinion, and I don't have a good enough reason to fight an inefficient system which will one day (hopefully) supplement my much more significant retirement income.

My train of thought has crossed several switches, but I hope I got the point across.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:38 PM   #44
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The other issue is the financial sustainability and efficiency of option A in post 36.
I still question how sustainable the Nordic SS systems are, in terms of future unfunded liabilities and payouts, and income.
It might be worth noting that Norway and Sweden both are autonomous issuers of free-floating currency. Denmark gave up autonomy by pegging to the euro and Finland is part of the European Monetary Union (thus also giving up monetary autonomy).

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Have you ever heard of idea called "The American dream"?

It's an idea which is incredibly well engrained within the contributing workforce of our society. The basic, no frills, premise of "The American Dream" is that "Anyone can become great on their own". The important part of this is not "Anyone can become great", but rather "on their own"

[...]

"Full personal freedom" is not something we seek to achieve, as by our very nature, we strongly support laws which protect people from each other.

[...]

My train of thought has crossed several switches, but I hope I got the point across.
I want to preface this by saying that you, fooger, have been admirably consistent in being the most likely to be labeled an "Extreme Social Darwinist" in that, unless I am misconstruing your position, you would be in favor of letting someone who could not or chose not to afford health insurance die on the street after being hit by a car or struck by some freak accident (lightning strike). Likewise, a poor family that did not have enough to eat should either figure out how to make more money (legally), find a private institution for charitable handouts or be prepared to have family members die of starvation until their income can feed everyone. Not necessarily in your order of preference.


However, I have to disagree with your definition the American Dream. I don't know who coined that phrase, but America was not founded by an individual or a bunch of single families each living in cabins miles from the nearest neighbor. Maybe I am taking your phrase "on their own" too literally, but America - since the days of the Pilgrims - has always been about communities of people.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:56 PM   #45
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The pilgrims were seeking freedom from governmental control. Governmental control, and taxation, followed them as the colonies fell under increasing regulation as territory of England. This chain of overarching English control did not cease until the end of the Revolutionary War (and frankly, this territorial control did not cease to be contested by the British until the Treaty of Ghent was ratified in 1815). The control of a powerful central government over its citizens is the antithesis of the original American Dream.

I am not bothered at all that the Scandinavian countries and many others have cradle to grave guarantees within their system of government or that they choose to fund it as a priority. I also have no problem with some of my fellow Americans finding that same cradle to grave institutionalized government system enticing or attractive. I do, however, have a problem with them attempting to implement that system in our country against the rules on which our system of governance is based. I would encourage citizens that were attracted to that style of society to pursue it in the places where it already exists as opposed to dismantling or distorting the fundamentals of this society's design. There is no good reason to take the world's only society based upon self-determination and rugged individualism and change it to a government-dependent society when there are already so many of that sort already in existence. It defies logic.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:08 PM   #46
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The control of a powerful central government over its citizens is the antithesis of the original American Dream.
You forgot the part about how the American Dreamers needed welfare handouts from the natives.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:02 PM   #47
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You forgot the part about how the American Dreamers needed welfare handouts from the natives.
They more often killed and robbed the Indians than sought handouts from them. They were, after all, English, and the Indians were considered less than human.

Footnote: http://www.danielnpaul.com/TheRealThanksgiving.html
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:53 PM   #48
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I want to preface this by saying that you, fooger, have been admirably consistent in being the most likely to be labeled an "Extreme Social Darwinist" in that, unless I am misconstruing your position, you would be in favor of letting someone who could not or chose not to afford health insurance die on the street after being hit by a car or struck by some freak accident (lightning strike). Likewise, a poor family that did not have enough to eat should either figure out how to make more money (legally), find a private institution for charitable handouts or be prepared to have family members die of starvation until their income can feed everyone. Not necessarily in your order of preference.
At least I'm consistent; you are absolutely correct in your labeling of my social views. I have a "death before entitlement" view on life, where I'd rather die a painful and unnatural death than take something I didn't earn with zero expectations that I'd pay it back. I also agree with you that my views are far too extremist to ever be implemented in modern society. My opinions are based on the idea that when given the choice between hard, repetitive, menial labor, and dying of starvation/freezing/sickness, the able bodied will do everything in their power to provide for themselves and their families, but when the basic requirements to sustain life are provided "free of charge", those same people have little to no motivation to produce anything for themselves.

Maybe I'm biased? My father drove a semi 80 hours/week so that I could grow up in a trailer park. He left every morning long before I woke up, and he often got home in the evenings well past my bedtime. After 25 years of driving a truck as an owner-operator, all he has to show for it is a bad back, but you will never hear him complain. Now, I get to hear his stories of guys coming in for an interview, and at the end of their interview, when he offers them a job, they tell him "I've still got a lot of unemployment time left, can I start in about 8 months?" At least he has paid into the social security pool all of his working life; that would probably be his "retirement", but I expect that he'll probably work until he dies; he doesn't know anything else.

So yes, maybe I'm biased, but I understand that my views are extremist and socially un-implementable. I willingly accept the fact that the majority will find my views offensive, and that I will probably never convince another soul to change their views to mirror my own (nor do I really care to), but thank you for understanding that my views on society are far different than yours, and not trying to convince me that I'm somehow "wrong", I really appreciate that.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:28 PM   #49
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The pilgrims were seeking freedom from governmental control. [...] The control of a powerful central government over its citizens is the antithesis of the original American Dream.
This is a much more nuanced perspective that I can appreciate.

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There is no good reason to take the world's only society based upon self-determination and rugged individualism and change it to a government-dependent society when there are already so many of that sort already in existence. It defies logic.
I suppose it goes back to trying to determine when was the height of American society and what were the things that made it great? Then, thinking about whether there is a way to take some of the best elements of other times and other places and incorporate them in to the USA.

For example, most of the Greatest Generation had corporate versions of what a Nord or Swede would receive from their government. You might also, upon further research, be surprised (as I was) at how de-centralized the Scandinavian "welfare states" are.

It's less a question of "how can we make the USA into Sweden/Norway/Germany/etc?" and more "is there something we can glean from those countries that might incrementally (or drastically) improve the USA?"

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I willingly accept the fact that the majority will find my views offensive, and that I will probably never convince another soul to change their views to mirror my own (nor do I really care to), but thank you for understanding that my views on society are far different than yours, and not trying to convince me that I'm somehow "wrong", I really appreciate that.
No worries. Like I said, admirably consistent and straight forward.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:13 AM   #50
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...you would be in favor of letting someone who could not or chose not to afford health insurance die on the street after being hit by a car or struck by some freak accident (lightning strike).
The myth here is that if gov't didn't do it, it wouldn't get done. That if gov't didn't have welfare, nobody would help the poor.

If you look at how inefficient the gov't is with welfare - what is it, 20c of every dollar collected, actually ends up with truly needy people - then to replace welfare, you'd only need to spend 20% the gov't did.

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Likewise, a poor family that did not have enough to eat should either figure out how to make more money (legally), find a private institution for charitable handouts or be prepared to have family members die of starvation until their income can feed everyone.
Again the same assumption. That society doesn't solve problems, only gov't does.

A wealthy society can well affort to take care of its poor, gov't welfare or not. In fact, I would argue that if gov't took less taxes, and meddled less in our lives, affairs, and business, that society as a whole would be much wealthier and thus be even more able to care of its poor.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:25 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
My opinions are based on the idea that when given the choice between hard, repetitive, menial labor, and dying of starvation/freezing/sickness, the able bodied will do everything in their power to provide for themselves and their families, but when the basic requirements to sustain life are provided "free of charge", those same people have little to no motivation to produce anything for themselves.

Now, I get to hear his stories of guys coming in for an interview, and at the end of their interview, when he offers them a job, they tell him "I've still got a lot of unemployment time left, can I start in about 8 months?"
Seems we even have stricter rules on receiving social benefits. There is a maximum of a year on unemploynment where you will have to register application for jobs and attend courses in forming job applications. The unemploynment office will also try to get you jobs and if you say no because you are to fancy to mop floors or pour concrete you will lose your benefits and your paynments will cease.
I`m not saying there are not people who have found their way to bend the rules and are fine with doing nothing, but we do try to make it hard for them and it is not socially acceptable living on welfare if you are able bodied. You will also be penalized for receiving when not entitled...

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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
The myth here is that if gov't didn't do it, it wouldn't get done. That if gov't didn't have welfare, nobody would help the poor.

If you look at how inefficient the gov't is with welfare - what is it, 20c of every dollar collected, actually ends up with truly needy people - then to replace welfare, you'd only need to spend 20% the gov't did.

Again the same assumption. That society doesn't solve problems, only gov't does.

A wealthy society can well affort to take care of its poor, gov't welfare or not. In fact, I would argue that if gov't took less taxes, and meddled less in our lives, affairs, and business, that society as a whole would be much wealthier and thus be even more able to care of its poor.
How would you pay for this private welfare system? Who would collect the money for it? And would they really be more effecient than the govt? Atleast the govt is not planning to make a profit on it.
I do not believe there will ever be a society populated by so many inherently good people that the poor could be cared for by non profit charity organizations. Few people actually do or give anything without expectiong something in return. Don`t forget the tax breaks you have for giving to charity.

One argument I would like to play is that by providing for those without jobs or not able to work they do not have to resort to crime to provide for themself. It also keeps the entire population more even, flattening the difference between the rich and the poor which I also think helps keep crime down.

I also think some americans try to make the social system we have look like a communist society where noody can excell at anything.
There is NOTHING in our society standing in your way if you want to pursue the "american dream" and become your own employer or just become incredibly rich and eat steaks every day...
(I think you can actually govt grants to get started as new jobs creates more tax revenue...)
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:02 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
The pilgrims were seeking freedom from governmental control. [...] The control of a powerful central government over its citizens is the antithesis of the original American Dream.
This is a much more nuanced perspective that I can appreciate.

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There is no good reason to take the world's only society based upon self-determination and rugged individualism and change it to a government-dependent society when there are already so many of that sort already in existence. It defies logic.
I suppose it goes back to trying to determine when was the height of American society and what were the things that made it great? Then, thinking about whether there is a way to take some of the best elements of other times and other places and incorporate them in to the USA.

For example, most of the Greatest Generation had corporate versions of what a Nord or Swede would receive from their government. You might also, upon further research, be surprised (as I was) at how de-centralized the Scandinavian "welfare states" are.

It's less a question of "how can we make the USA into Sweden/Norway/Germany/etc?" and more "is there something we can glean from those countries that might incrementally (or drastically) improve the USA?"

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Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
I willingly accept the fact that the majority will find my views offensive, and that I will probably never convince another soul to change their views to mirror my own (nor do I really care to), but thank you for understanding that my views on society are far different than yours, and not trying to convince me that I'm somehow "wrong", I really appreciate that.
No worries. Like I said, admirably consistent and straight forward.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:15 AM   #53
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Just for fun?

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Old 09-06-2012, 11:42 AM   #54
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How would you pay for this private welfare system? Who would collect the money for it?
Firstly in the absence of gov't welfare, to protect against job loss or disability more people would:
1) keep a rainy day fund
2) purchase disability insurance, probably as part of life insurance
3) have more money to help family and friends out

You don't need a centralized welfare "system". The first line of defense against adversity should be family and friends. For example, when a friend lost her job, I let her stay in our spare room and borrow my spare car for several months while she got back on her feet. That cost me what, $100 per month? (I did this for 2 friends, at different times) If only gov't helped her, then she would have had to rent a room for $500 a month, rent a car for $200/month, and so on. In this example you can see how much more efficient family or friends would be compared to gov't.

Besides, as a friend, I am more likely to egg her to find a job, vs. a gov't bureaucrat handing out a check.

Also, this country has a history of community - people help each other out in neighborhoods and churches. In the 1920s, "mutual aid" societies were very popular. They were effectively wiped out by gov't:
Welfare before the Welfare State - Joshua Fulton - Mises Daily


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and would they really be more effecient than the govt?
If it's true the gov't's efficiency is anywhere near 20%, then yes, of course. The "efficiencies" of many large charities (e.g. Red Cross), are public information, and IIRC they are in the 80-92% range.

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At least the govt is not planning to make a profit on it.
Charities aren't for profit, else they wouldn't be called charities.

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I do not believe there will ever be a society populated by so many inherently good people that the poor could be cared for by non profit charity organizations.
If charity is 4x as efficient as gov't, then there would only need to be 1/4th as much dollars going to charity to match what gov't does now.

Also, you are falling for the myth that "people are inherently bad, gov't made of a few good individuals are needed to set them straight". The reality is backwards. Most people are inherently good, and the worst members of society rise to power. Tell me that you think the average politician is more morally upright than the average schmoe.

Besides, here's an example that shows how people behave in the absence of coercion: Tipping waiters. One can choose to never tip and never eat at the same restaurant twice. Yet most people tip even though they aren't forced by law or by threat of force.

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Few people actually do or give anything without expecting something in return. Don`t forget the tax breaks you have for giving to charity.
Gov't is an entity whose rules are enforced by the barrel of a gun. It gets its legitimacy by the illusion that it produces a net positive effect. If people thought paying taxes did zero good, they would change the gov't at the ballot box. There is nothing with "expecting something in return". For example, in the arts and music, private donations far exceed public funding. When people donate to the arts, it's because they envision having more art in the city they live. Is anything wrong with that?

Again look at the behaviour of tipping.

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One argument I would like to play is that by providing for those without jobs or not able to work they do not have to resort to crime to provide for themself. It also keeps the entire population more even, flattening the difference between the rich and the poor which I also think helps keep crime down.
What makes the poor richer is the free market.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:00 PM   #55
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That article was a great read. I also agree with the fact that most people are inherently good and will help those around them if they feel they need it. I myself have been housed by my ex's parents and fed for 3 years without any expectation of repayment because I was working and going to school and their home was much more convenient and economical for me to live at.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:38 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Firstly in the absence of gov't welfare, to protect against job loss or disability more people would:
1) keep a rainy day fund
2) purchase disability insurance, probably as part of life insurance
3) have more money to help family and friends out

You don't need a centralized welfare "system". The first line of defense against adversity should be family and friends. For example, when a friend lost her job, I let her stay in our spare room and borrow my spare car for several months while she got back on her feet. That cost me what, $100 per month? (I did this for 2 friends, at different times) If only gov't helped her, then she would have had to rent a room for $500 a month, rent a car for $200/month, and so on. In this example you can see how much more efficient family or friends would be compared to gov't.

What makes the poor richer is the free market.
I do agree with the general point you are making, but i can`t help getting a feeling like you believe we all count on the govt to provide everything for us at the blink at at eye, whatever the cost. This is not the case and i think you would find that most households have a rainy day fund, disability\debt insurance, and still enough money left over to help out family and friends when needed. It`s not like I give away all my monies to the govt and receive an allowanse as they see fit.

In what way can you not combine a social system with a free market?
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:03 PM   #57
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Genius article. I have always been of the opinion that the AMA is the most capitalistic organization on the planet, but I've never had any sort of evidence to support my opinion. I believe the AMA is so wildly successful because it has extorted the American public by blackmailing us with the threat of death. It's fantastic how easy it is to promote job security and growth when you can tell the people: "If this law isn't passed, you won't be able to afford medicine". I was actually thinking about this on the drive to my girlfriend's house yesterday. What they've done, with regard to health insurance, is akin to the US having only one auto manufacturer and zero importers, Well call them the American Motor Company. AMC produces 5 different vehicles, they are all passenger cars. They have models from base to luxury ranging in prices:
Base: $10,000
Sedan: $25,000
Family: $50,000
Touring: $100,000
Luxury: $500,000
One day, AMC, who has government backing as the official vehicle producing organization, decides that if EVERYONE bought only the Luxury car, they would be richer than their wildest dreams, so over the course of 25 years, they get laws passed through congress which slowly make the cars at the lower end of the spectrum illegal, because the base models are obviously less safe than the top of the line models. They concurrently launch an advertising campaign over the course of that 25 years which makes it socially unacceptable to not own a car if you are of legal driving age. At the end of their 25 year campaign, the only cars that are still legal to drive are the touring and luxury models, and as you might be able to see, very few 16 year olds can afford those cars, so they propose a new law which requires every person to pay a fixed percent of their income as a "lease tax", which passes by an overwhelming majority in a popular vote. The lease tax pays for every person in the country to own their very own Touring car. Per law, these cars will exist until they are ten years old, and will then be destroyed for a new car. Also, any new advancements in automotive technology will be paid for and installed in all of AMCs previous cars. The top 25% of drivers, based on driving habits recorded by the in-car black-box will be rewarded with Luxury cars, also paid for by the flat tax.

If you don't pay the full amount of the flat tax, the government has the legal right to seize all cars and assets owned by you and members of your family, and your registered friends.

The final legal stipulation is that the cars will all be sea-green.

Sounds fair to me...
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:13 PM   #58
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I do agree with the general point you are making, but i can`t help getting a feeling like you believe we all count on the govt to provide everything for us at the blink at at eye, whatever the cost. This is not the case and i think you would find that most households have a rainy day fund, disability\debt insurance, and still enough money left over to help out family and friends when needed. It`s not like I give away all my monies to the govt and receive an allowanse as they see fit.

In what way can you not combine a social system with a free market?
On our side of the puddle, most Americans do *not* have a rainy day fund, disability/debt insurance, or money to help family/friends when needed. Most Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and a blown transmission is a significant financial hardship which could take many months to recover from. Here, it is socially acceptable to receive government money, and for some people, it's expected. There are far more Americans than you would think who "count on the government to provide everything for them at the blink of an eye".

Yesterday, I again hit my "emergency fund" savings goal of $15,000, it's taken a year to save up from about 3 or 4 consecutive and significant blows. I'm so incredibly thrilled by that feeling, I've told myself for the last year that I would reward myself by finally buying the FMIIR upgrade once I saved it - but there's no way in hell I'm pulling money out of that $15,000. A car upgrade doesn't count as "rainy day", so now I have to save up play-money to spend on the car.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:19 PM   #59
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If I only got to keep 30% of my earnings, i don't know how "stress free" i'd be. Just referring to the OP, not the rest of this convo.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by fooger03 View Post
On our side of the puddle, most Americans do *not* have a rainy day fund, disability/debt insurance, or money to help family/friends when needed. Most Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and a blown transmission is a significant financial hardship which could take many months to recover from. Here, it is socially acceptable to receive government money, and for some people, it's expected. There are far more Americans than you would think who "count on the government to provide everything for them at the blink of an eye".
Do you have anything to back that up? Or do you just have an overactive imagination?
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