Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:39 PM
Moriarty's Avatar
Moriarty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 2,919

How large should the social safety net be?


[I wasn't entirely sure where to put this: IMHO? Elections? This seemed the most appropriate landing spot]

Democrats these days are sometimes derided by their opponents for trying to "buy" votes by offering "free" stuff to voters, in the form of things like college education, child care, and healthcare.

Now, any fair analysis of any particular Democratic plan would reveal that nothing is being offered for "free". Rather, they are proposing either raising revenue or using existing revenue to add certain things to (for purposes of discussion, I'm calling it) the 'social safety net'.

The things is, the concept of such a social safety net isn't new or altogether radical. In fact, it's sort of the underpinning of society - people congregate together because they can collectively provide for a better living environment than if people lived in isolation. And for generations we've understood that there are at least some services which should be collectively available, which are therefore collectively paid for.

Take fire abatement. Cities organized fire departments from before the beginning of the nation. Today, nobody thinks it odd, strange, or remotely controversial that anybody in town is entitled to help from the fire department if something is ablaze, or that the fee for this sort of thing is paid for indirectly by the community.

In our modern American life, there are other things that have been added to our social safety net which are also viewed as normal and justified: emergency response services (e.g. 911 calls), which can summon emergency healthcare, law enforcement, or the aforementioned fire abatement are currently entrenched parts of American life, and it would be a shock (and probably quite controversial) should somebody start trying to remove them, or make them fee-based ("911, what credit card will you be using today?").

So, too, with education between 1st and 12th grades. Or the ability to cross the country on paved roads that lack tolls. Things like these are not givens; they are not provided for in the constitution (unlike, say, the Post Office); nevertheless, we in 21st century USA have these things, and they are usually considered good.

In that vein, then, it is pretty absurd to say that Democratic proposals are socialism, or free giveaways - in our country, certain things are collectively offered for the good of all. And it is entirely fair to debate and argue about the scope of such things (I'm reminded of the old story about the man talking to the woman about the cost for sex; we've already established what she is, now we're just negotiating price).

For example, and jumping on some Democratic proposals:
Education: Should it be subsidized for residents between 1st and 12th grades, or should that also include preschool and college?

Healthcare: Should it be available without point of sale costs only when there's a dire emergency, or should that also apply to preventive care or more mundane maladies?

Other examples certainly abound (on almost any area, there are potential extremes. It's probably easy to agree to collective help if your home catches fire, but I doubt we'd all be on board with collective help if your home needs some repairs due to wear and tear).

What lines do you draw? How big should our safety net be?
  #2  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:44 PM
Max S. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,771
Generally, I draw the line at how much we can afford. Pensions offer no consolation if they are paid for out of overdrawn accounts.

~Max
  #3  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:51 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,967
I always suggest, given the rich, roboticized society we have, or want to have, people should be afforded a completely decent basic living without having to pay anything extra, because I would rather see talented, motivated people at my workplace rather than someone who brings negative utility but needs a job to afford the rent.
  #4  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:52 PM
PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,809
There is no safety net; instead there are hundreds of specialized programs. Some individuals do very well under this system by qualifying for several programs, why others fall through the holes. So if you are poor and receive subsidized housing you are much better off than those in the same economic circumstances who can't get it (the demand is vastly larger than the supply).

So lots of us prefer starting with a basic income program and eliminating lots of these specialized programs.
  #5  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:54 PM
SmartAleq's Avatar
SmartAleq is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: PDXLNT
Posts: 5,416
The safety net for vulnerable people in need should be at least as large and expensive as the one we furnish for defense contractors, extractive energy and other corporate giveaways. Once we've achieved parity then we can have another conversation about whether the safety net need expanding.

Oh, and in before "I don't want my taxes paying for..." because taxes don't pay for a goddamned thing in this country and we "pay for things" by paying for them, just the same way we do now with bombs and endless regime change wars and 600B/year to corporate subsidies. MMT is a thing and it's reality.
  #6  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:23 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,781
One possible "floor" for the social safety net -- everything that's provided to imprisoned convicted criminals. If we give criminals a bare minimum of food, shelter, and health care, then maybe we should give someone whose crime is laziness, or non-criminal foolishness, the same, at a minimum.
  #7  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:26 PM
Eonwe's Avatar
Eonwe is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Burlington VT
Posts: 8,644
Here's an off-the-cuff, probably not realistic idea (but I think clearly positions me):

We're living in a world of plenty. What if we could re-route or direct all future economic growth into systems that reduce the need for work and income in order to achieve the level of comfort we enjoy today. And, let's maybe make sure that those systems are enacted with the goal of providing all people with those benefits, not just those who are "earning" them.
  #8  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:29 PM
TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 41,124
Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
One possible "floor" for the social safety net -- everything that's provided to imprisoned convicted criminals. If we give criminals a bare minimum of food, shelter, and health care, then maybe we should give someone whose crime is laziness, or non-criminal foolishness, the same, at a minimum.
How about people in need because of circumstances beyond their control? How about we take care of them first and then try to figure out what an acceptable level of laziness and non-criminal foolishness is.
  #9  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:35 PM
Kearsen1 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Austin
Posts: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
One possible "floor" for the social safety net -- everything that's provided to imprisoned convicted criminals. If we give criminals a bare minimum of food, shelter, and health care, then maybe we should give someone whose crime is laziness, or non-criminal foolishness, the same, at a minimum.
I think everyone would get on board with that. What is that cost?
  #10  
Old 10-30-2019, 01:46 PM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,781
Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
How about people in need because of circumstances beyond their control? How about we take care of them first and then try to figure out what an acceptable level of laziness and non-criminal foolishness is.
Sounds good to me, and doesn't necessarily conlict with what I offered.
  #11  
Old 10-30-2019, 02:34 PM
RitterSport's Avatar
RitterSport is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,537
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
Generally, I draw the line at how much we can afford. Pensions offer no consolation if they are paid for out of overdrawn accounts.

~Max
This isn't very helpful. Are you saying, what we can afford at current spending and taxing levels without cutting any current spending? Why? Let's say we raise taxes to 90% and cut military spending by 90%. Now, what should the social safety net be?

To the OP: We don't need to reinvent the wheel here. The Danes are apparently consistently some of the happiest people on Earth, very productive, etc. Why don't we provide what they provide (whatever that is)? My answer, whatever the Danes have.
  #12  
Old 10-30-2019, 02:58 PM
SmartAleq's Avatar
SmartAleq is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: PDXLNT
Posts: 5,416
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kearsen1 View Post
I think everyone would get on board with that. What is that cost?
Less than the cost of NOT providing it. These things are going to be paid for, it's merely a question of who's paying it and how efficiently the resources are allocated. For instance, I live in Portland OR and we have a huge problem of homelessness here. Homeless people get their needs met and right now I and others who're not all that far above the homeless in terms of actual wealth are paying for their needs via stolen items, camps along the bike trails and in every available spot of public land and picking up their shit and garbage and used needles. Personally, I would prefer the government, which has WAY more resources than I and my neighbors do, would pick up the tab for these impoverished citizens because I fucking well can't afford it. This is not an efficient form of allocation at all and a lot of us are fucking sick of things functioning in this lame and halting manner. It sucks.
  #13  
Old 10-30-2019, 04:17 PM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,873
Well, the problem with ALL government expenditures at ALL levels of government, is that both parties seem loathe to actually fund the expenditures. You either have to limit what you promise/provide, or raise the $ somewhere.

And I perceive Americans as generally opposed to paying the true costs of what they consume. They want cheap fuel, and an expensive military to force the rest of the world to "subsidize" the American way of life. Then take health care. I've been meaning to research how - if at all - countries like Britain/Canada deal with excessive consumption.

I support some base level of free health care: prenatal, inoculations, even some level of more advanced care. But not open ended to all.

And I think our society (and others) are going to have to come to grips with what to do with the least employable portion of our population. I think a universal income of some low level - maybe $1000/month, with caps per family, recouped from income via tax, is the most economic way to provide for them.

I'd support subsidized pre-school, because there are many things which, if the kid hasn't been exposed to them by age 5, they are already challenged as to whether they will ever pick them up.
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #14  
Old 10-30-2019, 04:21 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,967
Anyone who is homeless and/or stealing items to survive is, by definition, not getting their needs met. It is hard to give a simple figure on how much it would cost to fix all that, since it would involve a reallocation of resources as well as a lot of political stuff.

ETA this "low level" basic income stuff cannot be too basic; for example, when they tried giving people in Finland $500 per month or so, people responded that it didn't really increase their financial security by all that much in case they happened to be unemployed.

Last edited by DPRK; 10-30-2019 at 04:25 PM.
  #15  
Old 10-30-2019, 04:24 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
... Now, any fair analysis of any particular Democratic plan would reveal that nothing is being offered for "free". Rather, they are proposing either raising revenue or using existing revenue to add certain things to (for purposes of discussion, I'm calling it) the 'social safety net'. ...
Just FYI, the "free" being mentioned there is free to the recipient, not the federal government's budget.

For example, Andrew Yang wants to give people $1000/month "for free". He's got a budgetary plan that's purportedly going to provide the government enough revenue to do that, but for the recipients, it's supposed be essentially a "free" grand every month: they're not working or doing anything to "earn" it. They're just getting the money "for free".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
... What lines do you draw? How big should our safety net be?
Smaller than it is today, and most importantly, not administered by the federal government.
  #16  
Old 10-30-2019, 04:30 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
... And I think our society (and others) are going to have to come to grips with what to do with the least employable portion of our population. I think a universal income of some low level - maybe $1000/month, with caps per family, recouped from income via tax, is the most economic way to provide for them.
...
What happens when those "least employable" people end up getting evicted / starving because rather than purchasing groceries and paying rent, or paying the water and gas bills with their money they want to Disneyland or bought a bunch of meth with their $1000? Are we then, as a society, going to say "Fuck it, we tried man, we really did, we gave you $1000 every month and you fucked it all up anyways, so fuck you, go freeze and / or starve out of sight somewhere"? Are we going to say that to those people's children? If not (and I assume the answer is 'no'), then perhaps we should find some other way to provide them groceries and rent and heating fuel costs than just cutting them $1000 checks ... which ends up looking an awful lot like what we're doing today.
  #17  
Old 10-30-2019, 04:47 PM
Max S. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 1,771
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
Are you saying, what we can afford at current spending and taxing levels without cutting any current spending? Why?
No, you misunderstand me. In my opinion the maximum cost of the "safety net" should be such that in the long run, the sum of all those welfare programs, along with all other government expenditures, are less than or equal to the total of all government revenue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
Let's say we raise taxes to 90% and cut military spending by 90%. Now, what should the social safety net be?
Assuming that our current spending levels result in a surplus (which is not the case), and all other things equal, the change in safety net expenditures should not generally exceed the new funds (delta tax revanue - delta military expense).

~Max

Last edited by Max S.; 10-30-2019 at 04:49 PM.
  #18  
Old 10-30-2019, 05:29 PM
Moriarty's Avatar
Moriarty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 2,919
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Just FYI, the "free" being mentioned there is free to the recipient, not the federal government's budget.
Then, it's factually inaccurate, isn't it? The recipient, by dint of being a member of society, contributes to the payment, albeit indirectly. It's only 'free' at the point of use, but that's not weird or uncommon - do you think you get 'free' cable because you don't pay a fee every time you turn on the TV?

Quote:
For example, Andrew Yang wants to give people $1000/month "for free". He's got a budgetary plan that's purportedly going to provide the government enough revenue to do that, but for the recipients, it's supposed be essentially a "free" grand every month: they're not working or doing anything to "earn" it. They're just getting the money "for free".
If Yang has a budgetary plan to pay for this, it's not free; rather, it's being paid by whomever supplies the funds in that budget. If the general citizenry is the source of that budget (in the form of taxes), then the citizens are paying for it.

And your position that the recipients wouldn't have earned it seems an odd point to make about something that would be added to the social safety net. What, exactly (besides being a member of society) did you do to 'earn' the right to go to public school, or be able to call 911 if you need emergency assistance?

Quote:
Smaller than it is today, and most importantly, not administered by the federal government.
Does this include protection from foreign invasion? Is that also something that should not be administered by the federal government, or is the military somehow exempt from the idea that a large federal program is not worthwhile?

Also, "smaller than it is today" - So, what are you getting rid of? 911? Emergency room care? Public schooling? What elements of modern American society that we all have access to should be removed from availability.
  #19  
Old 10-30-2019, 05:38 PM
bump is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 18,532
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
What happens when those "least employable" people end up getting evicted / starving because rather than purchasing groceries and paying rent, or paying the water and gas bills with their money they want to Disneyland or bought a bunch of meth with their $1000? Are we then, as a society, going to say "Fuck it, we tried man, we really did, we gave you $1000 every month and you fucked it all up anyways, so fuck you, go freeze and / or starve out of sight somewhere"? Are we going to say that to those people's children? If not (and I assume the answer is 'no'), then perhaps we should find some other way to provide them groceries and rent and heating fuel costs than just cutting them $1000 checks ... which ends up looking an awful lot like what we're doing today.
That's really my biggest issue with UBI; I'm not convinced that a big chunk of the population would actually act responsibly or prudently with the money, and would just have the same problems they already do, only better funded, and we'll STILL be on the hook to rescue them from their own mistakes.

Case in point- a certain poor guy I know wouldn't somehow be less of a drag on society if he had another $1000 a month; he'd just do stupid on a larger scale. He'd buy rims, more expensive beer, more gold chains, etc... but he wouldn't save it or anything reasonable like that.

Last edited by bump; 10-30-2019 at 05:39 PM.
  #20  
Old 10-30-2019, 06:07 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 85,446
I also think that UBI, somewhere in that vicinity (enough to survive entirely on, but with very little luxury), is a good idea. I'd further suggest that, rather than being implemented as a monthly payment, that it be structured more finely.

Everyone would have a "UBI account", that they can access with a UBI debit card. When you sign up for the program, you can tell the system how much your rent and other recurring bills are, and on what day they're due, and you'll get lump sums of those amounts on those days. The rest of the money will trickle into your account on a day-by-day basis.

When the rent comes due, you have enough money to pay the rent, because it was just deposited into your account on that day. You can spend your day's food budget on something else, if you choose, and then you'll be hungry that day... but you're not going to starve in a day, and on the next day, you'll have enough money to buy food again. It'd still be possible to mismanage your finances, but it'd never happen by accident, and anyone willing to go to that much effort to screw themselves over, I think society has fulfilled our obligation.

All that said, I don't necessarily think it's wise to implement a twelve-grand-a-year UBI all at once, nationwide. I think it'd be a good thing, but I'm not omniscient, and that's an awfully big social experiment.
  #21  
Old 10-30-2019, 06:43 PM
SmartAleq's Avatar
SmartAleq is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: PDXLNT
Posts: 5,416
And along with all this UBI gatekeeping will we also implement measures to stop rich people from buying stupid shit like millions for a painting (barely disguised money laundering, THAT is) or solid gold toilet seats for the yachts they're parking in their yachts? Or does this paternalistic attitude only apply to poor people? Kardashians can waste millions on plastic surgery to make their butts enormous but dude down the street on UBI can't buy a six pack? Fuck that.
  #22  
Old 10-30-2019, 07:29 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,647
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
And I perceive Americans as generally opposed to paying the true costs of what they consume. They want cheap fuel, and an expensive military to force the rest of the world to "subsidize" the American way of life. Then take health care. I've been meaning to research how - if at all - countries like Britain/Canada deal with excessive consumption.
You don't have to go there - you can look at Medicare here. With the advantage that we Medicare recipients don't even have to take time off from work to go to the doctor.

What I found when I searched for over consumption of Medicare is this. Which is not about patients demanding too much care, but low value treatments and tests. I know the issues with doing away with this stuff, but in principle I think most who support single payer "free" plans are fine with working on this. ACA had some support for evidence based medicine.
Now many people do have some co-pays (I don't) but I doubt that keeps many people away. Sitting in a doctor's office isn't that much fun. Mostly doctors don't have to and shouldn't prescribe expensive and unnecessary treatment, and removing the incentive for them to do so (which exists in our non-Medicare plans) would help reduce the over-consumption you are worried about.
  #23  
Old 10-30-2019, 07:33 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 46,647
When computing the cost of a social safety net, you have to look at all the factors, and not just the immediate costs. We don't have free college, unlike much of Europe, and even public colleges are getting more expensive. That saves government money in the short run, but what about the issue of people not starting new businesses, getting married, or buying houses because they are weighed down with college debt? Look at the cost of homelessness in lots of places. Look at the cost of lost productivity because our roads suck.
We need to look at the big picture.
  #24  
Old 10-30-2019, 07:48 PM
Oredigger77 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Back at 5,280
Posts: 5,060
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
And along with all this UBI gatekeeping will we also implement measures to stop rich people from buying stupid shit like millions for a painting (barely disguised money laundering, THAT is) or solid gold toilet seats for the yachts they're parking in their yachts? Or does this paternalistic attitude only apply to poor people? Kardashians can waste millions on plastic surgery to make their butts enormous but dude down the street on UBI can't buy a six pack? Fuck that.
So are you proposing that the safety nets needs to be such that whatever the richest person can have society needs to provide to the poorest or that we need to allow UBI recipients to do whatever they want with their income since we don't regulate conspicuous consumption. I agree with the later to the point that I would be ok letting someone who spent their rent money on drugs die in the street.
  #25  
Old 10-30-2019, 07:56 PM
Wesley Clark is offline
2018 Midterm Prediction Winner
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 22,476
In America, about 25% of GDP is paid in taxes.

https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/9...1129_Tax-1.jpg

Granted, some of that is deficit spending. If we had 0 deficit spending (before hte Trump tax cuts) I'm guessing it'd be closer to 29% to balance the budget.

Nations are able to handle 35-45% of GDP as taxes. Denmark, Germany, France, etc.

So I'd be in favor of taxes being closer to 35% of GDP. Assuming you balance the budget, that is an additional 1.2 trillion or so to work with.

Forms of advances in the social safety net I'd support.

Jobs program for people who want (but can't find) a job to work on infrastructure programs.
Universal health care.
Free public college.
Increases in social security payments for people whose AIME is less than $5000 a month.
UBI when automation causes mass unemployment.

On top of that, I don't know if these count as social safety nets but

More spending on renewable energy (will create jobs)
more spending on R&D (also create jobs)
More spending on public transit
__________________
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion
  #26  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:13 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
Then, it's factually inaccurate, isn't it? The recipient, by dint of being a member of society, contributes to the payment, albeit indirectly. It's only 'free' at the point of use, but that's not weird or uncommon - do you think you get 'free' cable because you don't pay a fee every time you turn on the TV? ...
There are, in fact, a significant number of people that do NOT "contribute to the payment".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
... If Yang has a budgetary plan to pay for this, it's not free; rather, it's being paid by whomever supplies the funds in that budget. If the general citizenry is the source of that budget (in the form of taxes), then the citizens are paying for it. ...
SOME of the citizens are paying for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
... And your position that the recipients wouldn't have earned it seems an odd point to make about something that would be added to the social safety net. What, exactly (besides being a member of society) did you do to 'earn' the right to go to public school, or be able to call 911 if you need emergency assistance? ...
I wouldn't use the word "earned" to describe either of those things either (or "right" for that matter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
... Does this include protection from foreign invasion? Is that also something that should not be administered by the federal government, or is the military somehow exempt from the idea that a large federal program is not worthwhile? ...
I'm fine with the federal government administering our protection from foreign invasion. There's clear authorization for that in the Constitution:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Article 1, Section 8
The Congress shall have Power ... To raise and support Armies... [&] To provide and maintain a Navy...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
Also, "smaller than it is today" - So, what are you getting rid of? 911? Emergency room care? Public schooling? What elements of modern American society that we all have access to should be removed from availability.
Most of the things you list here aren't generally administered by the federal government today. As for where I'd cut if it were solely up to me, I haven't put together a detailed plan because there's absolutely no chance of it happening. How 'bout this if you're itching for a proposal though: cut the budget of every non-defense discretionary program in half, and freeze it at that level until we have a budget surplus.
  #27  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:27 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
And along with all this UBI gatekeeping will we also implement measures to stop rich people from buying stupid shit like millions for a painting (barely disguised money laundering, THAT is) or solid gold toilet seats for the yachts they're parking in their yachts? Or does this paternalistic attitude only apply to poor people? Kardashians can waste millions on plastic surgery to make their butts enormous but dude down the street on UBI can't buy a six pack? Fuck that.
As long as the Kardashians don't come back to mommy fed.gov, hat in hand, asking for more money for groceries or rent, IDGAF how big their butts are or how many gold toilet seats they own. Same goes for the "dude down the street".
  #28  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:28 PM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,873
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
What happens when those "least employable" people end up getting evicted / starving because rather than purchasing groceries and paying rent, or paying the water and gas bills with their money they want to Disneyland or bought a bunch of meth with their $1000? ....
Good point. So what do we do with them? Kill them? Let them starve?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
You don't have to go there - you can look at Medicare here. With the advantage that we Medicare recipients don't even have to take time off from work to go to the doctor.
OK. So how do we get doctors to stop ordering the tests that the gov't pays for. And keep patients from demanding them?
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
  #29  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:44 PM
WreckingCrew is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Warwick, RI
Posts: 686
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
There are, in fact, a significant number of people that do NOT "contribute to the payment".



SOME of the citizens are paying for it.


I wouldn't use the word "earned" to describe either of those things either (or "right" for that matter).



I'm fine with the federal government administering our protection from foreign invasion. There's clear authorization for that in the Constitution:




Most of the things you list here aren't generally administered by the federal government today. As for where I'd cut if it were solely up to me, I haven't put together a detailed plan because there's absolutely no chance of it happening. How 'bout this if you're itching for a proposal though: cut the budget of every non-defense discretionary program in half, and freeze it at that level until we have a budget surplus.
If you are really serious, why not cut defense spending. You might as well, because according to your own cite:

"Health care and health research constitute 22 percent ($148 billion) of NDD spending in 2019. These programs support health research and the provision of health care services but do not include Medicare and Medicaid, which are mandatory programs.

Roughly half of NDD health spending provides hospital and medical care for veterans."

That means about 11% of what you want to cut in half goes to veterans medical care. If you are not going to pay for that, you might as well cut the defense budget so there are fewer of those money sucking wounded vets draining the budget.
  #30  
Old 10-30-2019, 09:54 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
Good point. So what do we do with them? Kill them? Let them starve? ...
Rather than giving them $1,000 in cold, hard cash, we provide them things like food stamps, and heating fuel assistance, and give them Section 8 housing, etc. In other words, it looks a lot more like the safety net we have today (less cash, more goods and services) than Yang's envisioned UBI.
  #31  
Old 10-30-2019, 10:05 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Typical, conflating "not paying federal income tax" with "paying no tax at all."
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #32  
Old 10-30-2019, 10:10 PM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
Typical, conflating "not paying federal income tax" with "paying no tax at all."
Not at all. I understand the distinction, but Yang's UBI isn't going to be paid for with state or local taxes.
  #33  
Old 10-30-2019, 10:28 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Not at all. I understand the distinction, but Yang's UBI isn't going to be paid for with state or local taxes.
If these citizens pay their state's taxes, the state won't require as many transfer payments from the feds (and may even be able to transfer TO the feds) so what difference does it make?
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #34  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:00 PM
DrFidelius's Avatar
DrFidelius is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 12,548
Sorry if I am late, but the social safety net should allow all citizens to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
__________________
The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not represent any other persons, organizations, spirits, thinking machines, hive minds or other sentient beings on this world or any adjacent dimensions in the multiverse.

Last edited by DrFidelius; 10-30-2019 at 11:00 PM.
  #35  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:11 PM
HMS Irruncible is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 8,610
It should be large enough that nobody should have to starve or go homeless or go uneducated or go without at least basic medical care.

I am all for the illuminating forces of competitive capitalism. But this should be for reserved things like discovering who can invest the better mousetrap or the bigger bullshit social media site. We learn from those competitions, we get innovations, consumers benefit.

Society doesn't learn anything from figuring out who does the greatest job of feeding or housing their families. Nobody learns any new approach to that, nobody really gets actionable information from knowing that filthy rich people get more food.

If you really want a vibrant market of ideas, stop making people waste their brainpower figuring out where their next meal or next insulin dose is coming from. Solve those problems and let them work on more valuable things.
  #36  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:18 PM
Moriarty's Avatar
Moriarty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Denver, CO, USA
Posts: 2,919
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Not at all. I understand the distinction, but Yang's UBI isn't going to be paid for with state or local taxes.
Itís ironic that youíre ignoring FICA payroll taxes, since they fund social security and Medicare, two features of todayís social safety net.
...
Respectfully, I think discussions of costs are deviating from the more salient point - what do we provide people in this country? Only after we answer that question can we discuss how much it will cost and how to pay for it. I personally think the proposals to increase access to education and healthcare are natural and wise expansions of our current system.

I question whether a UBI would effectively serve as a social safety net. Are itís supporters really suggesting that it would supplant all other social services, or is it just a proposed addition to things like unemployment insurance, food stamps, section 8 housing, free school lunch, et al?
  #37  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:36 PM
Oredigger77 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Back at 5,280
Posts: 5,060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
I question whether a UBI would effectively serve as a social safety net. Are itís supporters really suggesting that it would supplant all other social services, or is it just a proposed addition to things like unemployment insurance, food stamps, section 8 housing, free school lunch, et al?
I can't speak for Yang but in my ideal implementation, yes. We minimize the government's intervention in people's life, no telling them to buy brocolli instead of beer or live in a particular section of town, or don't donate it to your church rather we let people decide what makes their lives better while giving them enough money to meet their basic needs. The nice thing about the monthly check is you always have the opportunity to do something different next month. Though I am intrigued by the daily payments though the administration costs may out weight the benefits.
  #38  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:37 PM
PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,809
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
OK. So how do we get doctors to stop ordering the tests that the gov't pays for. And keep patients from demanding them?
Each person picks a primary care physician and the government pays that primary care physician a fixed annual sum; the government pays a hospital a fixed sum for each heart attack... There are several alternatives to the current fee for service method.
  #39  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:47 PM
PastTense is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 7,809
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
What happens when those "least employable" people end up getting evicted / starving because rather than purchasing groceries and paying rent, or paying the water and gas bills with their money they want to Disneyland or bought a bunch of meth with their $1000?
Don't you understand that with food stamps these type people don't spend those food stamps on food; they sell them at a discount for cash so they can go and buy booze or drugs or whatever?
  #40  
Old 10-31-2019, 12:26 AM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense View Post
Don't you understand that with food stamps these type people don't spend those food stamps on food; they sell them at a discount for cash so they can go and buy booze or drugs or whatever?
Yes, I understand that happens. Our current social safety net is too large.
  #41  
Old 10-31-2019, 12:39 AM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
Itís ironic that youíre ignoring FICA payroll taxes, since they fund social security and Medicare, two features of todayís social safety net. ...
It's precisely because SS & Medicare are funded by a separate payroll tax that most people seem to have more of a sense of having "earned" their SS. They DID pay into it (well, many of us did anyways) and it's not really a "free" giveaway to them. WIC, SNAP, etc, and the other more traditional "welfare" components of the social safety net? The people taking advantage of them often haven't paid for them.
  #42  
Old 10-31-2019, 02:09 AM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,350
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
The people taking advantage of them often haven't paid for them.
If true, so?
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #43  
Old 10-31-2019, 02:24 AM
HurricaneDitka is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
If true, so?
It was a response / counter-point to this claim:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
Then, it's factually inaccurate, isn't it? The recipient, by dint of being a member of society, contributes to the payment, albeit indirectly. It's only 'free' at the point of use, but that's not weird or uncommon - do you think you get 'free' cable because you don't pay a fee every time you turn on the TV? ...
If true, then the recipient doesn't actually "contribute to the payment".
  #44  
Old 10-31-2019, 02:45 AM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 59,350
I'm afraid I have to reiterate "If true, so?" since the relevance is unclear.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #45  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:20 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,872
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
Less than the cost of NOT providing it. These things are going to be paid for, it's merely a question of who's paying it and how efficiently the resources are allocated. For instance, I live in Portland OR and we have a huge problem of homelessness here. Homeless people get their needs met and right now I and others who're not all that far above the homeless in terms of actual wealth are paying for their needs via stolen items, camps along the bike trails and in every available spot of public land and picking up their shit and garbage and used needles. Personally, I would prefer the government, which has WAY more resources than I and my neighbors do, would pick up the tab for these impoverished citizens because I fucking well can't afford it. This is not an efficient form of allocation at all and a lot of us are fucking sick of things functioning in this lame and halting manner. It sucks.
Well that's the thing, yes we should provide housing BUT, does it have to be in an expensive area like Portland?

Yes, we should provide basic medical care, BUT, does that cover every medical test, drug, procedure and hospital stay a doctor or a person wants? (sidenote - my cousin in Denmark had to pay to take his wife to a private hospital for surgery when the government wait list was too long.)

Yes, we can provide free college, BUT, does that mean a person can stay in college for 10 years while only keeping a C average? Do we have to pay for every field of study? Do we have to pay for the most expensive colleges around including private? Do we hold colleges responsible for holding the line on spending?
  #46  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:25 AM
Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7,872
Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
One possible "floor" for the social safety net -- everything that's provided to imprisoned convicted criminals. If we give criminals a bare minimum of food, shelter, and health care, then maybe we should give someone whose crime is laziness, or non-criminal foolishness, the same, at a minimum.
Well consider in a prison they dont give you food money, not even food stamps. Your given a prison ration and you have darn little say on what they give you. On housing your given a cell which you might have to share with someone. You dont get to keep a pet or have your family with you. In most prisons you have a job you must do.

So I dont think its similar.
  #47  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:38 AM
septimus's Avatar
septimus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: The Land of Smiles
Posts: 19,964
I've not examined the details of Andrew Yang's plan, but there are reasons why a one-size-fits-all UBI replacing other welfare programs is a bad idea.

For starters, people collect disability payments because they paid insurance premiums, sustained a possibly work-related accident, and can no longer get a salary. Should a worker still able to work draw the same total assistance as the victim of disability?

Denying the UBI to children seems backwards. Childless adults can usually muddle through. It's those who do have children who need special help.

And — though I've been booed down for this opinion in the past — some of UBI benefits should be delivered in kind rather than in cash: access to cheap food and housing, education, healthcare, childcare. This approach would reduce the total cost to taxpayers of UBI while increasing the benefit to the needy.

With the above components in place, and perhaps some UBI in the form of cash as well, I think we can just continue to find ways to subsidize higher education without making it absolutely free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moriarty View Post
... Take fire abatement.... Today, nobody thinks it odd, strange, or remotely controversial that anybody in town is entitled to help from the fire department if something is ablaze, or that the fee for this sort of thing is paid for indirectly by the community.

... the aforementioned fire abatement are currently entrenched parts of American life, and it would be a shock (and probably quite controversial) should somebody start trying to remove them, or make them fee-based ("911, what credit card will you be using today?")....
Apparently you missed the news story (from somewhere near Appalachia?) of the fire department who stood by and watched as someone's home burned to the ground. The fire department had shown up only in case the fire spread to any of the neighboring homes which were owned by subscribers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
Oh, and in before "I don't want my taxes paying for..." because taxes don't pay for a goddamned thing in this country ... MMT is a thing and it's reality.
I don't know if SDMB is ready for a thread on Modern Monetary Theory. And AFAIK the only prominent political thinker who has come out in explicit favor of MMT is ... Rush Limbaugh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
No, you misunderstand me. In my opinion the maximum cost of the "safety net" should be such that in the long run, the sum of all those welfare programs, along with all other government expenditures, are less than or equal to the total of all government revenue.
It sounds like you're not quite ready to support MMT. Even so, I'm slightly confused. Is government revenue a fixed constant, like the melting point of copper? Or might tax revenue be allowed to increase when spending increases?

Last edited by septimus; 10-31-2019 at 07:42 AM.
  #48  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:56 AM
Kimera757 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 619
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kearsen1 View Post
I think everyone would get on board with that. What is that cost?
No. Many people would not get on board with that.

The poor are always getting split into the deserving and undeserving poor. Many people will not be okay with giving such benefits to the "undeserving" poor.

The safety net also fails for people who have severe mental illnesses or are drug addicts, unless the government manages their money. (This is one reason I'm semi-opposed to "harm reduction".)

What do you do in a case like this: https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-50211901

They've been offered housing, even their original housing. They haven't been diagnosed with anything, either. But they refuse to live in a home.
  #49  
Old 10-31-2019, 07:58 AM
iiandyiiii's Avatar
iiandyiiii is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 35,781
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
Well consider in a prison they dont give you food money, not even food stamps. Your given a prison ration and you have darn little say on what they give you. On housing your given a cell which you might have to share with someone. You dont get to keep a pet or have your family with you. In most prisons you have a job you must do.

So I dont think its similar.
This doesn't actually conflict with what I said. The "bare minumum" food, shelter, and medical care could be prison-quality rations, a tiny concrete room with a small bed and a toilet, and prison-quality health care.
  #50  
Old 10-31-2019, 09:00 AM
Dinsdale is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 18,873
Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Rather than giving them $1,000 in cold, hard cash, we provide them things like food stamps, and heating fuel assistance, and give them Section 8 housing, etc. In other words, it looks a lot more like the safety net we have today (less cash, more goods and services) than Yang's envisioned UBI.
OK. I generally favor all of those. (Of course, a good percentage of folk/reps don't.) One undeniable benefit of universal income is that it eliminates the administrative costs of the programs you cite. And I speak as a career employee of Social Security administering the disability programs. Instead of deciding who is poor, disabled, or not, pay everyone, and recoup it from the employed/wealthy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PastTense
Each person picks a primary care physician and the government pays that primary care physician a fixed annual sum; the government pays a hospital a fixed sum for each heart attack... There are several alternatives to the current fee for service method.
Sounds good to me.
__________________
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:15 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017