January 2, 2011

Talking Points on Welfare #4

Talking Points on Welfare Part 4

Taxation is theft, why should I have my pay stolen to pay for a free ride for other people?

This one is going to take a while to unpack. It requires some knowlege of recent economic history, which is going to mean explaining. I hope I don't bore you.

In 1960, the average household worked half as many hours. Adjusted for inflation, the Cost of Living was a third of what it is today. Yet, the average household income for a person in the lower 85% of income brackets, in terms of real dollars, has remained stagnant for the past 40 years.

That’s right, 85% of the population has seen their cost of living triple, has had to double their hours they spend working, and as a reward for working twice as much have LESS expendable income than we did 40 years ago.
To recap really quickly- [drawings] the dollar cost of living has tripled, but the actual stuff we’re getting for that cost isn’t three times better. We’re still buying pretty much the same houses and the same wonderbread and the same Jif peanut butter as we did 40 years ago.
So we’re paying three times as much today for the same things we had in the 1960s.
The Average American household had one income earner working 40 hrs a week in 1960, and that was enough to maintain a comfortable standard of living.
For twice as much labor today, 85% of Americans still have an income gap of a third. That money has to come from somewhere. Some households have two adults working 80 hours a week, and still struggle to make ends meet.
For 85% of Americans, we’ve been slowly eased into a starvation diet over the past 40 years.
That income gap, for many people, who thought that going on welfare was irresponsible, had to borrow their wages. Where did they borrow their wages from? From the wealth they already had. We’ve borrowed against our houses, and we’ve used credit cards to fill our income gap. We were told that this was the responsible thing to do. The fiscal reality of it, is that we’ve been cannibalizing ourselves.
If you look at this through another lense, by indexing things to the value of labor-- the value of the labor you produce has been devalued by two thirds. You have essentially been getting paid a third of what your labor is actually worth. That income gap of a third should rightfully be paid by our employers. And where has all that money gone?
Check Wall Street. While the value of our labor has been cut to a third of what it was, the value of labor of the average CEO has skyrocketed, from just 30 times the lowest paid employee at their company to 300 times the lowest paid employee.
So while the 85% of Americans who work our asses off just to get by, we’ve seen the value of our labor be devalued, fraudulently, by 300%. We’ve seen the value of labor of CEOs increase, fraudulently, by 1000%. What are they doing differently that they need to be compensated at 1000% more than they were back in the 1960s? Well, there’s a short answer and a long answer:
The short answer: Nothing.
The Long answer: Absolutely NOTHING whatsoever, at all.
Now, who has been deciding what everybody’s labor is worth? The invisible hand of the market? Bullshit. It’s been those CEOs. Of course they are going to give themselves raises and reduce the value of our labor by 2/3rds. They’re greedy, shortsighted people. You would probably do the same. Right? No, actually you probably wouldn’t, because that would be THEFT, and THEFT is wrong.

So let’s get back to our initial conservative talking point: Why should you allow somebody else to get a free ride from your labor? You shouldn’t. Which is why we need a maximum wage.
Is taxation really theft? Well, if you’re taxing that top 15% of people who have increased the value of their own labor and decreased the value of everybody else’s labor, we’re not stealing from them by taxing them to pay for welfare. The lower 85% earned that income, but were not paid that income.
The *real* problem is that those richest 15% aren’t PAYING what the 85% is earning by their labor leaving an income gap. How the hell are people supposed to fill that gap through working more if their labor just keeps getting further and further devalued?
With welfare. Welfare is just the lower 85% of people getting what their labor earned them.
If we don’t reverse this trend of the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, eventually there will be no way for the lower 85% of Americans to feed themselves by our own labor.
At which point, we will be forced to kill the top 15% and eat THEM.

One source: http://20somethingfinance.com/american-hours-worked-productivity-vacation/

Another one I didn't specifically use, but has a lot of the same info as a presentation given at the Commenwealth Club of California two years ago, by an economist whose name I can't remember:


  1. I think in order to give a "history of economics" as you put it, you should know something about economics. Everything you have said is half true. I hope you take the time to read this from an economist (the first part will be especially enlightening to you): http://myslu.stlawu.edu/~shorwitz/Good/myths.htm

    After reading that you will realize you are half correct about most of this, and entirely wrong about the theft part. When you have the freedom to spend your money as you want that is not theft... Theft IS taxation: you are put in jail if you do not pay, period. (but you do not even go into that.)

    Also is there any proof, beside your half-analysis of these statistics, that we are being eased into starvation? We are better off right now than we would have been at anytime in human history. You are richer than the richest man was 150 years ago.

  2. @ anon

    US worker productivity up, labor devalued and at the same rate as in 1960, but cost of living has tripled. We can try to change this civilly together or we can start a revolution, but something has to change one way or another.

    (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)-


    (#'s derived from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)-

    (sources linked at bottom)

  3. Clearly you didn't read what I posted and just simply re-posted the sources used by Mr. Punk. Those numbers you posted are not false! And if you read what I posted it confirms that. But you are, both, only looking at one side of the story. I will pose the same question that is in the page I posted: Does it matter if wages have gone down if the cost of everything has also gone down? The hours it takes one person to make enough to afford most things is WAY down and that represents the true cost of living.

    "The ultimate measure of the cost of consumption goods is the labor time needed to purchase them. A pair of pants might cost $20, but if the average industrial wage is $2/hr then those are more "expensive" than if the average industrial wage is $10/hr. Five times more expensive, we might add. When looked at this way, the real cost of living has dropped significantly and consistently over the course of the century and the last few decades."

    Again: the source: http://myslu.stlawu.edu/~shorwitz/Good/myths.htm

  4. I'm only half with ya on this one. That top 15%.... They don't actually pay taxes, that's a fraud maid up because they own the media they hide their money in corporate wrappers and over seas shell games. But they sure got a nice bail out with our tax money and I call that theft!

    So as far as I'm concerned taxation is theft. The only ones who got socialism right are very regressive societies and I gotta respect them for it. The Amish, The Indians, The Pacific Islanders, and other native style communities. All great and working forms of socialism without monetary systems until we forced our society onto them.

  5. @anon
    Ok, let's do it your way, only using stats from a recognized source,U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics :

    Gallon of Milk
    1964 .80 302.52 7.56 .1058 = 6.348 mins

    2011 4.00 898.00 22.45 .1782 = 10.692 mins

    Your claims go against established data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, so sorry if we consider them the bunk they are.

  6. Your use of milk as an example further illustrates your ignorance. I agree milk is TOO EXPENSIVE. Milk's prices, by law, are kept high to protect politically connected farms. Those are price controls, not the free market. Food in general is controlled by the government through subsidies and price controls. So blame the government, not CEOs or whatever mythical thief you dream of. Anywhere where the free market can reign, prices are low and continue to go down.

    Your response still tells me you did not read the link I posted. He uses the same data you do. Once again, he uses the same data you do.

    Not only that, you posted this: http://macroblog.typepad.com/macroblog/2005/12/are_workers_los.html which negates the claim that we are being paid less. Real compensation is up,up,up...
    "I'd argue the problem is that hourly wages or earnings are an inadequate measure of labor compensation, primarily because they exclude nonwage forms of compensation -- health care benefits, employers' share of social security contributions, and the like." So you didn't read all of this post either...

    I am sorry a degree in graphic design didn't come with training in economics or public policy.


    It is hard to take this post seriously in its entirety because he doesn't in anyway address the original "Taxation is theft" claim.
    But your claim that the top 15% don't pay taxes is wrong. They pay more than 95% of the taxes in America. They may pay less as a percentage of their income, but your original claim is false as you state it and takes away from your argument...

  7. Uhm, anon. For some reason your post isn't showing up, but I got a notification in my inbox anyways.

    Anyways-- price controls keep the price of milk DOWN.
    Without market regulation, dairies would form cabals and drive the price of milk through the roof. Which is exactly what they already do. Which is why we put price controls on the price of things like milk, cheese, wheat, etc.

    And since farmers who take part in these cabals can't make any money that way, we subsidize their cost of living.

    Capitalism doesn't work like you think it does. It's not magic. If you just leave everything alone, things don't just "work themselves out." There are winners and losers. Like Lions eating gazelle on the savanna. The gazelle is the loser, the lion is the winner.

    America is a civilized society. That's why we have a government, and welfare, and regulation.

  8. What history, statistics or rational do you have for the claim that price controls keep milk prices down? That ignores the (irrational and stupid) reasons that those laws were passed in the first place. Farmers didn't want milk prices to drop! If they did, they would lose money! That is why the controls were put in place! (This all ignores that the prices controls are a MINIMUM PRICE. not a maximum price! Milk could be as high as they wanted!)


    The laws the protected dairy farmers in the 30's were passed and rationalized in the same manner the minimum wage law was: To protect non-innovators from innovators. (And I dare you to defend the inventors of the minimum wage ;) you should read up on it before you do so...)

    In every sector of the economy prices go down, except ones that are touched by government legislation.

    I agree that farmers whose products are subsidized could not make money without the subsidies. That just means there are too many farmers producing food inefficiently. Fewer farmers could produce more food, but the politically connected do not want to lose their big government checks to produce food as efficiently as 1940's farmers.

    And your statement about capitalism claiming there are winners and losers is a complete misrepresentation of what capitalism is. When trade is truly free, it is not a zero-sum game. The zero-sum game you are referring to is political power and government. That is where the true game of winners and losers are.

  9. Lol @ Cato. Could you try to use a source that isn't so blatantly biased?

  10. TiradeFaction: Yeah, Cato is a lobbying and PR group for wealthy and corporate interests. The Randroid's argument is basically the one that Mall-Wart makes, as it destroys the country.