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Thread: What do the 47% do, really?

  1. #1

    Default What do the 47% do, really?

    We discussed at length about decency, worldview, political savvy, etc, in the wake of Romney's famously foolish remark. But I can't recall whether or not we came to a consensus about what the 47% really do for the US, on the whole. They don't pay federal income tax--so what do they accomplish with their daily activities over the course of a lifetime?

    I am particularly interested in long-term economical, social and developmental effects.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  2. #2
    I'll lend you my essence for your rusted throne, and you could bring back the light to the last home of civilisation without which I'm gone
    So take this godsoul to bring forth a new dawn, I'll forgive the death you've earned, the cities you've burned, the lessons we've learned
    For all that remains, just sacrifice me. I'll hide away in a castle on the sea.

  3. #3
    Ah, the folly of totalitarian socialism; to assume that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Ah, the folly of totalitarian socialism; to assume that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society.
    What the fuck? I'm sorry for not making this clear from the start but I'd like to have a discussion free from your confused mind-ghosts and your axe-grinding.

    My questions stem from an assumption that the 47%, despite not paying federal income tax, are crucial to American society's--and Americans'--overall economic and social well-being, present and future. The underlying assumption is essentially the opposite of assuming "that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society," or at least tangential to it. It was a thought that arose as a reaction to the position apparently held by some people on this forum that they are net drains on the US in most ways that matter for policy.

    Even if my assumption is incorrect it would not lessen their human worth, although it may affect how they're handled in economic models. For a champion of an industry focused to a great extent on calculating the monetary "worth" of a person you sure seem sensitive
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  5. #5
    Exactly, there is life beyond politics and policy. And criticizing the tax structure (and that some people have a net zero/negative tax contribution) isn't meant to devalue what those people contribute to society. So we've all been taking this 47% nonsense a bit too personally.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Exactly, there is life beyond politics and policy. And criticizing the tax structure (and that some people have a net zero/negative tax contribution) isn't meant to devalue what those people contribute to society. So we've all been taking this 47% nonsense a bit too personally.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    We discussed at length about decency, worldview, political savvy, etc, in the wake of Romney's famously foolish remark. But I can't recall whether or not we came to a consensus about what the 47% really do for the US, on the whole. They don't pay federal income tax--so what do they accomplish with their daily activities over the course of a lifetime?

    I am particularly interested in long-term economical, social and developmental effects.
    Just, you know, try again Dreadnaught. Please, for daddy
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  7. #7
    I think you need to try again. I'm saying there is more to it than tax rates, but you're using criticism of tax rates as the basis for an entire line of inquiry.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    I think you need to try again. I'm saying there is more to it than tax rates, but you're using criticism of tax rates as the basis for an entire line of inquiry.
    I'm saying that there's more to it than tax rates, and, additionally, asking what/how much more:

    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    My questions stem from an assumption that the 47%, despite not paying federal income tax, are crucial to American society's--and Americans'--overall economic and social well-being, present and future. The underlying assumption is essentially the opposite of assuming "that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society," or at least tangential to it. It was a thought that arose as a reaction to the position apparently held by some people on this forum that they are net drains on the US in most ways that matter for policy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    We discussed at length about decency, worldview, political savvy, etc, in the wake of Romney's famously foolish remark. But I can't recall whether or not we came to a consensus about what the 47% really do for the US, on the whole. They don't pay federal income tax--so what do they accomplish with their daily activities over the course of a lifetime?

    I am particularly interested in long-term economical, social and developmental effects.
    Which you use as the basis for poop:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Ah, the folly of totalitarian socialism; to assume that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society.




    Please, help me understand what's not working for you. Is it that you do not wish to discuss--discuss, not debate--specific ways in which people who pay no federal income tax may or may not be net contributors to the social and economic well-being of the USA? I'm trying to understand how a fairly innocent question that can in theory be approached in a detached/academic/professional manner can nevertheless incite such poopery.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  9. #9
    You're actually just erecting a convenient strawman for yourself.

    No one who has ever pointed out that underlying tax burden issue has ever said there was zero social, moral or economic value to those who have a zero net tax rate. The discussion has always been focused on tax burdens and expectations of government.

    By acting as if someone like Romney thinks "the 47%" are somehow worthless humans, you actually dehumanize them in ways Romney and his supporters never did. Which doesn't matter much because R-Money lost the election and retired to his moneypiles, but there we go.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    By acting as if someone like Romney thinks "the 47%" are somehow worthless humans, you actually dehumanize them in ways Romney and his supporters never did.
    Would you care to open up this analysis a bit for us untermenschen?
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

  11. #11
    My point is over-analyzing it classifies certain people as untermenschen, when no one* was doing that in the first place.

    *IE Romney and his supporters

  12. #12
    You did read the thread where Lewk said that, by definition, these people are "moochers"?

    Why do you think Mittens said what he did in the first place?
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    You're actually just erecting a convenient strawman for yourself.

    No one who has ever pointed out that underlying tax burden issue has ever said there was zero social, moral or economic value to those who have a zero net tax rate. The discussion has always been focused on tax burdens and expectations of government.

    By acting as if someone like Romney thinks "the 47%" are somehow worthless humans, you actually dehumanize them in ways Romney and his supporters never did. Which doesn't matter much because R-Money lost the election and retired to his moneypiles, but there we go.
    Dear Spinbad, I invite you to actually read what I've written in this thread instead of just listening to what the voices told you I'm plotting






    Does anyone have, like, any numbers? Analysis? I ask because I quite literally do not know the numbers or have the big picture.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    My point is over-analyzing it classifies certain people as untermenschen, when no one* was doing that in the first place.

    *IE Romney and his supporters
    If it makes you feel better then just, you know, pretend that Romney's off-the-cuff insults have absolutely nothing to do with an innocent question about the economic and social impact of the large and heterogenous group of people who pay no federal income tax. You are especially welcome to explore questions such as what the impact of increasing or decreasing the size of that group may be.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  15. #15
    Make sure you clean up after yourselves when the circle jerk is over.

    Romney lost. Time to move on.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    My point is over-analyzing it classifies certain people as untermenschen, when no one* was doing that in the first place.

    *IE Romney and his supporters
    exact quote from Romney: "I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

    now that we have that out of the way, can you stop beating this dead horse with yet more lies, and actually pay attention to the OP?
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Make sure you clean up after yourselves when the circle jerk is over.

    Romney lost. Time to move on.
    Why did, in your opinion, Mittens make the fourty-seven percent comment?
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    Does anyone have, like, any numbers? Analysis? I ask because I quite literally do not know the numbers or have the big picture.
    Numbers for what? Of the 47% of Americans who pay no Federal income tax, 28.3% pay pay roll tax, 10% are elderly and the rest are either unemployed or the working poor.
    I'll lend you my essence for your rusted throne, and you could bring back the light to the last home of civilisation without which I'm gone
    So take this godsoul to bring forth a new dawn, I'll forgive the death you've earned, the cities you've burned, the lessons we've learned
    For all that remains, just sacrifice me. I'll hide away in a castle on the sea.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Make sure you clean up after yourselves when the circle jerk is over.

    Romney lost. Time to move on.
    I think you're taking this way too personally. If it helps, you can censor the word "Romney" because I don't care about Romney.

    I was legitimately curious about this but for some reason you had to flip out and take a dump on that. I don't know why but please refrain from doing so in the future. If you have a real and specific complaint pertinent to the thread, the topic, my posts then please make it clear to me and kindly try to accept that it wasn't my intention to bait you or to gloat over Romney's defeat or anything of the sort. Better yet, feel free to share impersonal and preferably apolitical thoughts on the matter.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  20. #20
    It was pretty funny when he lost and all those Republicans had a shitfit, though.
    I'll lend you my essence for your rusted throne, and you could bring back the light to the last home of civilisation without which I'm gone
    So take this godsoul to bring forth a new dawn, I'll forgive the death you've earned, the cities you've burned, the lessons we've learned
    For all that remains, just sacrifice me. I'll hide away in a castle on the sea.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    We discussed at length about decency, worldview, political savvy, etc, in the wake of Romney's famously foolish remark. But I can't recall whether or not we came to a consensus about what the 47% really do for the US, on the whole. They don't pay federal income tax--so what do they accomplish with their daily activities over the course of a lifetime?

    I am particularly interested in long-term economical, social and developmental effects.
    We did conclude that paying/not paying federal income tax is a snapshot in time, and shouldn't be confused with an entire lifetime of paying/not paying federal income tax. That's why Romney's remark was so foolish; he cared more about saying what his donors wanted to hear at that moment, and couldn't fathom another context that would damn his "policy" credibility, when heard by others.

    Our tax code (fubar as it is) is progressive for a reason. It's meant to protect the poor, youth, students, low-wage workers, retirees, elderly, or disabled from the added burden of taxes that would erode their already low *marginal* income. It's also less expensive to give those groups tax breaks (to keep them from falling into deeper poverty, or being permanently poor) than expanding Welfare or other subsidies.

    I don't have the "official numbers" of how many people spend their ENTIRE lives in that non-paying group, but it's certainly not 47%. I think the 47% number should be interpreted as: almost half of all people in the US, at one time or another in their lifetime, is making just enough money to make ends meet, and maybe save a little bit but it's not enough to climb the income ladder.

  22. #22
    Minxyo, this may be relevant to your interests

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_1...rcent-comment/
    I could have had class. I could have been a contender.
    I could have been somebody. Instead of a bum
    Which is what I am

    I aim at the stars
    But sometimes I hit London

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Nessus View Post
    You did read the thread where Lewk said that, by definition, these people are "moochers"?

    Why do you think Mittens said what he did in the first place?
    To be fair, didn't he in the same thread say he was guilty, for a time, of being a moocher?

    Wouldn't that imply more depth to his comments than binary moocher/not moocher status?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    Ah, the folly of totalitarian socialism; to assume that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Numbers for what? Of the 47% of Americans who pay no Federal income tax, 28.3% pay pay roll tax, 10% are elderly and the rest are either unemployed or the working poor.
    Percentage or percentage points?
    Keep on keepin' the beat alive!

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    My questions stem from an assumption that the 47%, despite not paying federal income tax, are crucial to American society's--and Americans'--overall economic and social well-being, present and future. The underlying assumption is essentially the opposite of assuming "that a person's value in life is merely the sum of their contributions and deductions from the state. And the assumption that speaking about one's tax rate is a description of one's worth to society," or at least tangential to it. It was a thought that arose as a reaction to the position apparently held by some people on this forum that they are net drains on the US in most ways that matter for policy. Even if my assumption is incorrect it would not lessen their human worth, although it may affect how they're handled in economic models. For a champion of an industry focused to a great extent on calculating the monetary "worth" of a person you sure seem sensitive
    This is how an economy works from a macroeconomical point of view.

    In an economy you have 4 actors:
    * Government
    * Productive companies
    * Financial entities
    * Consumers
    * External sector.

    The drive of the economy is the relationship between consumers and productive companies. Such companies produce the goods that a society needs to work properly. Productive companies grow as they make profit from customers/consumers. Consumers are workers who get their money from wages. Wages are a cost for companies, but it is the money that feeds demand.

    What is not supplied by productive companies must be imported or exported via external sector. So this is how the needs to fill the gap are met.

    Then add government that has three roles:
    * Redistribute wealth to create inclusive economic conditions that make people to participate in the economy.
    * To provide services to people in a scale that would not be possible for a few companies or people (i.e. space program, health, education, infrastructure, housing, etc).
    * To serve as a liquidity valve through government spending. Austerity aims at deflation, spending aims at inflation.

    In Italy after middle age was long gone, Medici family invented financial institutions, that produce nothing but debt. Great empires never needed banks, and there were no great empires after banks were created. It is told banks provide liquidity, but that's false. Banks lend "P" and collect "P+I" so in net terms they leech "I" from the economy. So banks have a deflationary role in the economy. If banks leech more money that productive companies make as profit on a national level, then a recession and repossession comes.

    If US wants to recover, then the main drive must be fixed. Government role to redistribute wealth is key, as it makes things easier for those who may want to start a company. In the end, wages that come from productive companies are the way in which capitalism distributes wealth, so the job of a government is to make companies to provide these jobs. It does not mean to subsidize already established companies, it means to incubate small companies. Subsidizing already established companies will only reduce their competitiveness, as they need to compete less to make profit.

    Government redistribute wealth when it creates the conditions to incubate small companies. Small companies that start have a high mortality, so making things easy for them is key. Making them cheap loans, providing them technical assistance for free in their entrepreneural adventure, that is a good way to use public money.

    Instead, politicians prefer to subsidize their friends and bailout failed established companies. That is the wrong thing to do.

    Taxes can only be collected from the rich or from the poor. If they are collected from the poor, then government would be redistributing poverty.
    Freedom - When people learn to embrace criticism about politicians, since politicians are just employees like you and me.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch the Red View Post
    To be fair, didn't he in the same thread say he was guilty, for a time, of being a moocher?

    Wouldn't that imply more depth to his comments than binary moocher/not moocher status?
    Would it? Just like conservative abortions are permissible, but all the rest are for whores, my temporary moocherdom is a mistake, an error in the tapestry of life that is destined to be changed as I'm a good person, and good persons by definition cannot be moochers. The moral and the just rise in society while the bad, unworthy, useless people fall into permanent moocherdom. As is right and just, for the world rewards exactly the people who deserve to be elevated, and surely I am one of those.
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Nessus View Post
    Would it? Just like conservative abortions are permissible, but all the rest are for whores, my temporary moocherdom is a mistake, an error in the tapestry of life that is destined to be changed as I'm a good person, and good persons by definition cannot be moochers. The moral and the just rise in society while the bad, unworthy, useless people fall into permanent moocherdom. As is right and just, for the world rewards exactly the people who deserve to be elevated, and surely I am one of those.
    It would be difficult for me to presume what his take on the makeup of the 47% would be without his input, but my understanding, (flawed though it likely is) would be Lewk's disdain is not for those who fall on bad times, (though he likely believes more often than not that the cause of those times are the result of their own actions) or who are attempting to work their way up. It is my belief his problem lies with those who habitually make poor decisions and abuse social services.

    Whether or not the numbers of people who actually do so are accurately reflected in the data - versus his perception of the data - is probably relevant to the conversation.

  28. #28
    I'm not sure in what universe "makes poor decisions and abuses social services" could be extended to cover 47% of the population of the US on the basis that they don't pay Federal Income tax, some of whom don't pay Federal income tax because Republican tax cuts made it so.
    I'll lend you my essence for your rusted throne, and you could bring back the light to the last home of civilisation without which I'm gone
    So take this godsoul to bring forth a new dawn, I'll forgive the death you've earned, the cities you've burned, the lessons we've learned
    For all that remains, just sacrifice me. I'll hide away in a castle on the sea.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch the Red View Post
    It would be difficult for me to presume what his take on the makeup of the 47% would be without his input, but my understanding, (flawed though it likely is) would be Lewk's disdain is not for those who fall on bad times, (though he likely believes more often than not that the cause of those times are the result of their own actions) or who are attempting to work their way up. It is my belief his problem lies with those who habitually make poor decisions and abuse social services.

    Whether or not the numbers of people who actually do so are accurately reflected in the data - versus his perception of the data - is probably relevant to the conversation.

    I agree! It seems to me a futile effort to try and guess what goes on between Lewk's ears, every human is an island and so on. But in the larger picture, the reason why I rail against the Theology of Wealth, as nebulous a term as it is, is the resulting useless vitriol and propaganda you can find in oh so many local US talk radios, on Sean and Rush, on and on.
    In the future, the Berlin wall will be a mile high, and made of steel. You too will be made to crawl, to lick children's blood from jackboots. There will be no creativity, only productivity. Instead of love there will be fear and distrust, instead of surrender there will be submission. Contact will be replaced with isolation, and joy with shame. Hope will cease to exist as a concept. The Earth will be covered with steel and concrete. There will be an electronic policeman in every head. Your children will be born in chains, live only to serve, and die in anguish and ignorance.
    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Nessus View Post
    You did read the thread where Lewk said that, by definition, these people are "moochers"?

    Why do you think Mittens said what he did in the first place?
    How aren't they moochers? It doesn't mean their societal value is nill - it means they are moochers. To give you a real life example, I have a friend who doesn't work. He is a moocher. He comes over and eats the food we have during our game sessions - he is the quintessential definition of a moocher. However we still invite him over. Why? Because he is entertaining to be around. He provides social value based on his humor and quirky mannerisms. Someone can be a moocher and still contribute value but regardless they are still a moocher.

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