(L100) Income Redistribution

“Would it be moral to grade exams, so that all students get C’s? If not, is it moral for the state to redistribute incomes?”

It would be nothing less than immoral for a teacher to assign grades in accordance with equality, rather than true individual scores. The reason that giving every student a C (for example) would be wrong, is that every student did not earn a C. Some students earned a much higher grade, and are being punished (receiving negative sanctions) because of those who did not score as high as they did. Others however scored lower than a C, and are being rewarded (receiving positive sanctions) for doing worse than the other students. While obviously far from fair, this system cannot even be chalked up to being remotely positive as it rewards the underachievers and punishes the successors.

The only way to fairly award grades to students would be to grant them the exact grade that they earned. Each student, regardless of each others score’s, would have to reap the rewards or consequences of the grade that the results of their test’s warranted. (Now, yes, I do recognize the flaws in standardized testing, and I understand that many students fail not due to effort exerted, but because of the fact that they are being forced to learn in a way that they do not understand. In this example however, I am referring to an imaginary class of students, all of equal learning ability who have either scored higher or lower based upon the effort they put into studying and learning the test material. In short, this would mean that it would take every student the same amount of time to learn the same amount of information; thus, every student gets the grade that they worked for and can all be graded using the same scale.)

In both the academic and career worlds, people (should) get what they work for. I personally work my little butt off to earn an income that can support my needs, and to be stolen from is heartbreaking. Now, when I speak of being robbed, I am not talking about a masked purse-snatcher assaulting me on the street. No. I am speaking directly about your friendly neighborhood politician; I am talking about his superior, and the man in charge of him too. Every single hard working American is robbed at gunpoint on a daily basis, but does it hurt you the way the plain-sight bandit does? Would you cry the same, or file a report with the police the very same? Do you even notice?

More often than not, these questions are answered with a simple no. Sometimes however, these practices are even encouraged with phrases resembling, “I am just doing my part” or “it’s for the greater good”. So what exactly is the greater good and who is the authority on such? In my opinion, the greater good is to “love thy neighbor” and the overall authority is God. What I do know however is that funding the lives of lazy, alcoholic, drug using, and/or jobless adults and their offspring with stolen money is not the greater good. Welfare programs not only theoretically encourage mooching and joblessness, but have been proven to increase poverty levels throughout the United States. It also has been shown to destroy marriages, reduce the likelihood of a welfare child having a successful future, and increase mental health and home abuse issues.

Why should somebody be granted what another person earned at the threat of force and violence? Would God believe that this is the greater good? Did God say that “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote”? Absolutely not. God said to help those around you, he said to be generous and love every man. I believe that there are people out there that do truly need help, but I do not believe that coercion and theft are the ways to help them! Allow people to keep that which is theirs; their income in full. Encourage one another to share, trade and lend a helping hand. Charity has changed hundreds of thousands of lives already, and I don’t believe that the power in giving is lost. We can make a difference, even as one person. We can reduce poverty, mental illness and spousal/child abuse. We can build communities that revolve around charitable action and helping rehabilitate people; but first, we must stand up against being forced to enable these things with our own weekly paychecks.

Theft is immoral whether you wear a business suit or a hoodie. It hurts the lives of people on both the receiving and the losing ends.

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(L65) Swedish Prosperity & Fascism

1.) The standard claim about Sweden is that it shows that society can prosper without such a free market and with extensive government intervention. Based on the lesson and on your reading, what would be a good response to this claim?

Sweden’s prosperity was originally birthed from a free market capitalistic economy, as well as avoiding war (as best they could). There is no historical evidence, even as late at the 1950s, of great welfare funding, and Sweden’s Austrian economics standpoint lasted between the 19th and even the early 20th century. The economic strength and prosperity that resulted from these practices was eventually funneled into a welfare state. Between 1970 and 1989 taxes were raised and hand-outs were increased; Sweden’s place as the 4th richest industrialized country dropped to the 14th by 1993. Just as capitalism had built their country strong, the turn away from it had began to make their country weak economically; since then however, economic freedom has increased (and surpasses that of the United States greatly).

2.) What were the primary values of fascism?

The primary values of fascism basically hold that the rights of the individual are far surpassed by the “good of the Nation”. In the words of Mussolini, “everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.” Beside putting the state on a pedestal and pushing for political centralization, fascism also highly encourages nationalism and the glorification of the military.

(L45) The Welfare State

1.) What is the primary problem facing a policymaker who is trying to design a program to benefit people in unfortunate circumstances?

The biggest issue in creating a welfare-benefits program is the fact that it needs to be created in such a way that it is good enough to help people, but not so good that people never give up the help to support themselves (without welfare). This entails creating a target group; however people just outside of the guidelines of this target group are more likely to worsen their own situations, to place themselves within the guidelines in order to receive assistance. This means greater numbers of people are taking out, and less are paying in. Welfare benefits also create incentive for people within the guidelines (say, unemployed people) to stay within the guidelines, because rather than bettering their situations through work, they are handed a better situation. Even for those who originally have intentions of using welfare just to get them back on their feet again become comfortable in the situation they have been gifted. Overall, the rules of the program have encouraged those within the guidelines to stay there, and those outside of the guidelines, to get between them.

2.) In practice, what have been some of the outcomes — intended or unintended — of anti-poverty programs?

Throughout the growth of the welfare state, many disturbing side effects have been revealed. The largest of these realities being the fact that the welfare state does not actually decrease poverty! From 1967 to 1994, welfare spending quadrupled; poverty levels however, remained the same. It has also been discovered that poor people without government assistance are two and a half times more likely to escape poverty than those who are on welfare. It’s effects on family life have been absolutely devastating as well, and it has been linked to extremely high divorce rates. Children who come from families receiving government assistance typically have an IQ 20% lower than the average child coming from a non-welfare funded family. Welfare also has proven to impair young men’s earning abilities, cause behavioral and emotional issues in children three times greater than that of those without government assistance, and double the chances of a criminal future. Tax payer’s hard earned money is being drained into a system promoting broken families and lives of despair, all the while being framed as the greater good; is this something that you really want to be supporting?

(L15) The Welfare State – Immoral and Unconsitiutional

In your opinion, does the state have the right to redistribute wealth from some people to others? Why or why not?

Property redistribution, (also known as the welfare state), is not only immoral, but a legal obstruction of my inalienable (birth) rights to liberty and property. Should another person have a greater need for my property (money) more than I do, it would be up to me to voluntarily help that other person. For the government to step in and take a portion of my income and give it to someone else is theft by coercion (threat of force). The welfare state impedes upon both my rights to not have my property stolen, and to not have my freedom (liberties) obstructed.

Personal Responsibility: The Free Market Vs. The Welfare State (L70)

Which promotes greater personal responsibility, the free market or the welfare state?

The free market promotes greater personal responsibility than the welfare state, by a landslide, to say the least. In fact, the welfare state exemplifies the exact opposite of promoting personal responsibility by using coercion as means by which they steal from working party A, to support party B. What this is really teaching people is that they don’t need to be worried about themselves, or their families, because they can depend on the government. They need not look for a job, because they have comfortably large checks coming in to feed and clothe their children with; checks that were filled with money stolen from the people actually working to earn a living. (Reward the dependent citizens, punish the independents workers.) The free market, on the other hand, not only promotes personal responsibility, but it requires it. If one can not keep up with their finances, supply and demand, marketing, etc. then they can not survive. One must be disciplined and hard working to become a top competitor; no state granted monopolies here.

State Subsidies (L30)

Is it possible to have state subsidies without state control?

To be blunt, there is absolutely no way for state subsidies to exist without state control. The government should under no circumstances hand out money without “strings” or regulations, because this leads to the abuse of handouts. The welfare state offers one of the best explanations of this in today’s society; it is funded by the plundering of those not receiving such help, and heavily promotes dependence on the state by welfare recipients. It is not considered particularly difficult to become a recipient of government aid in the United States; the welfare state is largely abused and encourages paternalism. The government uses coercion to control the wealth of the United States by means of redistribution. Without this control, there would be no money to fund any state subsidies. Rather, a community of cooperation and charities; people with more of their own money will be more apt to help others. In today’s society one encounters money handouts in thousands of government programs; likewise, as of 2014 taxes are up 42% since last year. Although many people seem to benefit from the plundering of others, they, in reality, are just making themselves wards of the state through dependence. No man wins under state control or coercion.

“How To Argue With a Liberal…and Win!” Discussion Question (L25)

“If the state is strong enough to do something good for you, it can also do something bad to you.”

As true as this is, it is hard for some to understand why, or even how the government would do something bad to the people who so naively trust it. Maybe it is easier to consider it in this context; each action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, to a woman receiving welfare, the state is a positive thing. This is helping move her in the direction she needs and she appreciates the help; what a thoughtful government we have, looking out only for the best interest of it’s people. But, on the other hand, she is not thinking about exactly where that money came from. This recipient of government aid isn’t considering that just as she is cashing that check, or using her food stamps, a man is on the other end pulling his hair out about the devastation of taxes. The government is stealing one man’s money from his paycheck each week simply to hand it over to those who ask. On any scale, the state can only “do good” for one person when it is harming another, due to the fact that 100% of their funding has amounted from the plundering of hard working citizens.