Monday, November 5, 2012
The culture of work is the common belief that people must be made to work. That people only deserve welfare if they work on something no matter how useless. That we measure economic health by number of new jobs, and that we measure the social value of human beings by their work income.
While work is obviously necessary for economic output of a society, and should always be encouraged, the culture of work is wrongheaded and pointless. Technology and productivity increases mean that there is less work required. This is especially the case for work related to the core necessity of feeding and sheltering of people. This leads to left wing abuses of creating useless work through government, and right wing abuses of maintaining oppression and slavery to force work and force acceptance of the culture of work.
Belief in the culture of work is the only reluctance available to oppose basic income and social dividends. Basic income is a proposed cash stipend given to all citizens designed to allow survival without work income. Social dividends is the inherent right of citizens to receive an equal share of surplus tax revenue. The core advantages of basic income is that it can enhance reliance on market forces for work and social activity within a framework of a culture of fairness, and it removes politicized and unsustainable awards of social funds as prizes of electoral contests.
The culture of financial independence
Financial independence is also a cultural aspiration. The strict definition is an absence of absolute reliance on work income. We most often equivocate it to being rich, and being able to afford every desire. But, we also accept that we deserve strict financial independence at the age of retirement, and social funds are "set aside" to provide seniors with financial independence.
There is thus a class of people who are entitled to escape the culture of work. People that could contribute greater economic and social value than merely allowing their funds to sustain financial markets.
Still financial independence is a worthwhile aspiration. It is the truest freedom obtainable while suffering state subservience. It can be an aspiration that motivates work, and higher levels of financial independence can motivate more work. That financially independent people continue to work is proof that oppressive power and desperation are not essential elements to inflict work on people.
Financial independence is obviously desirable to everyone. Basic income and social dividends permit a basic level of financial independence for every citizen.
The culture of slavery
Slaves in the US were provided with room and board. They were necessarily made content enough not to attempt escape, though restraints and lack of opportunity for escapees were likely input factors in "contentment". At any rate, not to suggest that slavery wasn't bad, while providing income to voluntary workers which is barely sufficient to cover food and shelter, may seem as a remarkable improvement from the slave's perspective due to the "great" personal freedom of choices in the food, lodging, and entertainment options, it is not a materially economic difference from the slave owner's perspective.
Middle class wage earners can enter voluntary slavery by their choice of lifestyle, and reliance on employer for healthcare, and car, boat, education and house choice maintenance. While there is no need to discourage such voluntary choices, the culture of work instills in them the sense that they deserve their own slavery, and therefore strengthens the belief that everyone less fortunate than them should also deserve to be slaves. Only in America, can the absurd-straight-faced claim that $250k annual income is middle class slavery, and any agreement of the premise is based on the organized propaganda campaign behind the culture of work.
The culture of slavery, and its acceptance, enables oppression through exploitation of desperation. The culture of slavery justifies counterbalancing measures of minimum wage laws, worker's compensation, and occupational safety in order to protect the slaves from too much oppression, but all the while still reinforcing the culture of slavery. Under the guise of caring for welfare recipients, the state strongly encourages them to work while confiscating typically more than 80% of their earnings. Under the guise of helping students, oppressive loans are inflicted upon them. Also forcing work.
Wealth only trickles up. If there is a sufficient number of people with money, then producers will find a way to go take that money from those people. Even if the producer sells expensive yachts, it is that producer's advantage to have a society of 300M people each with at least $10k income, than a society with more concentrated wealth, because other producers will go and take the money from lower income members, and pass it along to producers who can be yacht customers.
Only the wealth of customers is relevant to job creation, because producers will borrow any lacking funds, and our banking system supports unlimited borrowing. Having wealth has a near zero impact on job creation. The only reason ever to invest money in a project is if you believe there are customers for that project. The more concerned you are about the future viability of the customer base, the more you are likely to cut investment, and protect your long term financial independence through fear that you will never make production profits again.
The absurdity of tax cuts for job creators
Once a business takes off and becomes profitable, it is extremely rare for it to fund future investments by requesting more investor money. They instead fund investment through their existing profits. Higher corporate tax rates necessarily and directly creates more jobs and investment because any spending directly lowers a company's tax bill even when it fails to produce desired revenue gains.
More generally, the only other element than customers that assists job creation is reduction of risk for investments. Higher tax rates and better tax deduction for operational and investment losses can significantly boost investment. Lower corporate tax rates does the complete opposite. At a 0% tax rate, every penny you spend on a losing investment is a penny lost. At a 90% tax rate, every dollar you invest, only costs 10 cents after tax.
High corporate taxes never discourages profitable work, because corporate owners can avoid corporate tax bills by giving themselves salaries. Ideally dividends should be tax deductible as well.
While increasing the tax rates on high personal incomes can cause some financially independent people to work less, that choice is also job creating. If many doctors and lawyers find that the tax rate on income above $250k is too high for them to work past $100k or $250k income, then that leaves room for other doctors and lawyers to work to take customer money. If 4 lawyers make $250k instead of 1 lawyer making $1M, then that is 3 extra cars, vacation homes, and boats that can be made for them. As a society, we never need worry that someone will not bother to come take our money, and so we do not need to empathetically defer to these 1st percenter problems.
If it is a crime to deny the holocaust where you live, the penalties for the lie of claiming that lower taxes are economically and socially useful should be 100 times harsher, because the lie if believed can and will destroy the economic and social future of any civilization.
High taxes are not slavery
High taxes are good for all of you and all of us. In the US, government spending is $6.3T. Over 40% of GDP. Those of you directly employed by the governments or its contractors can get 100% of your income from government sources, but the rest of us get 40% of our income as a result of your government funding. We either sell directly to general consumers, 40% of whom are government funded, or we sell to other producers who've already taken their money.
The government labour force is also 33% of the total labour force. Eliminating all government spending necessarily directly results in a 40% reduction in private sector incomes either through job losses or pay cuts. The 40% lesser private sector necessarily causes a secondary 40% cut in the private sector because there are an additional 40% fewer customers. It keeps spiraling downward. After just those 2 rounds resulting from elimination of government spending, 66% of previously employed people would be unemployed. Or, incomes would be 66% lower.
Opposing government spending is perfectly valid when it is useless, wasteful or evil. Its even valid to object to useful spending when it is awarded through politicized favoritism where the winners and losers, even if justifiable, are arbitrary. But no matter how wasteful or evil, any spending is more economically beneficial than no spending, because you may sell groceries or insurance to the warmongers. The objection to evil and wasteful spending is that useful spending could be made instead.
The only argument for lower taxes is idiocy. Eliminating everyone else's taxes will lower your pre tax income by at least 66%. Since your tax rate is well below 66%, you are much better off with taxes than without. If the profits and wages you took from society are not considered theft, then neither are taxes. Giving a relatively small portion of your profits and wages back to society, is simply an intermediate step in the circular process of you taking the money back from them.
While the Congressional Research Service has recently published a paper showing that lower tax rates on the highest incomes never results in economic growth, they used a correlation/data analysis approach. In economics, you have to prove policy through human nature. Both approaches are often used to support lies, and most people tend not to understand either, so there is value in data analysis approaches confirming human nature based proofs.
Basic income and social dividends is the correct social spending of taxes
Basic income allows greater job creation because it takes more people (jobs) to go out and take money from many people 100s or 1000s at a time, than the effort required to take money from politicians/bureaucrats millions or billions at a time. If you are not a military contractor, you can make much more money if 1M people are given 10k each, than if one military contractor receives $10B.
Basic income can lower the risk involved in studying and starting a business. Education alternatives can be priced down to what is affordable without student loans. Basic income can help support the design/development phase of a new business. If may also enhance volunteer work due to enhanced freedom of choice
Basic income can also create jobs by eliminating the need for minimum wage and a few other employment regulations. Basic income solves the culture of slavery by paying everyone. Anyone that wants to work or wants more money than what is required for basic survival, will still choose work. Although the culture of slavery creates a demand for low paying jobs out of the necessity to volunteer as a slave or starve, those companies that need low paying jobs tend to have low income customers. Taxes and basic income both enhance demand for those businesses, and essentially subsidizes any employees wages. If someone was content to work for a company for $15k per year before basic income is implemented, they should be content working for them for a total of $20k in employment + basic income.... At a cost savings to the company, and thus enabling the company to afford hiring additional workers.
OMG, people with racial/ethnic backgrounds I don't trust might just drink and smoke pot all day
The value of society to you is what society provides you. Although, we might find that the services we receive from social funds to be worth less than the taxes we pay, nearly all of you neglect to count the consumption that those, who profit through wages or contracts from those social services, contribute to help you produce and sell more of whatever you do.
Its completely irrelevant if other people produce nothing of use, as long as they consume. The value to you of people in society is the same whether they do nothing, or supervise people on welfare to dig and refill holes, or do anything that is of no direct use to you. We do not need a bureaucratic empire that filters out who is poor enough to receive aid, and supervises what they spend it on, because with the cost savings from eliminating that bureaucratic empire, we can ensure that everyone has enough, and trust that they will manage to survive.
If you participate in the act of production, then people who do nothing but consume do you the favour of not competing with you as a producer.
Basic income can also help alleviate poverty and crime, by replacing welfare and social housing. Unlike welfare, basic income has no clawback penalties for work income. Cash instead of social housing provides the benefit of not concentrating people into a culture of slavery, oppression, and quasi-prisons. The problem with prisons and quasi-prison ghettos is that the occupants cannot help but associate with criminal designs.
Basic income can substantially facilitate renting a room or accepting room mates, because there should be no reasonable excuse for, or likely event of, missing a rent payment.
Posted by Pascal J. at 3:25 PM