Speaking up against our would be soviet overlords.

Ask a typical liberal, and you would be told that anyone on unemployment is a hard working individual who just can't get a job (because corporations are evil). The liberal will contend that they just want to help those poor hardworking individuals who would otherwise could not even afford to eat.

Ask a typical conservative, and you would be told they are lazy and don't want a job, and instead just want to be paid not to work. The conservative will tell you that if you cut them off, they will get a job right away, but they have no incentive to do so while the government is paying them to not work.

I have the perfect solution, this one is simply a case of "taking the third option". A well used cliche is where the hero has to choose between two bad choices, the hero finds a third solution that hasn't been spelled out for him and has no drawbacks, this is the so called "third option". So what is the third option in the unemployment issue?

Eliminate ALL payments for unemployment, to be replaced with a government employment program. Said government employment program will be available to anyone, no matter how long they have been out of work in the private sector and will pay 99% of the current minimum wage (figure adjustable between 90 and 100%, it may never go above or below those figures). It is imperative that it is 99% of minimum wage, so that any private sector job will pay more... however, we don't want to be cruel here, so making it 99% means that it is still enough (unless minimum wage is not enough, in which case it can be increased independently, automatically increasing the payout for government employment).

If liberals are being honest, then this should satisfy them... millions of Americans currently not eligible for unemployment benefits (due to being unemployed for too long, or other reasons) would now have a job and could afford to pay their bills. If liberals are right, hard working individuals who want a job but just can't find one will be empowered and overjoyed at finally getting a job and working for a living as they wanted all along.

If conservatives are being honest, then this should satisfy them... millions of Americans currently sucking on the government's teat will go out and get a real job in the private sector, because they want more money or an easier job (a dreary office job beats physical labor, for most). If conservatives are correct, then the "lazy bums" will be cut off from their mooching, forced to actually work for their money.

This is the perfect third option solution.

There are also two options which I have considered and I am not sure if they are a good idea:

1. The labor would be lease-able by private sector (further cutting costs of the program)

Problem: This could cause difficulty in people getting minimum wage jobs, especially if the government "leases" said labor at less then minimum wage.

Potential solutions: The government "leases" said labor at minimum wage, and with the agreement that if an employee "hires" several temps through the program they will have to either take them on as direct employees after a month, or ask for someone else (due to the individual not performing their job as desired). Or that the job itself is temporary (will only be available for up to 2 months). Or just not lease it to the private sector at all... this might be the better solution as there is too much room for this to be implemented incorrectly if we try to be "clever" in such a way... especially considering the mismanagement of those in congress.

2. if not enough work is available (whether from private sector or government assigned work) then individuals will be given outdoor labor type jobs, such as digging trenches and planting trees. If not enough of that kind of work can be found then they will be tasked with digging holes and filling them back up. (to ensure they are never paid to not work at all).

Problem: This will be unpopular. Perhaps it shouldn't be limited to physical work. As long as they are actually doing something.


Comments (Page 3)
on Dec 15, 2010

Leauki
From each according to  his ability to each according to his needs.  Paraphrased well enough?

And we do not have to go into a doctoral thesis to see how wrong that is, not in theory, but in practice.  it has always failed and will always fail.  man is not altruistic.

Did your family operate and succeed using another strategy?

For a family its "from each as much as s/he is willing to give to whomever they are willing to give it to". Helping your family is a choice, and it is not altruistic since they share your DNA and you are helping in its preservation and spreading.

I disagree about the "man is not altruistic" thing, man is not 100% altruistic, and man shouldn't be. Humans have both selfishness and altruism coded into our DNA, our brains contain structures that inspire empathy, altruism, selfless sacrifice, as well as greed and hate and more... A society is more powerful then an individual, and psychopaths don't form societies. But pure altruism is exploitable and leads to stagnation and failure, just as pure selfishness does. We maintain a balance of altruism and selfishness.

Your debate and Dr. Guy is interesting, it is a fundamental issue of societies. You both agree that if you take materials and build something from it, its a product, its yours, you created it. But what of the land, the raw materials in the earth, the air and water around us, etc... who owns them? Do they belong to everyone (mediated via government ownership)? do they belong to an individual?

My take on it... in the abstract they belong to "everyone" (aka the government)... but the issue is what happens when the government SELLS it? Well, if the government sold it, then it now belongs to whomever the government sold it to. That person invested time / effort / money to buy something at what the government deemed a fair price, if he later finds diamonds in his plot of land, it is his to benefit from.

What the government COULD do is lease a land, or sell a license to use its land for specific things instead of selling the land itself. For example, the government could sell agricultural rights to a land, while maintaining mineral rights. This will diminish the amount of money the government would be getting for the land. The problem is that people want to sell their cake and eat it at the same time. Either the government is SELLING you the land (in which case it is YOURS, the land belonged to EVERYONE, the government is a PROXY of EVERYONE, EVERYONE SOLD that land to YOU via their legal PROXY. The land now belongs to YOU, not to EVERYONE), or the government could be leasing you the right to live and commercially develop specific things on the land but not others.

Now, SHOULD the government, as a proxy of everyone, sell land? or should it only lease it for specific use while maintaining other rights? I am not entirely certain, I think there could be a strong argument for merely leasing it. but it means that the land is PRICED ACCORDINGLY! furthermore, I am concerned that it might harm the economy.

Things like air, water, and land, if "owned by everyone" fall into the tragedy of the commons. Pay per use is fair for those, the problem of course is when the government is promoting unscientific hogwash as fact... if someone is emitting lead particles into the atmosphere, its pollution and degrades a "common" resource, but if someone releases carbon dioxide? thats nothing, plants eat it right up and it causes no harm to the environment (humans account for 3% of yearly global emissions, half of which is due to industry, half of which is due to breathing, and carbon dioxide was never shown to have anything to do with global temperature).

A problem of strictly metering out the use of commonly owned things like water, wildlife, land, air, etc is that it is stifling for an economy and causes economic stagnation which we can ill afford. Some might look at it and say "this is essentially everyone giving free money to some rich guy"... the problem is that "some rich guy" is the guy who is actually building and running the foundation of the economy without which society doesn't work. It is not "free money", it is money (or actually, property... air, water, land, etc) handed over in exchange for goods and services (electricity, cars, steel, etc) without which nobody would have any of our modern comforts.

Land taxes are essentially the way in which the government is "leasing" the land, eminent domain and mineral rights are a function of the lease. On the one hand, since it was understood by both parties before the "sale" that those are a given, that the current "sold land" was misnamed and is actually "leased" land under a different name. Because truly sold land should be exempt of land taxes, eminent domain, etc. On the other hand, since the government explicitly said it was SELLING and not LEASING the land to people, then it has been engaging in fraud... Tricking people into thinking they bought something when in fact they only leased it, selling it and then charging rent / evicting you when they need it is not acceptable.

The transition from a dishonest system we have now to an honest system where you call things what they are will be painful, you will have to resolve where it is between those two positions that we settle. did the government really sell, or didn't they? I think the solution is somewhere in between, but it bears more thought.

PS. OMG! I never figured this one out before right now! I have been reading your argument and thinking how right both of you sound, but how can you both be right? and then it finally clicked and I came up with the above! This is awesome, I finally deciphered land ownership!

on Dec 15, 2010

but the issue is what happens when the government SELLS it?

Almost. Stop paying taxes on "your" land and the government takes it back. In essences land (property) owners are really just renters with something to lose. Includes me.

on Dec 16, 2010

Leauki
Did your family operate and succeed using another strategy?

 

Did you call your mother to catch the robber when you were held up?

Yes, I know, a stupid statement.  But I thought that was what we were playing here.

on Dec 16, 2010

I disagree about the "man is not altruistic" thing, man is not 100% altruistic, and man shouldn't be. Humans have both selfishness and altruism coded into our DNA, our brains contain structures that inspire empathy, altruism, selfless sacrifice, as well as greed and hate and more... A society is more powerful then an individual, and psychopaths don't form societies. But pure altruism is exploitable and leads to stagnation and failure, just as pure selfishness does. We maintain a balance of altruism and selfishness.

"Man is not altruistic" is not the same as saying "Man has no altruism". Clearly he does and it manifests itself throughout life.  But that is not what man IS.  it is a PART of man.  And that is why socialism has always failed (for Leauki, I will state - on a large scale - while communes and kibbutzes have thrived in the short term, there is no evidence of them surviving for long periods of time) and will always fail.  For every Gandhi out there, there are a bunch of Caspar Milquetoasts and a few Charlie Mansons.  And all of the later will take advantage of the Gandhis

on Dec 17, 2010

speaking of kibbutzes, they only worked VERY early, right before Israel was founded a little while after. Often literally being forts for the common defense. But 30 years or so after israel was founded they ALL went bankrupt, and they were all bailed out by the government on the condition that they become less communistic.

The modern "kibbutz" is not nearly as communistic as it used to be, but still has a lot communism, and they are not exactly thriving.

This is not limited to Israel. The mayflower compact outlines a communist settlement, a lot of times settlements are communist. This is not a case of altruism but a case of people afraid for their very life (justly so, many of them die) who band together and each contributes everything that they have to the community to increase their own chances of survival. Once they no longer fear for their lives, the thing crumbles.

Actually, on a country level its still only ever "works" while they fear for their lives. Communist russia only lasted as long as it did because people were sufficiently afraid of stalin and the KGB to toe the party line.

And that is, of course, for certain values of "works"... (millions dead, but the country has enough conscripts and tanks to retain its structure)

on Dec 29, 2010

I can't see your proposal being acceptable to liberals. I can recall once when I mentioned to some of my colleagues in a discussion on benefits/tax rates that I thought people should not receive benefits if they refused to work (despite being fully fit+capable of working) to be met with shock at my extreme right wing views, since I confirmed I was in effect comfortable with the implication (albeit a slightly twisted one) that this effectively meant I was saying people who still refused should then be left to starve.

So while I would agree with a proposal such as yours (that is, offering a government 'job', even if just to dig holes and fill them in again, in order to get benefits), I can't see many liberals supporting it.

The tweaks I'd favour to your proposal would be allowing people to work on average (each month) say 4 days a week but get paid for 5, i.e. to have 4 days a month paid to go looking for jobs (since you wouldn't want them to be stuck in long term 'backup' employment), along with free education/training programs for people who were employed in this way for more than a year.

This could also provide another potential benefit - the government could outsource the provision of this employment (as a varient to your leasing proposal) and offer say half the amount they pay to people on their program to a company instead if it took on these workers for a year at the same wage (possibly restricting it to people on the program for 3+ months), which could help reduce the total cost of such a program as well possibly resulting in those people performing more productive roles (tweaking might be needed to ensure it doesn't end up as a subsidy for all jobs though - maybe have a salary cap or something that it applies to as well).

Complications could also arise with the treatment of children - if someone refuses to work then they suffer, but if they have children those children also suffer through no fault of their own, which could be a tricky issue to resolve (unless you brought in the threat of temporary foster care against parents with insufficient income refusing to work and hence not having enough money to support their children, which would present its own issues)

on Jan 03, 2011

I can't see your proposal being acceptable to liberals. I can recall once when I mentioned to some of my colleagues in a discussion on benefits/tax rates that I thought people should not receive benefits if they refused to work (despite being fully fit+capable of working) to be met with shock at my extreme right wing views, since I confirmed I was in effect comfortable with the implication (albeit a slightly twisted one) that this effectively meant I was saying people who still refused should then be left to starve.

Welcome to the 21st century, where the middle is Mao, and the right is anything to the right of him!

 

on Jan 04, 2011

since I confirmed I was in effect comfortable with the implication (albeit a slightly twisted one) that this effectively meant I was saying people who still refused should then be left to starve.

Never do that. What you should have said is "this is a false dichotomy".

You clearly said "willing to work" not "able to find a job" and you said "able bodied". Even Mao and stalin REQUIRED that people show up to work. In soviet russia you couldn't just refuse to work, you'd be executed for doing that. You could be incompetent, untrained, and unmotivated... but not flat out say "I refuse to work, now feed me!".

on Jan 04, 2011

taltamir
Never do that. What you should have said is "this is a false dichotomy".

You clearly said "willing to work" not "able to find a job" and you said "able bodied". Even Mao and stalin REQUIRED that people show up to work. In soviet russia you couldn't just refuse to work, you'd be executed for doing that. You could be incompetent, untrained, and unmotivated... but not flat out say "I refuse to work, now feed me!".

The irony is those that are all for the "refusal to work" do not realize that the inevitable end of their "Utopian" society is Stalin-ism or Mao-ism - and their death.

The Horse did not realize he was headed to the glue factory - or the sheep to the butcher.

on Jan 04, 2011

The irony is those that are all for the "refusal to work" do not realize that the inevitable end of their "Utopian" society is Stalin-ism or Mao-ism - and their death.

The Horse did not realize he was headed to the glue factory - or the sheep to the butcher.

DG you may recall my theory on "Human Hardwiring". I believe you touch on it a bit above. For the rest, I believe humans are deep coded to keep their populations low through an ingrained desire for war and other generally bad things such as communal living (where disease can be devastating). We just go through life trying to invent, regulate, or govern our way out of what will always be at the core, no matter how far we advance. Same holds true for a large portion of society to crave a system that will lead to their demise. The urge can be suppressed but not eliminated entirely. 

I look for instances like the one you address to help confirm my thoughts on the matter.

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