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Author: markr33 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 35367  
Subject: Re: Folks are worried about retirement, etc. Date: 10/26/2008 8:51 PM
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Damn, I hit return too soon!!!!

<<And another important question - Does government redistribution really help the poor? One good way to determine this is to look to societies where government redistribution was done for a period of time and see if those people ended up poorer or richer.>>

OK, I'll bite.

In the 19th century we had a society with severe class distinctions, a superwealthy aristocracy, the Gilded Age, and an extremely large underclass who had little economic freedom or ability to change their station in life.

In the 20th century, we had a society with a broad middle class, greater wealth for nearly everyone - including the rich - and a greater ability for people to rise based on merit thanks to things like universal education, equal rights, a stronger judiciary, and more, all paid for by taxes applied more broadly, and progressively against income.

I guess it appears to me that the system in use in the 20th century, progressive taxation, worked far better for far more people than did the regressive system used in the 19th century.

Of course I have only actual history to rely on, while you likely have some political opinion which contradicts it.


Progressive taxation is not, certainly not directly, government redistribution. If the proceeds of that progressive taxation are used to [re]distribute money to those who do not, or hardly, pay the tax, then it is. Refundable tax credits are, and $600 checks every so often are (especially when those who earn over $75,000 get no checks) almost pure redistribution. Taxation is meant to fund government expenses, not to transfer money from one person to another.

I think the system we used in the 20'th century worked quite well and could work for us for a long time yet. What worries me is that we keep getting closer and closer to pure redistribution and that many politicians unabashedly support more pure redistribution. Even more worrisome is redistribution on a massive scale to those who are failing, freedom includes freedom to fail, including banks and insurance companies, and auto companies, and "fatcats", and all of Wall Street if they screw up. Once you take away the freedom to fail, it's a slippery slope to taking away other freedoms. All the bailouts are disgusting in the extreme!
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