What if the Senate were organized around income?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Daffodil, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Daffodil macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    In a sunny state of mind
    #1
    Came across this in my random perusal of the internet today: (link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-if-the-senate-was-organized-around-income/2011/08/12/gIQAD79hJJ_blog.html?wprss=ezra-klein)

    While it's pretty obvious that it won't actually happen, perhaps it can be useful as a thought experiment to point out the shortcomings of the current system... What do you think?
     
  2. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #2
    I was appalled when I first started reading, but as you say, it did wake me up to the fact that representation is more about money than people and that is sad.
     
  3. bassfingers macrumors 6502

    bassfingers

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    #3
    What are the shortcomings of the system? The existence of poverty or the existence of extreme wealth?

    I have no idea what any of your personal beliefs are, so I'm just weighing in on some of mine. I'm not meaning to attack anyone.

    If income inequality is evidence of a failing system, then we are in for disappointment. Because there is no way of establishing a solvent government which minimizes income inequality without completely sacrificing productivity. In order to guarantee anyone anything, you must remove that very incentive.

    There will always be the mentally/physically handicapped, and it IS our duty to society to decide how we tend to these people. Personally, I believe individual charity is the best option because it gives us the freedom to select the most efficient program, which surely is not the government in its current state. I am aware that charitable giving is not overwhelmingly high, but once upon a time, nobody expected the government to do anything, so charitable giving was much more significant. Why give when the government does it for you? (sorry, tangent, not the point).

    In the case of the lazy person, it is not our duty to aid them. And it is our job to distinguish between those who need, and those who strictly want financial assistance

    If the existence of extreme wealth is representative of a failed system, then we should also brace ourselves for disappointment. Extreme wealth in the US is only negative so long as it is far greater than someone else. Why do we try so hard to ignore the luxuries most americans have (even below the middle class) compared to the rest of the world. Someone working minimum wage in the US is doing about as well as the AVERAGE family in hungary. Not to mention due to excessive taxation, the cost of living in Hungary in US dollars is greater than in the US. Someone working slightly above minimum wage has the wealth to eat 3 meals a day, live inside some sort of clean living space, send any amount of children to school -all of which, have a fine chance of graduating college if they are so motivated.

    It is true that income inequality is a direct result of our freedoms and free market. However that same free market provides incentives, opportunities, and motivations that have made us uber wealthy. And that includes the lower end of america because in most other countries, 70% of us would be considered "extremely wealthy"


    side note: Sure, it logically seems like poverty is created by the existence of rich people. There's more than just one pie to have a slice of. America has learned to bake in the past. Wealth generation is not entirely at the expense of someone else
     
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #4
    You ignore history at your own peril.

    People took care of their own because families were enormous and life expectancy very short. The handicapped died because there were no medicines or treatments available. The elderly died for the same reasons and pre-term babies rarely made it.

    Are you advocating a return to a pre-medical society? One in which the weak will only live if their families are wealthy and willing to pay? I'd be willing to bet that a good 10% of the economy would be destroyed overnight if you were to implement medical Darwinism. Death panels aren't a function of social welfare, but they most certainly are a function of your libertarian wet dream.
     
  5. Daffodil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    In a sunny state of mind
    #5
    I don't know that income disparity or extreme wealth per se were the first thoughts to my mind, although that might be another side of the coin too...

    Setting that aside, I'm (negatively) surprised to see that so many people of lower income continue to vote against their own economic interests, effectively leaving them stranded as the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in the country continues to increase. For what reason? Fear or ignorance, perhaps? I don't know. Does that represent a failure of the system so the cards are inherently stacked against them, or is it abuse by individuals? Perhaps you could argue either way...

    But imagine if the above were the case. What sort of policies or even politicians would we be seeing more/less of? Would it all just benefit the "lazy" who would freeload off of others, as you seem to imply? I don't think so.

    If one looks at the other current PRSI threads and the news, you get the impression that politics has gone of the deep end, and the "issues" debated so hotly about are completely unrelated to stuff that concerns most average people - like finding a job, getting through the recession, and having some sort of safety net should things go wrong due to no fault of your own.

    I see rampant anti-intellectualism in the public sphere, and it concerns me a great deal - ideologies either this way or that can only go so far, and we need to be pragmatic about what actually works: enter science, ideally speaking.

    These are some of my thoughts, but I'm open to totally different interpretations.
     
  6. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #6
    Klein fails to note that the senators in the $100k+ brackets would be representing the other 94. Such a scenario creates a condition where the Senate could in effect lobby...itself, in addition to the normal horsetrading.

    Poverty is the pink dragon of civilized society.
     
  7. Daffodil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Daffodil

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Location:
    In a sunny state of mind
    #7
    Interesting point. But would they manage to pull it on the entire middle class? I mean, what sort of crazy publicity stunt would they have to pull? Outright lie about their intentions? You'd hope voters would punish them fairly quickly...
     

Share This Page