Monday, August 08, 2011

Oh, There's Tough History A-Comin'

Yessireee, where's your breadlines? I do fear they're coming. --Though it was pretty amusing watching television pundits and flacks chiding Standard & Poor's this morning. Why, how dare S&P downgrade the Federal credit rating!

(Mind you, if you or I or S&P's top dog in Sovereign Ratings ran our personal finances the way the Federal Gummint does, we'd have creditors camping outside the gates of our palatial estate, waiting to repossess our Lamborghini, our Caddy and the Isetta used to drive to the mailbox -- and we'd be making minimum wage. What d'ye suppose our credit rating would be?)

But I was going to talk about The Poor. Various pols and pundits bemoan the "heartless" United States and the horrible, horrible manner in which the poor are treated here; these experts (or is it "poverty pimps?" It's so hard to tell them apart) say we need to be more like Europe. Oh, yeah? Here's frikkin' factiod: "The poverty level in the United States, with 12.65%, is comparable to the one in France, where 14% of the population live with less than 880 euros per month." All right, almost-poor folk, line up -- we've got to kick a few thousand of you back below the line so's our government can be as compassionate as the French Republic.Link

Here's a clue, Washington: as long as you are paying people to be poor, you'll have no dearth of them; as long as you hamstring (or outbid!) the small businesses that would employ them, you'll have unemployed people and you'll be helping to jack up what the poor have to pay for basic necessities. The latter is something that is often overlooked but there's a thumb on the scales every time anyone buys groceries (or anything else): government "help" means you pay more, from the price supports on sugar -- you wanna know why there is HFCS in your soda? -- to food stamps, it all gets rolled back into the price paid by everyone or sliced from their pay. There's no free money from the government, it's all wages, prices...and taxes.

And y'know who's hardest hit? Strictly speaking (and assuming they've signed up for all the goodies), it's not the poorest; it's the hardworkin' schmoes who are barely outta (official) poverty. Step over that politically-set line and blam! No more cheese for you!

Me, I'm harsh; I'd fix that by not givin' away cheese to nobody, nohow. There is an inflationary spiral caused by government siphoning off money at every transaction (money of which well less than a third is by any stretch used for "compassionate" programs and most of that goes for the nice offices and nice salaries of the people who administer the help) that has pushed up prices and (dare I say it?) wages, creating a difficult gap for anyone on their way up from the bottom.

What would the talking heads on TV do to "fix" it? "Tax the big corporations more," a couple of 'em clamored on CNN this morning, and never you mind that every dime that corporation takes in comes from you and me; tax them harder and they raise the price I pay. Me and you and the poverty-level family down the way, that is. Some fix.


perlhaqr said...

Hell yes.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

What Bobbi said.

B said...

Yeah, except that the "poor" folk living in "poverty" as defined in the US live better than most middle class Europeans.

Significantly so.

Look it up yerself.

We keep re-defining "poverty" to include people who have houses, cars (generally one per adult) and cable and such.

SpeakerTweaker said...

This is one of those Oughta Be Required Reading posts. Very good stuff.


John A said...

It is not just that the "profit" corporations have come from us, it then is paid back to "us" as shareholders or members of groups that hold shares. The more the government skims off the top, the less get back.

The GM steal-from-shareholders deal is just the most recent and best known.

And yes, poverty is relative to the society/conditions in which you define it. Famously, Prince Albert died because the palace drains/sewers were not up to standards of the New York slums of the 1930s.