Military Egalitarianism: a short speculative fiction

In the Empire of Amerigo there is heated debate about the priorities of the polity.

The Egalitarians push for much higher military spending, on the grounds that many poor people around the world require Empire protection from aggressors or at the very least from severe external pressure.  The Egalitarians have a subcult, called The Samanthas, who favor direct military intervention in very destructive civil wars.  They are willing to cut domestic spending on social services to achieve this end, even though their founder did not draw this exact same conclusion.

The opposing party The Three-Percenters favors much higher social spending to the nation’s less fortunate citizens, who are for the most part within the global top three percent.  The Three-Percenters are an openly elitist party, and they emphasize how place of birth determines an individual’s moral worth, Amerigo coming first of course with no prize for second place.

The Egalitarians have been pushing hard for affirmative action.  It turns out that no one on the country’s Supreme Council has a military background, and they believe this should be rectified by an explicit system of quota.  Furthermore only a few members of the legislature ever have killed another human being in service of their country.  So the military point of view, as would be required to implement true egalitarian social justice, is badly underrepresented in the upper tiers of government and society.

After the great wage equalization of 2104, it became the common view that willingness to die and more importantly the willingness to kill for one’s country — or not — was the most fundamental remaining difference among citizens of Amerigo.  The self-proclaimed Proud Killer Faction earns some of the lowest wages in the country, yet they continue to push for greater recognition at the federal level, realizing it is not enough to control several state governments.

So far the Three-Percenters have the more popular view, because after all humans are naturally elitist and clubbish, and so their coalition rule has remained unchallenged for several terms of government.  Yet virtually all philosophers and academics back The Egalitarians, with some radicals even endorsing the Proud Killer Faction.

Addendum: There is another, now-vanquished faction of The Egalitarians, called The Medicoors.  They argue the strange and indeed untenable view that those on the verge of death have almost infinitely less than anyone else, even the very poor, and so a true egalitarianism means everything should be redistributed their way to prolong their lives, even if only for a short period of time.  They ruled the government for almost a century.  At first they were mocked for the doctrine of being “Forward Lookers,” and then finally they were defeated by the success of their own efforts.  Medical technology raised life expectancy to three hundred years of age, thereby inducing voters to think of themselves as nearly eternal, at least for the time being.  Some seers have predicted that eventually the Medicoors will make a major political comeback…

Comments

Needs more killer space bugs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIsv1YOFNys

Best thing I watched on the internet today, thank you.

Sounds about right, except the Medicoors will never lose power. Age extensions will make all demographic histograms look like upside-down pyramids from now until the AI overlords take over.

Well yes, cutting all state funding for old people would solve all problems with public finance. No pensions, no medicare. Wipe out all unfunded liabilities in one big stroke. The sheer amount of money that is spend in subidizing the medical industry to prolong the life of 85 year olds is quite staggering.

But I believe the rationale was a Keynesian idea: that without a safety net, people would save all their income and not spend it, destroying the consumer economy. People need to know they will be taken care of in old age if they are to spend their money while young.

So to "vanqish the Medicoors", you not only need to kill off the old; you need to fool them into not see it coming. Or convince them that dying sick at 70 while at the office is a normal, proper way of ending one's life.

Maybe be old and subsidized is the social contract that keeps revolution at bay. After all the most subsidized are the more skilled healthy contributors who were productive and careful enough to enjoy a long career without injury or premature death and take advantage of such things as property tax freezes and lack of wealth taxes. These are also disproportionally the necessary fubctionaries keeping the system going, they lose faith and you get Venezuela.

The necessary functionaries produce Venezuelas.

The necessary functionaries in Venezuela were all working for PDVSA, but being Venezuela, a country so entitled they make Ayn Rand's handling of villains look subtle and underplayed, they were actively expelled.

Did you notice I said necessary? These are the people who actually do there jobs and make sure crap gets done even when everyone else is a time server. The reason Metro trains actually run most of the time, that the post office actually manages to function and deliver mail, that let you drink water out of the tap after a disaster.

TC returning to his libertarian roots ala science fiction of the Heinlein variety?

As they say, don't try this at home: professional driver on enclosed track.

I am curious about the long term viability of a society where the martial class is excluded from rule. The only examples I can think of involving anything like a steady state before the last few decades are Heian Japan which lasted about 300 years before ending in military dictatorship, various Turkish societies that ended in military rule by their nominal slaves usually after a century or two, and medieval China which exhibited a strong dynastic cycle of about 200-300 years, ending in either foreign conquest or overthrow of state apparatus by rebels who were mostly either criminal organizations or local militias created to stop said bandits, both occurring after civilian bureacratic rivalries led to the punishment of successful military officers and organization.

I suggest that either the 3% will figure out how to automate their killing, leading to rule by machines (the Jannisary/Mamluk result) or in a coup (hard or soft) by the bonapartist faction of egalitarians (the Caesar result).

We are currently in a period of productive ambigouity between your two predictions. The vaccilation might last a long time, but I'd bet on the robots in the end.

If you don't like it, you can leave!!!!!!!!

Ariel Sharon was maintained in a coma for over seven years. When the Medicoors develop a cure for bed sores, perhaps suspension in some form of liquid, that sort of thing will be extended to decades.

Don't quit your day job.

This is an unusually obscure post from Tyler. Arguably it is presented in a way that represents the culture that is United States, and foreigners might stay out of the discussion, but I think that's wrong. More like Star Wars culture? Anyway it's beyond the comprehension this loyal overseas reader. I offer instead a very good postcast I just listened to today - an interview via Reuters with a scholarly former-warrior from the US War College about China and SE Asian realities. For me this interview represents a culture that was and will be the United States with or without Star Wars interruptions, with or without Trump and the separation of powers, with or without Rodrigo Duterte. The 'treaties' leave little room for choice. They are egalitarian. It's best to stay in the realm of reality.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-war-college-podcast-idUSKCN0YB2H2
http://www.podcastchart.com/podcasts/reuters-war-college

Not yet. But eventually there will be. The US/EU establishment wont rest, until they dominate the whole planet. Yesterday Iraq, now Syria, tomorrow Iran, after tomorrow Russia and finally China.

America is decadent and won't ever be able to dominate the whole planet.

China, on the other hand, .....

As far as I am aware, Iraq and Afghanistan did not benefit all that much from US military spending, nor are the Democrats worse on foreign aid for the global poor than the Republicans.

Someone in the Cardiff Garcia thread on Storify, linked yesterday, said that the rising standard of debate on blogs made the output more dry and rigorous for fear of being caught out. I guess the way to get away with insinuating unrigorous ideas about how evil Democrats are, to engage in cheap mood-affiliation with the right, is to tell mostly-incomprehensible allegories that avoid stating preposterous things directly.

Of course, the whole point of a "rigorous debate" on blogs is to avoid any substance or to expose room for possible agreement. As for this blog, I often give Cowen credit for exposing his readers to different points of view (although it's doubtful many actually read the linked articles and books that promote a point of view different from the readers' own), while Tabarrok to his credit consistently presents an economics 101 point of view that simultaneously promotes his libertarian (and virtuous markets) point of view and exposes the real world limitations of it (although I suspect Tabarrok would disagree with the latter assessment). Yesterday I mentioned Tim Taylor, whose blog posts are the kind of "standalone" posts that promoters of a "rigorous debate" must detest. I very much enjoy Taylor's blog, not because I agree with his point of view but because I don't: Taylor is willing to offer his readers an analysis (necessarily not in depth because it is a blog) that reveals not only a point of view but a point of reference, and it's the point of reference that anyone in good faith can see is the foundation for the point of view of everyone who believes in a market economy as the sina qua non of democracy (in the broad sense) and freedom. Those who prefer a "rigorous debate" among economics bloggers must believe the "combatants" have inherently different foundational beliefs, but they don't, the "rigorous debate" about as substantive as the faculty debates over who gets the best parking spaces.

Instead of calling them the Egalitarians, let's call them the Militarists.

Instead of calling the Three Percenters (based on total world income, not US Total US income), let's call them the Middle Class.

And, so the story reads a little better, let's point out that the Wage Equalization Act did not touch Wealth, so the top one tenth of the percent of the Three Percenters were just fine with the Act; in fact, they were thrilled, because there were no capital gains taxes anymore, and no estate taxes either.

And, let's not forget corporate America...they got off too, some of them continued paying no corporate taxes, and would never use the word "effective tax rate" in their discussions.

And, there were some of the one tenth of one percenters who ran for office and never disclosed his taxes, complaining about taxes but never paying them.

Do the Samanthas of Amerigo have as thin a list of accomplishments from their various interventions as ours do?

We accomplished a lot with those wars.

At least $4 Trillion in debt from our recent adventures.

The most patriotic kind of stimulus.

And, it keeps giving and giving

While you are

Paying and Paying.

Do not forget that your largest intervention, World War II, was extremely successful. Your role in ending World War I was also determinant. In Korea,
your intervention did prevent the invasion of the South by the North, which was the aim. In Iraq 1, the aim was to remove Koweit from Saddam Hussein's hand, and that was a success. In Iraq 2, the aim was to overthrow Saddam Hussein, install in Iraq a more or less democratic power of the Arab Shiites, who are the majority in that country, with the Kurds, the largest minority, and also provoke revolts against other dictators in the Arab word. Everything worked. Only Vietnam was clearly a failure.

Overall, your intervention abroad are pretty successful, in that they almost always realize their objectives. After that, you can still argue that these objectives are short-sighted, or even evil, but this is another question.

I guess a successful suicide is successful after all.

The story started out mildly interesting, but had already bogged down by the clunky second paragraph, where I stopped reading. Self-unrecommending.

But one day, Oprah Winfrey selected Tolstoy's The Kingdom of God is Within You for her book club and it caught on and everyone lived happily ever after.

My own view after looking through population and income data is that the world isn't going to be much richer in per capita terms in 2104 (and not much better then that in 2050).

http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/07/08/a-global-middle-class-is-more-promise-than-reality/

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/

Even making some optimistic assumptions and you end up with about the same % of world population in these four buckets in 2100. The center two buckets are a bit larger at the margin but its amazing how little change there is, within single digit percentages in all buckets.
1) Third World Poverty (71% vs 63%)
2) First World Poverty (13% vs 20%)
Total Poverty: (84% vs 81%)
3) Lower Middle Class (9% vs 13%)
-OECD Middle Class right here
4) Upper Middle Class (7% vs 6%)

This does involve a radical shift in who is middle class, especially upper middle class, to East Asia. They made up 70% in 2050 and 60% in 2100 (declining due to lower population).

Optimistic Assumptions:
1) NAM fertility converges to first world levels over time (see map in link)
2) I equalized China and India to their long run HBD expectation a bit faster then most economist did in my 2050 numbers.
3) I assumed China would have a more OECD GINI co-efficient by then, but its equally likely it could be more uneven. Since China is the big guy pulling up my middle class numbers this would ding them pretty good.
4) I dinged people a bit for deteriorating dependency ratios, but not too much. Mostly I reduced East Asian population based on working age estimates, I didn't burden them with extra dependents so they remained as productive per working citizen.
5) Harping on #4, I used total dependency ratio, but this masks the fact that fewer children were making up for a growing senior share. I'm not convinced these two are equivalent, and it would also point to rapidly deteriorating conditions after 2100. In fact the UN numbers have incredibly few children in East Asia in 2100, and that's really the only source of growth I have.
6) I assume none of this will cause political instability. All I'm doing is applying HBD informed growth estimates based on population, if these changes cause a communist revolution or war it would be a lot worse.
7) I assume zero NAM immigration to East Asia. In remains the driver of global growth for this reason.
8) I assume away any natural resource constraints.
9) The starting point in my numbers 2011 is pretty positive for lots of NAM countries because of high resource prices. Venezuela for instance was doing great in my numbers.

I think that's optimistic enough to justify.

So we end up basically back where we are, except China/India richer and the USA/Europe poorer, with rapidly deteriorating conditions thereafter (they peak earlier in the century).

We can see from this exercise that through 2100 a majority of the world will be living in poverty, even truly dire third world style poverty. If we take the advice that global inequality is something that must be addressed at the expense of middle class OECD incomes, that means not raising the world up to OECD levels, but converging the OECD middle class down to poverty levels. This is a mathematical fact.

Cowen outlined this in his "barrios and beans" prediction. The US becomes a South America type state where most people are poor and a tiny genetic elite lives in walled compounds. Very old East Asians run the world and mostly view the USA as a place they can extract natural resources from. For all our generosity in wrecking our country with immigration, it doesn't really change how many poor people there are in the world.

So when someone says that the middle class in this country is part of the "global three percent" remember that he's asking you not to raise others up, but for your own children to sink down.

My own view after looking through population and income data is that the world isn't going to be much richer in per capita terms in 2104 (and not much better then that in 2050).

http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/07/08/a-global-middle-class-is-more-promise-than-reality/

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/

Even making some optimistic assumptions and you end up with about the same % of world population in these four buckets in 2100. The center two buckets are a bit larger at the margin but its amazing how little change there is, within single digit percentages in all buckets.

1) Third World Poverty (71% vs 63%)

2) First World Poverty (13% vs 20%)

Total Poverty: (84% vs 81%)

3) Lower Middle Class (9% vs 13%)

-OECD Middle Class right here

4) Upper Middle Class (7% vs 6%)

This does involve a radical shift in who is middle class, especially upper middle class, to East Asia. They made up 70% in 2050 and 60% in 2100 (declining due to lower population).

Optimistic Assumptions:

1) NAM fertility converges to first world levels over time (see map in link)

2) I equalized China and India to their long run HBD expectation a bit faster then most economist did in my 2050 numbers.

3) I assumed China would have a more OECD GINI co-efficient by then, but its equally likely it could be more uneven. Since China is the big guy pulling up my middle class numbers this would ding them pretty good.

4) I dinged people a bit for deteriorating dependency ratios, but not too much. Mostly I reduced East Asian population based on working age estimates, I didn't burden them with extra dependents so they remained as productive per working citizen.

5) Harping on #4, I used total dependency ratio, but this masks the fact that fewer children were making up for a growing senior share. I'm not convinced these two are equivalent, and it would also point to rapidly deteriorating conditions after 2100. In fact the UN numbers have incredibly few children in East Asia in 2100, and that's really the only source of growth I have.

6) I assume none of this will cause political instability. All I'm doing is applying HBD informed growth estimates based on population, if these changes cause a communist revolution or war it would be a lot worse.

7) I assume zero NAM immigration to East Asia. In remains the driver of global growth for this reason.

8) I assume away any natural resource constraints.

9) The starting point in my numbers 2011 is pretty positive for lots of NAM countries because of high resource prices. Venezuela for instance was doing great in my numbers.

I think that's optimistic enough to justify.

So we end up basically back where we are, except China/India richer and the USA/Europe poorer, with rapidly deteriorating conditions thereafter (they peak earlier in the century).

We can see from this exercise that through 2100 a majority of the world will be living in poverty, even truly dire third world style poverty. If we take the advice that global inequality is something that must be addressed at the expense of middle class OECD incomes, that means not raising the world up to OECD levels, but converging the OECD middle class down to poverty levels. This is a mathematical fact.

Cowen outlined this in his "barrios and beans" prediction. The US becomes a South America type state where most people are poor and a tiny genetic elite lives in walled compounds. Very old East Asians run the world and mostly view the USA as a place they can extract natural resources from. For all our generosity in wrecking our country with immigration, it doesn't really change how many poor people there are in the world.

So when someone says that the middle class in this country is part of the "global three percent" remember that he's asking you not to raise others up, but for your own children to sink down.

Okay, that's relatively more readable, even if the spacing is lame.

There is of course another alternative. Like East Asia, America and Europe remain xenophobic and anti-immigration while ignoring Cowen's tirades that they are part of the global 3%. We build middle class economies in which our children have dignified lives. The rest of the world goes on doing that the rest of the world does without our bothering with them.

+1 and then we colonize the solar system!

The frustrating thing about foreign intervention is that it rarely comes from any single philosophy, and often serves as deflection from domestic concerns.

What Americans"wanted" in Syria or Libya had basically nothing to do with the welfare of Syrians or Libyans or even Americans. It came from a need to maintain regional influence combined with domestic political competition.

Whatever the Europeans or Russians do, I want a place at the table. Whatever Obama wants, I vociferously argue for the other. Never mind any other goal I might have five minutes from now.

Please stick with more relevant issues, like who is peeing where. The only relevance of foreign interventions is that we keep out the people who flee those wars, because that is how we uphold our values.

Seems like the start of a terribly destructive, obviously bullshit sci-fi based religion.

"A need to maintain influence" explains all ongoing military adventures.

Winning is so 1945.

Tyler, is their a sequel on how Egalitarians created massive blowback, unintended consequences, and disastrous 2nd and 3rd order effects from their good intentions?

You mean Militarist, not Egalitarians. Remember, Tyler's Egalitarians are military spenders, seeking to intervene around the world.

It is also worth noting that the whole "fight them there so we don't fight them here" thing has proofed down the memory hole.

The story did not have enough detail to show if they are performing low footprint surgical strikes or full blown, no rules attrition warfare.

But bringing it back to reality, if you want to attrit an insurgency that has no fixed pool of insurgents, where one death may create 100 more recruits and the invading nation thinks they can instill their beliefs on the invaded easily, good luck! - especially if the invading nation thinks they are morally superior but may be constrained in a democratic setting so they do not have the element of time on their side or infinite resources.

Just remember, the US army is the most socialist organization around.

Or to look at it another way the US military just is a massive welfare system, where over a million people are paid to produce nothing.

"Just remember, the US army is the most socialist organization around."

That's just laughably untrue. The US military is purely hierarchical with distinctly growing benefits, perks and pay as the rank grows. Privates don't eat with Captains. Officers aren't heavily taxed to redistribute income to the enlisted.

I'm guessing this meme is based upon some largely uninformed point of view that believes that the military pays for everything soldiers need or desire. Which is definitely not true.

SS probably is/was unconstitutional when it was implemented. However it is an enforceable contract today and no one could argue that the recipients paid for it and thus upheld their end of the contract. I would be in favor of changing SS to something more voluntary and not controlled by government. But even then the contract with people who have contributed to SS would have to be upheld until it was no longer necessary.

Where the redistribution of wealth goes far, far astray of the constitution is when money is taken from individuals under threat of violence and imprisonment and given away freely to those who did not earn it. Arguably all forms of welfare by the federal government are unconstitutional and should be ended. The state CAN provide welfare but the question remains should they.

A better system would be to only provide workfare. Anyone unable to support themselves, unemployed or disabled would be provided an opportunity to work for a minimum wage with taxes, SS and withholding consistent with normal employment. These workers could perform needed labor in their communities and become a powerful engine for good. The system would then discourage those who prefer to live off welfare and would benefit society and the individuals who need help.

I'm not sure the extent to which it's different, but I tend to support tying a guaranteed minimum income to some number of hours weekly in demonstrated volunteership.

The possibility of transforming a large pool of workfare earners into a Stasi (or rather support "agents") concerns me. I think it would be much less likely under the principle of volunteership. Rules about which types of organizations would qualify could still serve to ensure that it was at least nominally consistent with some broader social goals.

Given conservatives refuse to hire able bodied young workers to build and rebuilt desperately needed vital capital assets because that represents an evil redistribution of wealth from the wealthy constantly complaining about the sorry state of those capital assets they desperately depend on, how do expect to get your system implemented?

(Name the conservative business man who wants all the highways and airway support infrastructure privatized with the owners allowed to set usage fees as high as they want based on the value their monopoly control provides them the opportunity for rent seeking by not building more capital to increase capacity beyond marginal demand cost-benefit? Paying workers to build more capacity eliminates the opportunity to charge sky high profit surge prices, and medium profit low demand prices.)

State provision of welfare is inevitable once a society has committed to the notion of human rights. The state is the only institution with universal reach. However, this also means that toleration of some free-riding is inherent and unavoidable.

Your solution of workfare-only is premised on at least two fallacies: 1) the Fallacy of Infinite Demand for Labor (i.e. that there is work for these people to do) and 2) the Fallacy of Competency (i.e. that these people have the necessary skills to do said work). The reality is that technology and process efficiencies have rendered these people, from a utilitarian point of view, obsolete. They have no marketable job skills and lack the personalities and temperaments to be productive. If they were capable of being productive, they'd be working now. People are what they are.

State welfare as currently configured is intended for the transitory poor--people who've lost their jobs, lack social capital and fallback resources of their own (i.e. relatives to help them out, local community, etc.) and need a "bridge" until they can get back on their feet.* But, as right-wingers are so fond of pointing out, this has had the side effect of creating a permanent under-caste of free-riders. What they, and you, miss, though, is that this is side effect is a feature, not a bug. Why? Cutting these people off the state tit will magically transform them into hard-working, upstanding working citizens who provide for themselves. Once again, if they were capable of that, they'd have done it already. Nor will cutting them off make them simply go away and cease to be a problem. They won't just politely roll over and die. Rather, they'll turn to crime instead. IOW, a second legitimate function of welfare is to bribe free-riders into committing less crime than they would otherwise. The relevant cost-benefit analysis, then, is whether or not this is cheaper than just paying to incarcerate them permanently.

*On a side note, I'm curious to know how many of these people--who, let's stipulate for the sake of argument, are using welfare in good faith and not abusing the system--you're willing to fuck over in order to punish the free-riders. How much collateral damage is acceptable to you?

"Cutting these people off the state tit will magically transform them into hard-working, upstanding working citizens who provide for themselves. Once again, if they were capable of that, they’d have done it already. Nor will cutting them off make them simply go away and cease to be a problem. They won’t just politely roll over and die. Rather, they’ll turn to crime instead."

Couldn't you just remove such people from your society. A lot of them are recent immigrants who came here illegally.

As to crime, one of the important functions of a society is to keep its lower classes prole instead of lumpenprole. It's one thing to do charity for someone you get along with that can't do computer programming. It's another to ask middle class families struggling to pay for rent, education, etc to pay higher taxes to give EBT cards to the people that just stole their kids bike (and will continue to steal their kids bike whether they have EBT cards or not, it's who they are). Underclasses have externalities. Society has to minimize those externalities, and this is especially true in a society that is also sustaining those classes. It is reasonable to require a standard of behavior to receive state assistance, and if an individual or group remains stubbornly incapable of maintaining that standard of behavior society has no obligation to include them.

All of us want to be charitable. To include as much as possible. There are practical limits to inclusion though. No individual has a right to be a part of a particular polity or community regardless of practicality.

@asdf: Couldn’t you just remove such people from your society. A lot of them are recent immigrants who came here illegally.

The immigrants, yes. The citizens, no, and it's them I was really referring to.

It is reasonable to require a standard of behavior to receive state assistance, and if an individual or group remains stubbornly incapable of maintaining that standard of behavior society has no obligation to include them.

The problem is there's no longer any practical way to exclude them. That's part of my point. Cut them off, and they won't cease to exist. They won't just go away. They won't just quietly starve to death and cease to be a problem. They'll turn to crime instead. So we'll end up paying for more law enforcement to defend us against them and, ultimately, to either kill them or incarcerate them. Money-wise, it's at best a wash.

They're citizens so we can't deport them. And, even if we could--strip them of citizenship and declare them persona non grata--where would we send them? Who would take them?

Realistically, we can't exile them, either. What land is there left on Earth that a) isn't already claimed and inhabited by someone else and b) remote enough that any exiles couldn't eventually travel back while still being c) habitable enough for them to theoretically live on?

The only effective way to exclude them is to kill them. But, obviously, that means dispensing with human rights altogether. It also gives some organ within society and/or the state a power that will inevitably be abused in order to rid itself of political enemies and people it doesn't like.

Give me pre-amnesty demographics and I'll work with it. Some white trash and 10% black population is hard to deal with but manageable. We dealt with that before and managed. We know its affordable and manageable with even a minimum level of sanity. It doesn't even take good government, just OK government. We can afford a lot of first world niceties so long as we hold on to first world demographics.

When I look at the current demographics though, it just doesn't seem manageable. If we had the demographics of decades ago I would say just do what we did in the 1990s to get things under control. Demographics mean a larger criminal element, electing pro-criminal leftists, trying to operate in what will eventually be a South American economic environment.

This time is different...basically because of the demographic mistakes we've made the last several decades. We need to fix those. It hurts to pull the band-aid off at first, but its better in the long run.

"And, even if we could–strip them of citizenship and declare them persona non grata–where would we send them? Who would take them?"

If they or their parents immigrated illegally anytime past 1965 I'd revoke their citizenship (if they have it) and send them to their county of origin. This includes members of any of the amnesties. I would expel them by force if necessary, though I would try to carrot before the stick. I'd even be willing to pay them a hefty sum to leave. I'm not convinced by arguments that's impractical. It's logistically possible and there are a million empirical track records to look at, you just need the will to do so.

The situation you describe doesn't just apply to "such people". It applies even more dramatically to people who, for whatever reason, can't pass background checks. Just as those that get on the "no fly list" never get off of it, people that can't pass a background check stay on it forever. They are consequently unable to have a realistic chance to get a decent job, rent a place to live, or borrow money. But they will still need to eat, wear clothing and have a dry place to sleep. For these people, crime is high on their list of options.

@asdf: Some white trash and 10% black population is hard to deal with but manageable. We dealt with that before and managed. We know its affordable and manageable with even a minimum level of sanity. It doesn’t even take good government, just OK government.

[...]

If they or their parents immigrated illegally anytime past 1965 I’d revoke their citizenship (if they have it) and send them to their county of origin.

We're talking past each other. When I was talking about citizens, I wasn't referring to immigrants or the 2nd/3rd generation descendants thereof. I was referring to the indigenous under-caste--poor whites, poor blacks, etc.

That's where the truly entrenched generational poverty and welfare-as-lifestyle is concentrated.

The option to set the middle class against the lower class is a popular one. Doesn't Buffet pay a lower tax rate than his secretary? I hear there's also several trillion dollars hidden overseas, untaxed. Maybe there's somewhere else the money can be found without raising taxes on the middle class?

One person's fallacy is another person's opportunity.
I do hope you understand that the theory of fallacy pretty much covers everything including the most successful practices in the world. The "fault" with naming things a "fallacy" is; not everything that qualifies under that label is incorrect or even an actual fallacy. To think otherwise would be a fallacy...

As for your point: Is there enough work for all those who would be displaced from welfare? First, have you looked around your community? I could easily find a couple million man hours of work that could be done in my small community of 50,000. Second if you offer work/labor at minimum wage minus SS and taxes to people who now are hooked on free stuff most of them will decide to find better jobs. All that would be left are those who cannot find better jobs.

"how many of these people...you’re willing to fuck over in order to punish the free-riders."
Another fallacy! People who need help, are disabled, or simply unable to find work really want to work. They don't want to be a drag on society and have to beg for food and money. Well, at least that's what we are always told. But to put it simply no one would be "fucked over" they would be offered the opportunity of gainful employment and the chance to become self-sufficient. I can attest that this is what all normal people desire to achieve, it is the thing that gives us satisfaction and pride. I argue that those who deny this to people on welfare are the "fucker over'ers" in life. You have taken their self respect and forced them onto the dole. It is virtually sub-human to treat them like that.

You need to understand that we can no longer afford the huge drag on our economy and social structure that welfare represents. We are $29 trillion in debt thanks to about $1.2 trillion in federal welfare spending a year. We cannot afford it. We are going under and with all the money that has been spent since the early 60's our welfare/poverty problem has only gotten worse. We can either chose to end this responsibly or allow it to end disastrously.

As for your point: Is there enough work for all those who would be displaced from welfare? First, have you looked around your community? I could easily find a couple million man hours of work that could be done in my small community of 50,000.

Be specific. What are you talking about here? Retail? Picking up trash? Maintaining parks? Road construction? Teaching school? What?

As for my community, all of those services are already being delivered, either by private businesses or the local government.

Second if you offer work/labor at minimum wage minus SS and taxes to people who now are hooked on free stuff most of them will decide to find better jobs.

That presumes a) those better jobs exist locally or within commuting distance and b) that the people in question are qualified to do those jobs.

But to put it simply no one would be “fucked over” they would be offered the opportunity of gainful employment and the chance to become self-sufficient.

Self-sufficiency isn't possible on minimum wage. But, for the sake of argument, let's stipulate that your workfare-only program will provide for all those currently on welfare who aren't abusing it.

You have taken their self respect and forced them onto the dole.

I've done no such thing. The welfare state was designed and implemented decades before I was born. Your beef is with FDR and LBJ, and they're both dead.

We are $29 trillion in debt thanks to about $1.2 trillion in federal welfare spending a year. We cannot afford it.

Unpack that $1.2 trillion figure. What are you counting as "federal welfare spending"? I'm suspicious that you're including Social Security and Medicare. Those are middle class entitlements, not welfare for the poor.

“Be specific. What are you talking about here? Retail? Picking up trash? Maintaining parks? Road construction? Teaching school? What?”
Any unskilled/low skill labor that improves the community. That could be babysitting for mothers who opt for this workfare, mowing and cleaning up empty lots, helping senior citizens around their homes, cleanup & picking up trash, on and on. There is no end of things that need doing.

“As for my community, all of those services are already being delivered, either by private businesses or the local government.”
Well ,not all of them. But if you can hire the indigent to do for $8 an hour what the taxpayer now pays a private company to do for $50 an hour that is good, right!

“those better jobs exist locally or within commuting distance and b) that the people in question are qualified to do those jobs.”

If they are as dumb as you believe they are than they will continue to work at workfare for $8 an hour. I have more faith in people and believe when we remove the negative incentives that they will search out the positive incentives that are available.

“Self-sufficiency isn’t possible on minimum wage.”

Two adults working a minimum wage job ($8/hour) earn $33,280. Yeah I think they could survive on that. Also many of the rules of welfare force families to live separately so without those restrictions extended families could share habitation and other resources just like we “normal” people have to.

“You have taken their self respect and forced them onto the dole.” You object to me using the personal pronoun but you had used it in reference to me. Get over it.

Unpack that $1.2 trillion figure. What are you counting as “federal welfare spending”
Nope! Just welfare not SS or Medicare. 2400 separate “welfare” programs spread among 5 different federal cabinet level departments. There is another $1.2 trillion more or less in matching funds spent by the 50 states.

@GoneWithTheWind: Any unskilled/low skill labor that improves the community. That could be babysitting for mothers who opt for this workfare, mowing and cleaning up empty lots, helping senior citizens around their homes, cleanup & picking up trash, on and on. There is no end of things that need doing.

...all of which are, again, already delivered by the private sector or government. There's no mass shortage of babysitters and garbagemen. I could see this providing some short-term value-added in particularly decayed places like Detroit a la FDR's New Deal make-work programs, but eventually diminishing returns set in. Also, you're presuming these people can be civilized and domesticated enough to do such jobs. Trouble is, if they were capable of that, they'd be doing it now, and your plan wouldn't be necessary.

You're also assuming that the cost and associated overhead of organizing and directing these people will be less than the welfare they're receiving now.

But if you can hire the indigent to do for $8 an hour what the taxpayer now pays a private company to do for $50 an hour that is good, right!

No, you're flooding the market with cheap, low-quality workers who, because they work for a government workfare program, face no market competition. This, in turn, will drive many of the existing private providers out of business and confine the survivors to a small luxury market for the well-to-do.

I have more faith in people and believe when we remove the negative incentives that they will search out the positive incentives that are available.

Then you're a naive fool whose faith is misplaced. People are what they are. Most of the caste of people in question cannot realistically be rehabilitated.

Two adults working a minimum wage job ($8/hour) earn $33,280.

You're assuming cohabitation and resource sharing in good faith by rational people in an area with both a low cost of living and a decent local economy. Those are not wise or realistic assumptions.

Also many of the rules of welfare force families to live separately so without those restrictions extended families could share habitation and other resources just like we “normal” people have to.

Extended families sharing habitation isn't normal and hasn't been for going on a century. Also, you're again making overly optimistic assumptions, particularly when it comes to the behavioral patterns of the under-caste. If anything, concentrating them together as extended families would only make things worse.

2400 separate “welfare” programs spread among 5 different federal cabinet level departments. There is another $1.2 trillion more or less in matching funds spent by the 50 states.

Citation please. I want to see your source.

I don't think it's likely to end up that way. But the basic concept evokes many very interesting issues.

It would be a lot of work to fill in the details with some characters, subplots, romance, intrigue, etc. My understanding is that these are fairly specific sorts of writing skills, quite different from what I'm aware of what TC is experienced in. No doubt, he's quite able to read "how to guides" of cliche approaches and implement non-cliche extensions of them.

However, it will be completely unrealistic if it does not include some basic exposure to brain influencing technologies via microwave radiations, even if that is not particularly important to the plot or basic economic, social, etc., issues being explored. Namely, the future is rather likely to include "neurowarfare" via "electronic weapons" with traditional bombs and stuff serving a relatively unimportant supporting role. In the absence of full social control over these technologies, EM wave jamming and shielding techniques will be primordial in civilian defense and the cognitive liberty required for political disagreement to remain actualized in any sort of democratic sense.

Tyler,

don't quit your dayjob. economics is enough fiction for one lifetime. don't muddle the mixture with whatever this was supposed to be

The fact that the philosophers and academics of Amerigo :

a) Fail to understand that the Three-Percenters would favor more social spending to the nation's less fortunate citizens if they were the world's top 3% or the world's bottom 3%, and that it is irrespective of "elitism".

b) Are in favor of de facto imperialism

Gives me serious concerns for the sanity and mental fortitude.

The implication that the "Egalitarians" could even exist in a possible future world rather than Tyler's crude extrapolation of the current Pax Americana is silly. If American military hegemony is sustainable at all 100 years from now it will take up so much of the economy that the stated goals of the Egalitarians must have already come to pass.

"The opposing party The Three-Percenters favors much higher social spending to the nation’s less fortunate citizens, who are for the most part within the global top three percent."

Speaking for the fdrers:

"The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.

"I am not willing that the vitality of our people be further sapped by the giving of cash, of market baskets, of a few hours of weekly work cutting grass, raking leaves, or picking up papers in the public parks. We must preserve not only the bodies of the unemployed from destitution but also their self-respect, their self-reliance, and courage and determination. This decision brings me to the problem of what the Government should do with approximately 5,000,000 unemployed now on the relief rolls.
:
"With the establishment of this new system we can supersede the Federal Emergency Relief Administration with a coordinated authority which will be charged with the orderly liquidation of our present relief activities and the substitution of a national chart for the giving of work.

"This new program of emergency public employment should be governed by a number practical principles.

"All work undertaken should be useful - not just for a day or a year, but useful in the sense that it affords permanent improvement in living conditions or that it creates future new wealth for the Nation.

"Compensation on emergency public projects should be in the form of security payments which should be larger than the amount now received as a relief dole but, at the same time, not so large as to encourage the rejection of opportunities for private employment or the leaving of private employment to engage in Government work.

"Projects should be undertaken on which a percentage of direct labor can be used.

"Preference should be given to those projects which will be self-liquidating in the sense that there is a reasonable expectation that the Government will get its money back at some future time."

Or to storytell it, fdrers call for redistributing wealth from those with money to those in need of money by forcing them to pay workers, who then become those with money who are forced to pay others to work to further redistribute wealth. Everything the work builds will pay for itself because people with money will be forced to pay for the benefit of its use or existence.

The real Keynesians come at it from a different point of view, focusing on the people with money they won't spend because spending paying workers will result in them getting less money because society will have so much stuff that the profit from monopoly on scarcity goes away and the monopolist who does not work, will end up in poverty because he has no monopoly.

"Now, though this state of affairs would be quite compatible with some measure of individualism, yet it would mean the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital. Interest today rewards no genuine sacrifice, any more than does the rent of land. The owner of capital can obtain interest because capital is scarce, just as the owner of land can obtain rent because land is scarce. But whilst there may be intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of land, there are no intrinsic reasons for the scarcity of capital. An intrinsic reason for such scarcity, in the sense of a genuine sacrifice which could only be called forth by the offer of a reward in the shape of interest, would not exist, in the long run, except in the event of the individual propensity to consume proving to be of such a character that net saving in conditions of full employment comes to an end before capital has become sufficiently abundant. But even so, it will still be possible for communal saving through the agency of the State to be maintained at a level which will allow the growth of capital up to the point where it ceases to be scarce."

3% is nonsense. The US is 4.4% of the world's population. Even if ALL of the top 3% were in America, the bottom would not be in the top 3%, and we know that there are many wealthy people from other countries sharing that top 3%, too.

I wondered if it was contrast to the other III%ers.

http://www.3percent.org

This is an excellent Swiftian allegory -- great job, Tyler. Crafty way of showing that the usual labels applied to liberals and neocons reverse if you switch to a global, rather than a merely domestic, perspective.

Ultimately, I think this analysis applies to the crude ideologies and narratives but not as much to a view of global U.S. politics that focuses on interest groups. I suspect that in reality, only naive and powerless neocons and liberals care about the interests of the international and domestic lower classes, respectively. These are the baptists, not the bootleggers, and ultimately the bootleggers are the ones to watch if you want to guess what's going to happen next.

It might be that the best thing a developed nation could do would be to open the boarders but restrict citizenship and the vote and increase the police a lot and judge criminals very harshly running an almost a police state.

And eliminate all welfare too.

Comments for this post are closed