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innomen
Posts: 10,052
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8/24/2010 2:50:28 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
In the US, social programs mostly started under FDR, and greatly accelerated under LBJ and his "war on poverty". Prior to these programs, most commonly referred to as welfare, there wasn't much. A few small programs did exist, but nothing like what we have today.

My question is: If these programs were not enacted in a permanent basis, what would the current state of the country, particularly in terms of economic levels of the population, or various segments thereof, be? Subtracting out the permanent welfare programs how would we look?
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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8/24/2010 2:55:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The Libertarians are going to say it'd be super fantastic with no unemployment and an omniscient Free Market. Socialists are going to say we'd all be poor and under the iron fist of capitalism. A bit of a pointless exercise, but JBlake has a good understanding of the New Deal, so I'd trust his speculation.
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innomen
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8/24/2010 3:09:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/24/2010 2:55:30 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
The Libertarians are going to say it'd be super fantastic with no unemployment and an omniscient Free Market. Socialists are going to say we'd all be poor and under the iron fist of capitalism. A bit of a pointless exercise, but JBlake has a good understanding of the New Deal, so I'd trust his speculation.

I would really like to have them speculate on how society would look without broad statements like that.
Cerebral_Narcissist
Posts: 10,806
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8/24/2010 3:12:32 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Are we considering the political ramifications? Only how many millions were supported by welfare? In the absence of that would they not have turned to revolutionary ideology? A communist or fascist USA is not entirely unrealistic. Political instability and/or extremism could very well lead to a weakened country, politically and economically.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
innomen
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8/24/2010 3:14:45 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/24/2010 3:12:32 PM, Cerebral_Narcissist wrote:
Are we considering the political ramifications? Only how many millions were supported by welfare? In the absence of that would they not have turned to revolutionary ideology? A communist or fascist USA is not entirely unrealistic. Political instability and/or extremism could very well lead to a weakened country, politically and economically.

Absolutely. And no, it's not unrealistic at all during certain periods.
RoyLatham
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8/24/2010 3:46:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
A good starting point is to ask what became of poor people before the state took care of them. By and large they were cared for by their families and by community institutions, like churches. The mobility of modern society challenges the family and community institutions. Would the institutions have evolved if government had not provided welfare? I think so, but it's difficult to prove.
innomen
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8/25/2010 1:03:52 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/24/2010 3:46:56 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
A good starting point is to ask what became of poor people before the state took care of them. By and large they were cared for by their families and by community institutions, like churches. The mobility of modern society challenges the family and community institutions. Would the institutions have evolved if government had not provided welfare? I think so, but it's difficult to prove.

During the peak immigration periods of the late 1800's and early 1900's there really wasn't much in the area of formal support from the government, and yet there were vast numbers of people that lived in what we would now call poverty. However, for the most part it was not poverty that continued from generation to generation, in perpetuity. The economic conditions of the poor were temporary. Today the situation is different. It is my contention that the culture of poverty as outlined by Oscar Lewis is the result of our social programs. This is not true for all cultures that still migrate here, but there are vast segments of our population that stagnate economically, and for that matter socially as well.
JBlake
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8/26/2010 9:36:40 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/25/2010 1:03:52 AM, innomen wrote:
However, for the most part it was not poverty that continued from generation to generation, in perpetuity. The economic conditions of the poor were temporary.

Would you care to substantiate this claim? Because this is not my understanding of the plight of most immigrant families during that time period.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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8/26/2010 12:29:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
super fantastic with no unemployment
That requires cutting the regulatory state, not just the welfare state, and even then it's only near-zero unemployment at best. Complete incompetents exist.

And life's still gonna suck for the nearest things to them (unless you choose to help them, and that's your business).

But yeah, purchasing power would be a lot higher for people who are reasonably productive. It's hard to say exactly how much, but economic growth effects from it are nonzero, and even if they were zero, you're still keeping half the taxes (and have about half as much burden from public debt-- total government spending is like half of GDP, so you basically get to keep an extra twenty five percent of income out of present taxes and liability for future taxes, without even taking into account the fact that your pretax income will be bigger assuming you aren't the kind of person who'd be a drain on everyone your whole life.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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8/26/2010 12:30:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
there really wasn't much in the area of formal support from the government
I know in the late 1700s there was a lot of LOCAL liability for that sort of thing. Are you saying that ceased that early, rather than being eased out as the feds stepped in?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
innomen
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8/26/2010 12:40:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 12:30:47 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
there really wasn't much in the area of formal support from the government
I know in the late 1700s there was a lot of LOCAL liability for that sort of thing. Are you saying that ceased that early, rather than being eased out as the feds stepped in?

Actually, i am more looking for how things would be now if the social systems were not permanently implemented. Yeah, i know that localities had ways of coping with those who were not able to support themselves due to some sort of event. There were societies for various things, church groups, and veteran groups that were very active, and family life was very different.

However, my question really is, how would our society look now minus the social programs. More poor, less poor, same?
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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8/26/2010 12:43:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
99.5% of people are richer than before.

.05% of people are either starving to death or receiving charity. I don't know which nor do I care.

^_^
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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8/26/2010 12:48:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Note that those numbers are just ballpark guesstimates. I don't know how many people are genuinely so disabled they can't work, or genuinely so lazy they won't.

(I should probably amend that too with about 1-5% or so who are leeching off the government and would not adjust to their former standard of living in a society where they had to earn things, but would probably not starve eithe. The Orren Boyles of the world).
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
innomen
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8/26/2010 1:06:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 12:48:14 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Note that those numbers are just ballpark guesstimates. I don't know how many people are genuinely so disabled they can't work, or genuinely so lazy they won't.

(I should probably amend that too with about 1-5% or so who are leeching off the government and would not adjust to their former standard of living in a society where they had to earn things, but would probably not starve eithe. The Orren Boyles of the world).

Even a more complete picture, i am wondering how immigration or emigration would be for the country. Canada might be inundated with those would want an easier life, and perhaps fewer less industrious people would choose this country. Not sure if the overall impact would look this way. It would definitely change the overall character of the country. Also we might be more isolationist as a general part of our nature. We weren't real global until Teddy Roosevelt.
Volkov
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8/26/2010 1:16:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I would say for certain that the gap between rich and poor would be a lot bigger than it currently is, and whether to you that means people are more poor/less poor, I don't know.
innomen
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8/26/2010 1:17:29 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:16:35 PM, Volkov wrote:
I would say for certain that the gap between rich and poor would be a lot bigger than it currently is, and whether to you that means people are more poor/less poor, I don't know.

Do you get some special alert when "Canada" is mentioned? Out of the blue you come ;-)
Volkov
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8/26/2010 1:18:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:17:29 PM, innomen wrote:
Do you get some special alert when "Canada" is mentioned? Out of the blue you come ;-)

Hehe, nah, it's just a coincidence.
innomen
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8/26/2010 1:19:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:16:35 PM, Volkov wrote:
I would say for certain that the gap between rich and poor would be a lot bigger than it currently is, and whether to you that means people are more poor/less poor, I don't know.

Not that we don't welcome you with open arms as always.

In sheer populations, greater amounts of more poor people? You would say less of a middle class?
Volkov
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8/26/2010 1:23:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:19:49 PM, innomen wrote:
Not that we don't welcome you with open arms as always.

In sheer populations, greater amounts of more poor people? You would say less of a middle class?

Less of a middle class, but one that might be a little more well off. Lots more poorer folks, exacerbated by worse support systems and probably worse education programs.

And given that the cost of living probably would continue its march higher and higher, that creates a nasty situation.
innomen
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8/26/2010 1:27:05 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:23:54 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/26/2010 1:19:49 PM, innomen wrote:
Not that we don't welcome you with open arms as always.

In sheer populations, greater amounts of more poor people? You would say less of a middle class?

Less of a middle class, but one that might be a little more well off. Lots more poorer folks, exacerbated by worse support systems and probably worse education programs.

And given that the cost of living probably would continue its march higher and higher, that creates a nasty situation.

Why would there be a higher cost of living, or a sharper increase? Come to think of it, i could see Canada being hurt by it a lot, or perhaps have their policies altered to cope.
Volkov
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8/26/2010 1:35:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:27:05 PM, innomen wrote:
Why would there be a higher cost of living, or a sharper increase?

I meant that the cost of living would still have continued to march higher as it did in reality, in our little alternative history here.

Come to think of it, i could see Canada being hurt by it a lot, or perhaps have their policies altered to cope.

What goes on down south will invariably affect us, somehow. Whether or not we'd end up deviating from any of the major policies we put in place, like pensions, medicare, or the welfare system, is unknowable - we had a much stronger and more politically-entrenched group that built our system up, than what existed in the US.
I-am-a-panda
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8/26/2010 1:39:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:35:42 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/26/2010 1:27:05 PM, innomen wrote:
Why would there be a higher cost of living, or a sharper increase?

I meant that the cost of living would still have continued to march higher as it did in reality, in our little alternative history here.

Not really. Without FDR's policies there is no minimum wage, which would destroy a lot of the inflation.
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Sieben
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8/26/2010 1:53:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
If we had monarchy, the king could tax 1% of the economy for one year and then be the richest person on the planet.
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Volkov
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8/26/2010 1:57:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:39:57 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Not really. Without FDR's policies there is no minimum wage, which would destroy a lot of the inflation.

Not necessarily. While the minimum wage can increase inflation, it's far from the only thing, or the major cause of it. Taxes would still be increased, manufacturing costs would probably continue to rise in the US, commodity prices would still go up, etc. All these things push the inflation rate.
innomen
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8/26/2010 1:59:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:57:57 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/26/2010 1:39:57 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Not really. Without FDR's policies there is no minimum wage, which would destroy a lot of the inflation.

Not necessarily. While the minimum wage can increase inflation, it's far from the only thing, or the major cause of it. Taxes would still be increased, manufacturing costs would probably continue to rise in the US, commodity prices would still go up, etc. All these things push the inflation rate.

Help me understand why this would be more the case? Why would inflation be a bigger factor?
I-am-a-panda
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8/26/2010 2:00:41 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:57:57 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 8/26/2010 1:39:57 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
Not really. Without FDR's policies there is no minimum wage, which would destroy a lot of the inflation.

Not necessarily. While the minimum wage can increase inflation, it's far from the only thing, or the major cause of it. Taxes would still be increased, manufacturing costs would probably continue to rise in the US, commodity prices would still go up, etc. All these things push the inflation rate.

Depends entirely on what taxes go up.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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8/26/2010 2:02:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 8/26/2010 1:59:47 PM, innomen wrote:
Help me understand why this would be more the case? Why would inflation be a bigger factor?

If there is inflation, the cost of living goes up. The poorer folks, without minimum wage, won't be able to keep up with the inflation rate, unless they're apart of very influential unions that can fight effectively for wage increases. That's not a good situation.
LaissezFaire
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8/26/2010 2:02:41 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
None of the things mentioned really have that large of an impact on inflation. The main cause is the Federal Reserve, although those other things do contribute to it.
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