Posted 1 year ago on Oct. 10, 2012, 4:14 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
“Why should my hard earned tax money fund something that has nothing to do with me and which I don’t agree with?” We hear these phrases all the time, especially from the right. In my opinion this is a wrong and extremely cynical way of looking at it.
Our free ride society
First of all, let’s look at the society we live in today: It’s a complex, highly advanced technological society built up by generations of people thru hundreds of years. People have been building infrastructure, contributed to science, developed technology, developed efficient ways of manufacturing etc etc. Because of all this effort we now enjoy a more wealthy, advanced and efficient society than ever. All of this, lots of it built and created long before we were even born, we’re now enjoying despite having little or nothing to do with contributing to it ourselves. In other words, our contributions, no matter what we do, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society. We’re enjoying the results of generations of people’s work gradually building a modern society – we're enjoying an enormous free ride.
With this in mind we see how incredibly meaningless it is to say “Why should I have to pay for your Medicare” or something like that. Our personal contributions in taxes, labor or whatever, are extremely small compared to the benefits society provides us.
(Now, there are people who are struggling to get by and do not feel that they’re enjoying all these goods. I totally understand that, but that has to do with the unfortunate concentration of wealth. I’m talking about the society as a whole. The western countries are more efficient and wealthy as ever, the problem is that we have a system that allows for more and more accumulation of wealth.)
Exploitation and corporate welfare
This “Why should I fund your Medicare” – attitude is also diverting attention away from the really important issues in terms of funding and access to recourses.
One of the hallmarks of capitalism is that the means of production are privately owned by some individuals, while others do not have this ownership. In other words, some own the means of production others are using. So it’s a system in which the ones using the means of production must sell their labor to these owners in order to have a decent life. The owners can then make a profit from other people’s work by just owning. This happens when the value of the worker’s pay is less than the value that was added thru his/her work in the paid hours. That creates a profit for the owner of the means of production who did not create the value, but still gets paid in the form of profit. This profit is hence capital for future investments and more profits. So, the capitalist is making money simply by just owning, not adding or creating value.
This exploitation – making money on other people’s work – is much larger and much more important to focus on, than you contributing thru taxes, making sure poor children don’t starve.
What’s really ironic about this topic is that the ones who are really getting most of the welfare and support are not poor single moms or people on Medicare, it’s CORPORATIONS. For decades corporations have been getting enormous sums in subsidies, bailouts etc. Remember the multibillion dollar bailout in 08? Billions of taxpayer dollars went straight into the hands of some of the wealthiest people in the US. Now that’s some serious welfare right there.
If making money off of other people’s work bothers you so much, then you should at least focus on a main problems: exploitation and corporate welfare, not poor people getting food stamps. To put it this way: As long as the wealthy are getting more and more recourses into their hands by exploiting workers and getting enormous subsidies and bailouts from the government, people should have no right lecturing the working class and poor for asking for welfare programs.
What our real focus should be on
So forget about this “why should I pay for your welfare” – attitude. It’s cynical, superficial, and it diverts attention away from the real problems in society. We should acknowledge that we live in a more modern and wealthy society than ever, and the way to deal with such a society should be to create a more participatory democracy based on solidarity. A society where the economic institutions and important recourses are owned in common and controlled democratically by the participants, with economic equality and where we take care of the ones who need it so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of this wealthy society.