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Thread: Equal Opportunity

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Equal Opportunity

    I'm not a supporter of "fairness" of outcome but I am a supporter of "fairness" of opportunity
    This actually got me thinking about Bernie Sanders' push for free college during his campaign.

    What if, instead, we start off every new adult with a large sum of money and they can what they want to do with it?

    Say, for example, upon reaching the age of 18 AND graduating high school (no GEDs allowed, it HAS to be a high school diploma); everyone is issued a check for $100,000. With that money, they've got choices: they pay for college. They can purchase a house. They can start a business. Or... they can be an idiot, and blow it on cars, video games, and expensive shoes and clothes (they might be broke after they wasted they're money, but imagine enough idiots stimulating the economy pretty good by doing this).

    So... the big question is this: how are we going to pay for this? Easy: we raise the retirement age for social security by five years. That, in itself would cover it for most people. Also, more people will die off before being able to draw social security, so there's more savings right there.

    Here's more areas from where the money would come: for those that start business, they would be self-employed and many could also employ others. That's less money being spent on public assistance. For those that purchase a house; because they're not paying rent... if they're not working, they would qualify for less public assistance.

    Also, the people who purchase the house and are working will have more disposable income to stimulate the economy with.

    Other possible "rules" to this

    -People born after a certain year would be subject to this. Anyone born before that can "opt in" by agreeing to delay drawing their Social Security by five years.
    -To protect this money from greedy parents, an 18 year old can assign any or all of the money to a college, someone selling a home, or someone selling an established business; or any combination of three; before the remaining funds are paid to him or her.

    So here we are: every 18 year old starts out with $100,000 in their hands.

    How the rest of their lives go depends on what they do with it. But they all got the same amount, and are equally responsible for what they do with it.

    Thoughts?
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    In theory it sounds great. Here's the problem I see...I see a lot of 18 year old kids come through tech school. For most of them it's brand new to have a paycheck/income. What do they do with it? They buy $30,000 cars, $5k stereo systems for their dorm rooms, etc. It's extremely common and it happens with people of all backgrounds.

    Ultimately, I think that those who would do good things with the money are going to do it anyway. As you said, this does give everyone a good jump and a great opportunity but do you think that means we still wouldn't have to support many of those who blow everything via social assistance as we do now? Would we just let those who blow it live on the streets?

    It's an interesting idea, as far as opportunity, I just can't see the outcome being a lot different than we have now. However, the outcome also couldn't be worse...

    I think we'd be better off if we took that same money you're talking about and put it into making neighborhoods safe so that kids could focus on more than just staying alive. I'm a firm believer that the stuff that happens before age 12, for a large majority of people, is what shapes their future.
    Last edited by sandsjames; 07-22-2016 at 12:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    So... the big question is this: how are we going to pay for this? Easy: we raise the retirement age for social security by five years. That, in itself would cover it for most people. Also, more people will die off before being able to draw social security, so there's more savings right there.
    SO, take money from the pockets of those who HAVE worked their whole lives, and give it to people who have never worked a day and have not earned it? Seems like you would do well running for office under Hillary, with that sort of socialist, redistributing wealth mentality..

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garhkal View Post
    SO, take money from the pockets of those who HAVE worked their whole lives, and give it to people who have never worked a day and have not earned it? Seems like you would do well running for office under Hillary, with that sort of socialist, redistributing wealth mentality..
    This is money that's already being "redistributed". Thise example is simply another way of doing so, since the current way obviously isn't working.

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    In theory it sounds great. Here's the problem I see...I see a lot of 18 year old kids come through tech school. For most of them it's brand new to have a paycheck/income. What do they do with it? They buy $30,000 cars, $5k stereo systems for their dorm rooms, etc. It's extremely common and it happens with people of all backgrounds.

    Ultimately, I think that those who would do good things with the money are going to do it anyway. As you said, this does give everyone a good jump and a great opportunity but do you think that means we still wouldn't have to support many of those who blow everything via social assistance as we do now? Would we just let those who blow it live on the streets?

    It's an interesting idea, as far as opportunity, I just can't see the outcome being a lot different than we have now. However, the outcome also couldn't be worse...
    Like I said in the OP, this is going to happen and I realize that. If they don't want to use that money to put themselves in a better position as the money is intended for, then they at least helped the economy by pumping that money into it. Furthermore, his life may be shit after he blows that money... but guess what? He has no excuses and, furthermore, no one else is in a position to apologize for his position. He was given $100,000.

    I think we'd be better off if we took that same money you're talking about and put it into making neighborhoods safe so that kids could focus on more than just staying alive. I'm a firm believer that the stuff that happens before age 12, for a large majority of people, is what shapes their future.
    That's approach we've already been taking for decades, though. That's why I think it's time to try something else.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garhkal View Post
    SO, take money from the pockets of those who HAVE worked their whole lives, and give it to people who have never worked a day and have not earned it? Seems like you would do well running for office under Hillary, with that sort of socialist, redistributing wealth mentality..
    Aaaaannnnnnndddddd..... I knew this was coming. And Clinton is not a socialist. That's why I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Because Sanders IS a socialist.

    Furthermore, I know of no socialist country that gives a large sum of money to those entering adulthood to start them off with.

    By the way, you've been letting Republicans gas you up pretty good if you actually believe that you're rich enough to be on the losing end of wealth distribution.

    If you had paid attention to what I said, this would be paid for by moving the retirement age for Social Security up by five years. In other words, these young 18 year olds would be paying for it themselves by not being able to draw full social security benefits until age 72, or reduced benefits at 67 (as opposed to the current ages of 67 and 62, respectively).
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    So here we are: every 18 year old starts out with $100,000 in their hands.

    How the rest of their lives go depends on what they do with it. But they all got the same amount, and are equally responsible for what they do with it.

    Thoughts?
    Interesting idea, but the cost concerns me:

    1. The average Social Security payment (2015) is $1180.00 per month, 60 months of that is $70,800.00. Understanding that dollar amounts could shift etc. but based on the OP, that is almost a $30k cost that isn't absorbed by reducing Social Security by 5 years.

    2. Average life expectancy in the US is 78, people born after 1960 currently are not eligible for full Social Security (normal 'retirement') until age 67. The average American will pay $366k into Social Security in their lifetime and currently does not break even on it based on pulling out funds for 11 years; reducing eligibility (based on life expectancy) to 6 years is a significant disadvantage to the worker/taxpayer.

    3. Social Security is already projected to be insolvent by 2024. It will not go completely broke, but will only be able to cover about 75-80% of benefits based on projected income from payroll withholdings and income taxes come 2024; taxes are already going to have to go up to sustain the benefits program.

    Also, as was mentioned, I don't think too many 18-year olds are going to do much of value or significance with the money ... I wouldn't have.

    I do think:

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I think we'd be better off if we took that same money you're talking about and put it into making neighborhoods safe so that kids could focus on more than just staying alive. I'm a firm believer that the stuff that happens before age 12, for a large majority of people, is what shapes their future.
    is a much better approach. Frankly, waiting until 18 to provide people 'opportunity' or life skills is far too late. We (US) have a problem with a the low income life cycle. Children born into low income families generally live in financially depressed areas, those areas generally have the worst schools. The children get a substandard education which exponentially decreases their chances of breaking the low income cycle they were born into. Combine that with poor graduation rates in high population density/low income urban areas (ie. Detroit 67%, Baltimore 41%, Atlanta 44%) and the statistical fact that a better education (high school or secondary) dramatically increases the chance to break the low income cycle ... out lack of attention on primary education is screwing the kids we should be helping the most.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    This is money that's already being "redistributed". Thise example is simply another way of doing so, since the current way obviously isn't working.
    True. This would however increase the distribution by taking approx. $70k from a Social Security beneficiary for the additional 5 years they are not eligible to receive benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    Like I said in the OP, this is going to happen and I realize that. If they don't want to use that money to put themselves in a better position as the money is intended for, then they at least helped the economy by pumping that money into it.
    True, but that would be a short term effect vice a long term effect. Creating a more productive member of society who contributes to the GDP and the community would have a much further reaching impact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    Furthermore, his life may be shit after he blows that money... but guess what? He has no excuses and, furthermore, no one else is in a position to apologize for his position. He was given $100,000.
    Agree, but you know there would be excuses, and if the individual didn't become productive they likely up on public assistance which if we (US) were to deny them, would further exacerbate the problem.
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    There are other effects of raising the retirement age for social security that would make this more feasible. Consider the following:

    1. Less people would live long enough to draw social security benefits in the first place. So if someone dies at the age of 66 - the year before they'd be able to draw reduced benefits under this hypothetical plan - some next of kin would only get a refund of the contributions.

    2. Of the people who do live long enough to draw it, that's five years less that they'd be on it before they died.

    Then, like I said before, here are other effects:

    1. Someone wants to apply for public assistance, and they bought a home with their $100K. If I'm not mistaken, if you own a home with no mortgage, the fair market rental value of your home counts as monthly income for determining your benefits. That's less public assistance to be paid out.

    2. For those who use that money to start a business, this should end the unemployment problem. With more people employed, there'd be less demand for public assistance.

    I think this would also have the desired affect of helping communities the way SJ described. And not just poor communities, either. Go to Anytown, USA and look downtown; or any other part of the city with old storefronts... that look like they haven't been occupied since leisure suits were still in style. Imagine being able to finally fill those in with new business owners.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Here's something else I'm thinking: eventually, free college for everyone IS coming. Sure, Bernie Sanders is finished; but with him out, the inevitable has merely been postponed.

    But... not everyone wants to go to college. For those who choose not to go to college, why shouldn't they have a choice to get something else instead? Some people - probably even some (if not most) of you - believe that starting a business is a better investment than college; especially considering the fact that starting up a new business might cost about the same amount of money as a four-year degree... maybe even less, depending on the business you're starting up and which school you're comparing it too.

    Some people might believe that starter home might be a better investment. If someone owns a home, and isn't paying rent or mortgage, then they might feel that the lack of that rent or mortgage offsets (or more than offsets) the higher pay that they'd be receiving from a job that would require a college degree.

    College isn't for everyone, and those who don't want to go should be given other choices.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Administrator Mjölnir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    There are other effects of raising the retirement age for social security that would make this more feasible. Consider the following:

    1. Less people would live long enough to draw social security benefits in the first place. So if someone dies at the age of 66 - the year before they'd be able to draw reduced benefits under this hypothetical plan - some next of kin would only get a refund of the contributions.
    True. A counterpoint / add on to this would support the argument of abolishing Social Security to let people do with (and pass to their families) as they wish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    2. Of the people who do live long enough to draw it, that's five years less that they'd be on it before they died.
    Correct, which is part of my resistance. It essentially turns into a larger redistribution of money by having people pay in more than they are getting back. Still, just based on the averages, the 5 years only gains $70,800, $29,200 short of $100k. Die off would 'help' (hate to use the word like that) ... but would it mitigate it enough? IDK.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    Then, like I said before, here are other effects:

    1. Someone wants to apply for public assistance, and they bought a home with their $100K. If I'm not mistaken, if you own a home with no mortgage, the fair market rental value of your home counts as monthly income for determining your benefits. That's less public assistance to be paid out.
    Provided someone bought a home with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    2. For those who use that money to start a business, this should end the unemployment problem. With more people employed, there'd be less demand for public assistance.
    I don't know if it would 'solve' the problem. It may help the problem. Depends on the business. Are you talking service industry or small scale manufacturing etc.? How many new businesses last 1 year, 5 years etc.? Small business is the backbone of our economy, but it isn't easy by far.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    I think this would also have the desired affect of helping communities the way SJ described. And not just poor communities, either. Go to Anytown, USA and look downtown; or any other part of the city with old storefronts... that look like they haven't been occupied since leisure suits were still in style. Imagine being able to finally fill those in with new business owners.
    Again, not totally debunking the idea of the 'grant' ... I am sure there are people who would do good things with that money. I think that number would not be the majority ...

    BTW ... when did leisure suits go out of style?!?!?!?!
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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