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  1. #1
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    There is no such thing as unearned income

    Proposition: any time wealth is created, it was created by someone's effort; wealth cannot come into existence without such effort.


    We speak of unearned income: Medicaid, food stamps, welfare both personal and corporate. But someone had to earn that income, or it wouldn't exist for it to be transferred.

    That word "transferred" is a bit of a giveaway -- it's a misnomer, a way of saying "we took it from those who earned it and gave it to someone else". Of course there's no way to have government without doing some of that, but we make accusations of people being "undeserving" of the income bestowed on them -- and those we complain about are always the needy ones, those who have minimal means to support themselves.

    But the greatest unearned income in the world is that of money sucking in -- they call it "earning" -- other money, merely by being there. All sorts of excuses are made, such as that people buying stock are enabling production (a lie), but in the end it's just money being handed to some people for no other reason than that those people already have a lot.

    When the money handed over is a government check, today's "conservatives" like to call it theft. In essence, it is, but if that is theft, then so is the unearned income sucked up by the wealthy without them doing any work at all.

    The question, then, is who actually earned that money -- who did the work for it to happen. And the next question is how to set that theft right.



    Discuss.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  2. #2
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    We speak of unearned income: Medicaid, food stamps, welfare both personal and corporate. But someone had to earn that income, or it wouldn't exist for it to be transferred.
    I always thought the term "unearned income" referred to interest.

  3. #3

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Your communist ideal has been tried Kulindahr and it doesn't work. Capitalism does work and is responsible for most of the standard of living that we enjoy today. 200 years ago the vast majority of humanity lived in one room hovels, one set of clothing, little food, no medicine, no chance of improvement. What we enjoy today is not the result of charity and give aways, but of people working to better themselves and enjoying some unearned income, and pass it on to their children. You hope to destroy that incentive is a plan for stagnation and poverty.
    The last hundred and fifty years or so have witnessed hundreds of millions of deaths and untold misery from a few people fantasizing that they can make a ideal world by forcing people into molds of their imagining.
    Last edited by Benvolio; October 7th, 2013 at 04:18 AM.

  4. #4
    Virtus in medio stat JUB Admin opinterph's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    the greatest unearned income in the world is that of money sucking in -- they call it "earning" -- other money, merely by being there. All sorts of excuses are made, such as that people buying stock are enabling production (a lie), but in the end it's just money being handed to some people for no other reason than that those people already have a lot.
    In some cases, wealth can be transferred through an arrangement where the recipient promises to introduce goods and services in the future to offset the value of wealth they receive in the present. The transaction involves some entity that is willing to provide the wealth and offer an assurance that it has value.

    The entity transferring the wealth does not necessarily own sufficient resources to guarantee the full value of the transfer, should that entity be required to liquidate the entirety of its holdings at a given point in time. In most cases, the entity transferring the wealth imposes a fee on the recipient as a compensation for allowing the recipient to use the wealth and its guarantee that the wealth being transferred has real value.

    The recipient does not hold legal title to the wealth it receives and is obligated to return the value of that wealth back to its original guarantor over some period of time. The entity transferring the wealth may or may not own the wealth, but either has possession and control over it or uses its credibility to guarantee that the wealth has value.

    Whatever fee the entity transferring the wealth receives is income. That income is compensation for the hassle of facilitating the transfer and maintaining books of account and other documentation. It is also compensation for the risk it endures that the recipient may fail to provide the promised future goods and services.

    If we assume that the recipient of the transferred wealth eventually provides sufficient goods and services to return the value of the transfer, along with an additional amount of compensation, to the entity that initially transferred the wealth is the income resulting from the activity of temporarily transferring that wealth earned?

  5. #5

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    When debating, express your opinion about a person's ideas, not about them personally. [Link]
    Pointing out the inconsistencies or changes in another's ides would not seem to be a violation of that rule.

  6. #6
    PerScientiam AdJustitiam bankside's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Proposition: any time wealth is created, it was created by someone's effort; wealth cannot come into existence without such effort.


    We speak of unearned income: Medicaid, food stamps, welfare both personal and corporate. But someone had to earn that income, or it wouldn't exist for it to be transferred.

    That word "transferred" is a bit of a giveaway -- it's a misnomer, a way of saying "we took it from those who earned it and gave it to someone else". Of course there's no way to have government without doing some of that, but we make accusations of people being "undeserving" of the income bestowed on them -- and those we complain about are always the needy ones, those who have minimal means to support themselves.

    But the greatest unearned income in the world is that of money sucking in -- they call it "earning" -- other money, merely by being there. All sorts of excuses are made, such as that people buying stock are enabling production (a lie), but in the end it's just money being handed to some people for no other reason than that those people already have a lot.

    When the money handed over is a government check, today's "conservatives" like to call it theft. In essence, it is, but if that is theft, then so is the unearned income sucked up by the wealthy without them doing any work at all.

    The question, then, is who actually earned that money -- who did the work for it to happen. And the next question is how to set that theft right.



    Discuss.
    Wealth is created by someone's effort, but it may also be created by someone's non-effort. In other words, it may be created by the use of someone's capital by someone else. If you tend a garden and grow vegetables and package them for sale, you've made an effort that creates tradable wealth. If you can't get the vegetables to market, I own a wheelbarrow you can use, without which that wealth would be lost. Or diminished, based on the limit of what you can carry. I've done nothing except own the wheelbarrow, yet its existence makes the market function better so that wealth is conserved, distributed more equitably and thus more profitably. (Without it your immediate neighbours would tire of buying your vegetables, they'd pile up, and your distant neighbours would scrimp with a few old carrots.) Thus the wheel barrow is as much a real input to procure our wealth as is your labour in the garden.

    This doesn't change your equation; someone's mental effort a long time ago to design the wheelbarrow, and their one-time effort in making it, has created a device that pays continuing dividends to the gardener. But it is necessary to point out that wealth can take the form of something other than labour, and it can be owned by someone other than the person doing the labour. And also to emphasize the concept of capital assets being contributors to wealth.

    Beyond just labour and capital assets, markets are contributors to wealth, because they enable the efficient exchange of things you have but don't want for things you don't have but want.

    A market is also the creation of someone's effort: primarily that of Adam Smith, and the other thinkers, philosophers, economists, and merchants of the Enlightenment. The idea of the open market continues to pay dividends and create, preserve and distribute wealth in a way which power our prosperity to this very day. Smith or his direct heirs see no special benefit from this brilliant idea; in polite company it was bequeathed to us all, or at least stolen by us all for our own benefit with no commission going to Smith.

    Or was it? With just an idea, nothing would have happened and Smith would be forgotten. But with all of us bringing that idea to life, Smith's idea gained value. This it is our efforts that bring the idea of the open market to life, and from which we are justly entitled to a benefit.

    Incidentally, people buying stock enable production. If I buy stock in a new company making harvesting equipment in a new factory, you would be well pleased by the toil saved and motivated to trade with me for the tools. If some speculative investor comes along and offers me double what I put into it, he also enables production. At first, to justify his purchase costs, he ups the cost of equipment and creates a hardship for your farm and forces you to charge more for your vegetables, which displeases you and your customers. But then I've doubled my money, and I invest in a supermarket and a paving company and soon your vegetables are selling so fast you're looking to plant more fields. By now the cost of equipment is in perspective again, and we're all making so much money that we can hire truly obscure pointless positions like "marketing researchers" and "lifestyle analysts" and "professors of agronomy."

    Except they're able to tell us that artichokes grow just as well as onions and there is enough demand for me to convert half my shelf space from onions to artichokes, and their abstract and intangible efforts, and the investor's money, and Adam Smith have all given us more wealth.

    But there is one other precondition for the open market to work: a stable society. We all inherit a share in that society by the act of being born. And to the extent that we contribute as members of society, we are justly entitled to a dividend from its wealth, just as surely as I am entitled to a return on my wheel barrow when you use it to take the onions to market. That is the basis for our just use of social amenities; public education, public health care, public lots of stuff: we own the wealth that arises from our being born into a stable society. It is our own wealth that pays for this stuff.
    Last edited by bankside; October 7th, 2013 at 07:56 AM.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

  7. #7
    Virtus in medio stat JUB Admin opinterph's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Pointing out the inconsistencies or changes in another's ides would not seem to be a violation of that rule.
    Members are not required to advocate the same position from thread to thread. Each discussion stands on its own. Attempting to argue the opposing viewpoint can also provide beneficial insight.

  8. #8
    CE&P Secret Police xbuzzerx's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    When a person who accrued frequent flyer miles has earned enough for a free round-trip ticket to Singapore, where did that 'unearned income' come from?

    And when the person actually cashes in and uses that free flight, where has the value gone?

    Likewise, what about unused values of gift cards? Could we not call that unearned income as well?

  9. #9
    PerScientiam AdJustitiam bankside's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    When a person who accrued frequent flyer miles has earned enough for a free round-trip ticket to Singapore, where did that 'unearned income' come from?

    And when the person actually cashes in and uses that free flight, where has the value gone?

    Likewise, what about unused values of gift cards? Could we not call that unearned income as well?
    That's just a purchase with deferred delivery. Basically frequent flyer points are a layaway option for flight.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

  10. #10
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    That's just a purchase with deferred delivery.
    But a large number of gift cards are never used whatsoever.

  11. #11

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Members are not required to advocate the same position from thread to thread. Each discussion stands on its own. Attempting to argue the opposing viewpoint can also provide beneficial insight.
    But, is it violation to point out the change or inconsistency? Cannot that also provide a beneficial insight.

  12. #12
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    But a large number of gift cards are never used whatsoever.
    An even larger number of gift cards are literally thrown away because they have only a few cents left on them.
    Those few cents add up to millions of FREE dollars for the one issuing the gift card. They actually count on you not using every cent of that gift card. Millions of gift cards are trashed every year because they have only 25 cents or 50 cents left on them...that's FREE MONEY to the card issuer.

  13. #13

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Anyone who saves money to start a business, employ others and make a profit is necessarily receiving money he did not earn, and yes, he is profiting from the work of others. But the alternative is government ownership, and then the bureaucrats live off the labor of others.

  14. #14
    PerScientiam AdJustitiam bankside's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Anyone who saves money to start a business, employ others and make a profit is necessarily receiving money he did not earn, and yes, he is profiting from the work of others. But the alternative is government ownership, and then the bureaucrats live off the labor of others.
    Well my point is, someone who labours without owning capital is profiting from the capital of others, so it's a fair trade.


    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    But the alternative is government ownership, and then the bureaucrats live off the labor of others.
    No, there is really no difference in a manager reporting to the shareholders through their appointed Board, or a bureaucrat reporting to the electorate through their appointed Government. Bureaucrats, like managers, contribute something of value in exchange for their paycheques.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

  15. #15
    PerScientiam AdJustitiam bankside's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    But a large number of gift cards are never used whatsoever.
    True, but I can buy something and then throw it away. Arguably this weakens the economy, but I can still do it. If I don't claim my points or freebies or whatever, arguably nothing is lost from the economy either. I just failed to follow through on an exchange I could rightfully claim.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

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    CE&P Secret Police xbuzzerx's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    True, but I can buy something and then throw it away. Arguably this weakens the economy, but I can still do it. If I don't claim my points or freebies or whatever, arguably nothing is lost from the economy either. I just failed to follow through on an exchange I could rightfully claim.
    That's true, but at the same time, extra goods were not created "in case you came into the store with your gift card." If you do not redeem the gift card, it was simply a transfer of money to the corporation for which they did not need to part with any labor or goods.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    But, is it violation to point out the change or inconsistency? Cannot that also provide a beneficial insight.
    Beneficial insight about what, exactly?

  18. #18
    Virtus in medio stat JUB Admin opinterph's Avatar
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    employ others and make a profit is necessarily receiving money he did not earn,
    Operating a business involves labor by the person(s) doing the operating, which by most definitions is a source of earned income.

  19. #19
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Anyone who saves money to start a business, employ others and make a profit is necessarily receiving money he did not earn, and yes, he is profiting from the work of others. But the alternative is government ownership, and then the bureaucrats live off the labor of others.
    Dagny Taggart disapproves this.

  20. #20

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Beneficial insight about what, exactly?
    Pointing out the inconsistency may assist the individual and others to clarify or alter one of the positions, arriving at a more valid and thoughtful position.

  21. #21
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Members are not required to advocate the same position from thread to thread. Each discussion stands on its own. Attempting to argue the opposing viewpoint can also provide beneficial insight.
    Exactly -- members are not required to always state their own opinions on a topic.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  22. #22

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    Operating a business involves labor by the person(s) doing the operating, which by most definitions is a source of earned income.
    Yes, but part of the profit is a return on invested capital.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Pointing out the inconsistency may assist the individual and others to clarify or alter one of the positions, arriving at a more valid and thoughtful position.
    Then again perhaps the appearance of inconsistency reflects complex thought and looking at a specific topic within its specific circumstances instead of merely repeating the same one line on every topic.

  24. #24
    Bammer's Papa
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Anyone who saves money to start a business, employ others and make a profit is necessarily receiving money he did not earn, and yes, he is profiting from the work of others. But the alternative is government ownership, and then the bureaucrats live off the labor of others.
    False dichotomy.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Pointing out the inconsistency may assist the individual and others to clarify or alter one of the positions, arriving at a more valid and thoughtful position.
    And it is hijacking the discussion toward the person, rather than discussing the topic they have presented for consideration. We should assume that the individual and others are cognizant enough to form their own conclusions through the process of discussing the topic.

  26. #26
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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    Pointing out the inconsistency may assist the individual and others to clarify or alter one of the positions, arriving at a more valid and thoughtful position.
    Yes -- but Jack didn't do that; he just threw labels around.

    Here's how you "point out an inconsistency":

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Wealth is created by someone's effort, but it may also be created by someone's non-effort. In other words, it may be created by the use of someone's capital by someone else. If you tend a garden and grow vegetables and package them for sale, you've made an effort that creates tradable wealth. If you can't get the vegetables to market, I own a wheelbarrow you can use, without which that wealth would be lost. Or diminished, based on the limit of what you can carry. I've done nothing except own the wheelbarrow, yet its existence makes the market function better so that wealth is conserved, distributed more equitably and thus more profitably. (Without it your immediate neighbours would tire of buying your vegetables, they'd pile up, and your distant neighbours would scrimp with a few old carrots.) Thus the wheel barrow is as much a real input to procure our wealth as is your labour in the garden.

    This doesn't change your equation; someone's mental effort a long time ago to design the wheelbarrow, and their one-time effort in making it, has created a device that pays continuing dividends to the gardener. But it is necessary to point out that wealth can take the form of something other than labour, and it can be owned by someone other than the person doing the labour. And also to emphasize the concept of capital assets being contributors to wealth.

    Beyond just labour and capital assets, markets are contributors to wealth, because they enable the efficient exchange of things you have but don't want for things you don't have but want.

    A market is also the creation of someone's effort: primarily that of Adam Smith, and the other thinkers, philosophers, economists, and merchants of the Enlightenment. The idea of the open market continues to pay dividends and create, preserve and distribute wealth in a way which power our prosperity to this very day. Smith or his direct heirs see no special benefit from this brilliant idea; in polite company it was bequeathed to us all, or at least stolen by us all for our own benefit with no commission going to Smith.

    Or was it? With just an idea, nothing would have happened and Smith would be forgotten. But with all of us bringing that idea to life, Smith's idea gained value. This it is our efforts that bring the idea of the open market to life, and from which we are justly entitled to a benefit.

    Incidentally, people buying stock enable production. If I buy stock in a new company making harvesting equipment in a new factory, you would be well pleased by the toil saved and motivated to trade with me for the tools. If some speculative investor comes along and offers me double what I put into it, he also enables production. At first, to justify his purchase costs, he ups the cost of equipment and creates a hardship for your farm and forces you to charge more for your vegetables, which displeases you and your customers. But then I've doubled my money, and I invest in a supermarket and a paving company and soon your vegetables are selling so fast you're looking to plant more fields. By now the cost of equipment is in perspective again, and we're all making so much money that we can hire truly obscure pointless positions like "marketing researchers" and "lifestyle analysts" and "professors of agronomy."

    Except they're able to tell us that artichokes grow just as well as onions and there is enough demand for me to convert half my shelf space from onions to artichokes, and their abstract and intangible efforts, and the investor's money, and Adam Smith have all given us more wealth.

    But there is one other precondition for the open market to work: a stable society. We all inherit a share in that society by the act of being born. And to the extent that we contribute as members of society, we are justly entitled to a dividend from its wealth, just as surely as I am entitled to a return on my wheel barrow when you use it to take the onions to market. That is the basis for our just use of social amenities; public education, public health care, public lots of stuff: we own the wealth that arises from our being born into a stable society. It is our own wealth that pays for this stuff.
    Just a few points:

    1. Did you actually mean to equate labor and wealth?
    2. This seems to indicate it all comes back to labor.
    3. It's plain that any purchase of stock in an initial offering serves to enable the creation of wealth, but I don't see that any later purchaser has done so -- the company already has its capital, and it gets nothing from the new purchase of stock someone else already owns.
    4. I think this follows from both my original premise and your argument. I've seen it called synergy, the sort of intangible result of us all working together, income for which doesn't come to us but accrues to the providers of capital, not due to any effort of theirs but just because that's how the system is structured.

    BTW, speaking of "a dividend from its wealth" points to the reason Benvolio's claim is a false dichotomy.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    That's true, but at the same time, extra goods were not created "in case you came into the store with your gift card." If you do not redeem the gift card, it was simply a transfer of money to the corporation for which they did not need to part with any labor or goods.
    Meh. I can't get too worked up about it. If I tip 20% or 30% at a restaurant, it's hard to say I've followed a precisely calibrated rational cost-benefit analysis that recognises the exact value of services received. Maybe the service wasn't really so spectacular that 30% was truly earned and I left an extra 10% on the table for no reason.

    Interesting note, in Alberta it is illegal for gift cards to expire. You can grab one from 2005 and still use it.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Meh. I can't get too worked up about it. If I tip 20% or 30% at a restaurant, it's hard to say I've followed a precisely calibrated rational cost-benefit analysis that recognises the exact value of services received. Maybe the service wasn't really so spectacular that 30% was truly earned and I left an extra 10% on the table for no reason.

    Interesting note, in Alberta it is illegal for gift cards to expire. You can grab one from 2005 and still use it.
    My point is, if a given corporation's stock increases by x% each year from the revenue of unredeemed gift cards, however small that increase might be, is that not unearned income?

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    Then again perhaps the appearance of inconsistency reflects complex thought and looking at a specific topic within its specific circumstances instead of merely repeating the same one line on every topic.
    Stop that -- you might make people think!

    Actually, if one wished to wade through my posting history, I think it would become evident that when I start a thread with a strongly-stated position and then say "Discuss", there's no way to tell if it's my opinion or not. At the same time, I've found that it has a tendency to point out which other posters are bothering to think.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    My point is, if a given corporation's stock increases by x% each year from the revenue of unredeemed gift cards, however small that increase might be, is that not unearned income?
    By definition, yes. It could be argued, though, that so is an "extra" tip -- though in the case of the tip, at least it was a reward for labor.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  31. #31

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    False dichotomy.
    No, any privately owned business with emploees will involve some element of return on capital. The alternative is government ownership.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    If a bank robber successfully robs a Bank Of America branch then is that considered unearned income? In short, is their a legal aspect to the definition? Looking in IRS code, their could be an unearned aspect to illegally obtained income. I give this example because it is unquestionably in the illegal arena as opposed to "profits from a marijuana dispensary" which is sometimes "grey income".
    Your post comments are forwarded to the CIA.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    No, any privately owned business with emploees will involve some element of return on capital. The alternative is government ownership.
    A government decides a certain business -- let's say, one lifting passengers into orbit to a space station -- needs to exist. They vote money to get such a company established, and lo! it succeeds.

    Are you claiming that because government is involved, there's no return on capital?

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by cgymike View Post
    If a bank robber successfully robs a Bank Of America branch then is that considered unearned income? In short, is their a legal aspect to the definition? Looking in IRS code, their could be an unearned aspect to illegally obtained income. I give this example because it is unquestionably in the illegal arena as opposed to "profits from a marijuana dispensary" which is sometimes "grey income".
    LOL

    Well, the robber certainly engaged in labor to obtain the money!

    And the IRS does in fact require you to report all income -- whether the source is legal or not.


    edit: you do actually raise a serious issue. There's a fine line between what we consider criminal income and what we consider legal income, and that line is set not by the people, or by rational effort, but by those in power. The location of that line is thus suspect.
    Last edited by Kulindahr; October 7th, 2013 at 11:50 AM.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Yes -- but Jack didn't do that; he just threw labels around.

    Here's how you "point out an inconsistency":



    Just a few points:

    1. Did you actually mean to equate labor and wealth?
    Sure. Wealth = effort = labour. I don't think I disagree with your equation. To me, effort and labour are synonyms. I just wanted to point out that labour can be embodied in an object or asset or even in a concept. It is insufficient to define labour as "someone in the act of doing something at the moment."
    2. This seems to indicate it all comes back to labor.
    3. It's plain that any purchase of stock in an initial offering serves to enable the creation of wealth, but I don't see that any later purchaser has done so -- the company already has its capital, and it gets nothing from the new purchase of stock someone else already owns.
    Allocating capital efficiently is necessary to stockpile more wealth. If I make something, I should be able to sell it. But if I buy something I should be able to sell it too. I might double my money. This could be due to inflation, or it could be that the reason I bought it is because I had a better idea of what to do with it than the original owner. If I can put an asset to better use, I've done a good thing for the economy and our mutual prosperity. The wheelbarrow might better be used to dump concrete down the holes of footings for a greenhouse than in carting vegetables to market. I'd buy the wheelbarrow knowing that, knock the dirt off, sell it at a profit, and thus the wheelbarrow would end up performing a better function in the economy. My profit is based on the skill of realizing it should really be in the hands of the builder instead of the farmer, and the effort of making it happen.
    4. I think this follows from both my original premise and your argument. I've seen it called synergy, the sort of intangible result of us all working together, income for which doesn't come to us but accrues to the providers of capital, not due to any effort of theirs but just because that's how the system is structured.
    To me this is just a question of distribution. In my mind it is clear to me that there are social goods to which we are all entitled. And we are entitled to a dividend from them. English contract law prevents the kind of chaos that comes from having to bribe officials for permission to do business in other countries. We've both inherited this historical reality in our current institutions, as have a handful of other countries around the world. We live in places with public sanitation and methods of dealing with sewage that prevent outbreaks of cholera. We were born to those advantages, both of us largely maintain that status quo and benefit from it, and more to the point, we can't contract to buy the advantage from the other. We have a permanent share, that we can't sell, and which pays dividends. What is often in question is what the payout rate of the dividend should be, or the labour rate required to prevent it from depreciating. If a wave of cholera was sweeping across the continent, and every adult was legally obliged to go spend a day digging a sewage ditch and monitoring the quarantine posts, the payoff for that obligation would be obvious when our frontier hygiene system stopped the advance of the disease. But it would quickly evolve into a modern economy. Someone with a bad back would skip the digging in exchange for the obligation of making sandwiches for the excavators. Someone making the shovels would be exempted but would have to provide some shovels at cost in exchange for getting out of digging duties. Eventually people would see the sense of having someone else stay out of the ditches to coordinate the whole thing. Now we have specialisation and trade.
    BTW, speaking of "a dividend from its wealth" points to the reason Benvolio's claim is a false dichotomy.
    My thoughts are above.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    2^Yep...US Treasury wants their "cut"...especially these days......

    IRS "accepting payments" through the shutdown...
    LOL
    Your post comments are forwarded to the CIA.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post

    3. It's plain that any purchase of stock in an initial offering serves to enable the creation of wealth, but I don't see that any later purchaser has done so -- the company already has its capital, and it gets nothing from the new purchase of stock someone else already owns.
    Allocating capital efficiently is necessary to stockpile more wealth. If I make something, I should be able to sell it. But if I buy something I should be able to sell it too. I might double my money. This could be due to inflation, or it could be that the reason I bought it is because I had a better idea of what to do with it than the original owner. If I can put an asset to better use, I've done a good thing for the economy and our mutual prosperity. The wheelbarrow might better be used to dump concrete down the holes of footings for a greenhouse than in carting vegetables to market. I'd buy the wheelbarrow knowing that, knock the dirt off, sell it at a profit, and thus the wheelbarrow would end up performing a better function in the economy. My profit is based on the skill of realizing it should really be in the hands of the builder instead of the farmer, and the effort of making it happen.

    My
    thoughts are above.
    In that idealized version, I see your point. But by far most trading in stock has nothing to do with that sort of thing. I think you're falling into the same fallacy Friedman did, extending the small to the large and assuming the parameters don't change. A free market of shopkeepers is not the same as a capitalist market, and a purchase of a wheelbarrow is not the same as a purchase of stock.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    I do find it interesting (this is a bit of an aside) that people tend to denounce the concept of unearned income when, in almost any office or workplace discussion of "free/liquid money", you'll hear people use the same phrase... something along the lines of "you have to make that money work for you." And it's quite accurate, because when I put money into a 12 month CD, I'm not doing a single thing to earn any of the profit generated off it... other than the fact that I had the money and the leisure to place it somewhere.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post

    1. Did you actually mean to equate labor and wealth?
    Sure. Wealth = effort = labour. I don't think I disagree with your equation. To me, effort and labour are synonyms. I just wanted to point out that labour can be embodied in an object or asset or even in a concept. It is insufficient to define labour as "someone in the act of doing something at the moment."

    My
    thoughts are above.
    I can see the extension of the definition of labor, but I don't see equating it with wealth. OTOH, it's been said that the actual unit of currency in the western world these days is the minimum wage, and dollars are just expressions of that unit of labor-value.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Well, I'd not lose sight of the ideal as we consider the reality. And I do not think the scale really changes anything. I hang a fair bit of my analysis and my goals for society on this part:

    What is often in question is what the payout rate of the dividend should be, or the labour rate required to prevent it from depreciating.
    I think our societies are vast, wealthy, and that they contain assets (physical, legal, intellectual) that contribute incredibly to the individual prosperity of those within it, and to the accumulation of even more of those social assets, and that the whole thing is owned by anyone born into that society.

    I also think that we underestimate the value of those assets, and we give their advantages far too freely to private individuals without exacting a sufficient return. I think that improved equality will come from two things:
    1) valuing those Assets of the Commons much higher and extracting a higher dividend on behalf of every individual whenever a private company uses them to generate profits of its own, and
    2) valuing our own labour much higher when we participate in the private economy by negotiating for higher wages or joining unions that will. There is every reason for some people to earn more than others in a free economy. But there is no reason for most people to undervalue the work they do by probably an order of magnitude.
    Americans need to keep their guns so they can protect themselves from gun violence just like Nancy Lanza did. And like Chris Kyle did. And like Gabby Giffords did. And like Tom Clements did. And like Michael Piemonte. And Joseph Wilcox.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post

    4. I think this follows from both my original premise and your argument. I've seen it called synergy, the sort of intangible result of us all working together, income for which doesn't come to us but accrues to the providers of capital, not due to any effort of theirs but just because that's how the system is structured.
    To me this is just a question of distribution. In my mind it is clear to me that there are social goods to which we are all entitled. And we are entitled to a dividend from them.

    My
    thoughts are above.
    The key question here would be what the bass of that entitlement is. I can go with the synergy idea -- which, BTW, is espoused by Elizabeth Warren albeit a bit sloppily -- because it recognizes that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, i.e. there is wealth produced by the fact that we all work together that doesn't accrue to any of those workers individually. That wealth has to appear somewhere, and the way our system is set up, it appears in the returns on capital.

    From that point I think argument could be made that, for example, the Waltons of Walmart are actually stealing from their workers, since they live in luxury while performing no actual labor while their workers tend to be destitute, but also that a tax on purely financial transactions to provide for basic needs for everyone is legitimate, because it takes the wealth produced by synergy and delivers it back to everyone. It serves also as a benefit to the production of wealth, because those with secure housing and good health are more productive.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  42. #42

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    A government decides a certain business -- let's say, one lifting passengers into orbit to a space station -- needs to exist. They vote money to get such a company established, and lo! it succeeds.

    Are you claiming that because government is involved, there's no return on capital?
    No, the point is that some element of unearned income from invested capital is an unavoidable contribution to employment and production, and cannot be equated with theft, which was your original point.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Well, I'd not lose sight of the ideal as we consider the reality. And I do not think the scale really changes anything. I hang a fair bit of my analysis and my goals for society on this part:



    I think our societies are vast, wealthy, and that they contain assets (physical, legal, intellectual) that contribute incredibly to the individual prosperity of those within it, and to the accumulation of even more of those social assets, and that the whole thing is owned by anyone born into that society.

    I also think that we underestimate the value of those assets, and we give their advantages far too freely to private individuals without exacting a sufficient return. I think that improved equality will come from two things:
    1) valuing those Assets of the Commons much higher and extracting a higher dividend on behalf of every individual whenever a private company uses them to generate profits of its own, and
    2) valuing our own labour much higher when we participate in the private economy by negotiating for higher wages or joining unions that will. There is every reason for some people to earn more than others in a free economy. But there is no reason for most people to undervalue the work they do by probably an order of magnitude.
    When you begin talking about the Assets of the Commons, a whole new issue arises, namely the concept of private property -- but let's not go there in this thread.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    No, the point is that some element of unearned income from invested capital is an unavoidable contribution to employment and production, and cannot be equated with theft, which was your original point.
    Now you're totally moved away from your claim about government. You haven't made any effort to show that you didn't engage in a false dichotomy.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

  45. #45

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Now you're totally moved away from your claim about government. You haven't made any effort to show that you didn't engage in a false dichotomy.
    You have not shown any false dichotomy, but have only made the assertion.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    You have not shown any false dichotomy, but have only made the assertion.
    Since you have forgotten your own statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    No, any privately owned business with emploees will involve some element of return on capital. The alternative is government ownership.
    This clearly indicates your belief that only fully private business returns on capital, and the alternative is government ownership.

  47. #47

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    Since you have forgotten your own statement:



    This clearly indicates your belief that only fully private business returns on capital, and the alternative is government ownership.
    .?? You have omitted some words.

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by Benvolio View Post
    .?? You have omitted some words.
    I did not alter your quote if that is what you are saying.

  49. #49

    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    Since you have forgotten your own statement:



    This clearly indicates your belief that only fully private business returns on capital, and the alternative is government ownership.
    I do not understand the last sentence.
    Mine would only be a false dichotomy if a meaningful third alternative were shown between private and government ownership, and it would only be meaningful if it did not involve some element of " unearned income".

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    Re: There is no such thing as unearned income

    Quote Originally Posted by xbuzzerx View Post
    Since you have forgotten your own statement:



    This clearly indicates your belief that only fully private business returns on capital, and the alternative is government ownership.
    It also shows the false dichotomy that things can only be owned by private business or by government.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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