On Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 3:18 AM, Telmo Menezes <te...@telmomenezes.com>wrote:

> Furthermore, her point is that competition in a free market actually
> helps everybody -- by providing better goods and services at lower
> prices -- while redistribution of money based on violence does not,
> and is in fact generally a con used by politicians to extract even
> more money from the population.
> The ineffectiveness of wealth redistribution through taxation is not
> such a crazy idea. Compare this graph:
> http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7373
> with this one:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_Unite...
This graph isn't all that informative because it doesn't break down what
the per capita government spending was actually on--if you look at the
graph at the per capita federal spending at
can see that it rose more consistently under George W. Bush than under
Clinton or Obama, given Bush's policies it seems unlikely that most of that
rise was primarily due to "redistribution" to help the poorer segment of
the population. I wonder if military spending is included in this per
capita graph. It also seems likely that increases in health care spending
play a big part, you can see from the chart at
http://www.usfederalbudget.us/federal_budget_detail_fy13bs12012n that it's
a very large slice of the budget pie (note that this graph is for 2012, so
obviously pre-Obamacare). And this has a lot to do with the fact that U.S.
health care costs have been rising much faster than other Western
democracies, whose more "socialized" programs are a lot more efficient at
keeping costs down--just look at the graphs
it's rather incredible how much more we pay for the same procedures in
the U.S.! A major reason for this difference, as explained starting at 4:53
in the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSjGouBmo0M , is that with
single-payer systems the government can offer huge contracts for medical
devices (he uses the example of artificial hips), drugs, etc., and
different companies try to aggressively underbid one another to get these
giant contracts, whereas in the U.S. this doesn't happen and the prices the
same companies charge for exactly the same devices/drugs tend to be much
higher (except with medicare, which as he points out "always gets the
lowest prices").

Anyway, the basic point here is that it would be much more informative to
look not at the effects of overall per capita spending, but more
specifically at the effects of more per capita spending on "social"
programs like welfare, education, job training, etc. If we compare across
countries, we do see that the more social-democratic countries of Western
Europe, where social spending per capita is much higher, do in fact have
lower levels of inequality, higher economic mobility, and better health and
even life expectancy than in the US (and within Europe, countries that
spend more like the Scandinavian countries do better than the UK, which
since Thatcher has been somewhat closer to the US model). Look at the
graphs towards the bottom of this article by historian Tony Judt:


And you can also see in the graphs in this article that income inequality
was dropping fairly consistently the U.S. during the postwar years of
higher taxes, more economic regulation, and increasing social
spending...then inequality began rising again around 1980 when Reagan took
office and the idea of tax-cuts, deregulation, and cutting social programs
became more popular:




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