Once again, the argument is made that we should not provide universal
– whatever – because higher income folks can afford to pay for it
If we have a public service, like public schools, or public
healthcare for all, or even public childcare for all – it should be open
to all members of the public, and we should not create a separate CLASS
of people, who are stigmatized, since they qualify for a public service
– just because they are poor. Should they be made to wear a green star?
Walk on the other side of the street? Keep their gaze averted from
ours? Many proud families would refuse to apply for such “aid”, rather
than be classified as the bottom dwellers of society.
With a fair, progressive tax system, the wealthy would pay a higher
percentage of taxes, and more taxes, and should be included in every
public program, because they are supporters, often even more equal
supporters of these public efforts.
In practice, the very rich will probably not need these public
programs, and instead, will avail themselves of very expensive programs
of their own making. But that is on them. Should we means test public
parks, highways and establish drinking fountains for the poor, free, and
the rest of us, 25 cents.
Taking the middle class out of public programs, insures that a
so-called lower class (less income, but not necessarily dumber or less
moral) doesn’t feel equal to other Americans, and becomes isolated from
the middle class to which it aspires.
Any means-testing destroys the ideals of a public good, and replaces
it with some humiliating charity from political “benefactors.”
The regressive benefits now delivered from Social Security are
another example of so-called means-testing, where upper middle class
earners are starkly penalized with lower percentages of overall benefits
and the lowest earners receive three or four times the benefit
percentage. Such a charity approach loses support for a pension program
because it has been converted to a part welfare system. The solution
here is a fair basic Soc Sec benefit, supplemented by a pension based
purely on wages earned and FICA taxes paid. And means-testing Medicaid,
instead of us offering universal Medicare, forces families to “spend
down” nearly all their grandparent’s assets, just to enter a nursing
home, and they are then at very bottom of the income ladder.
In the same vein, one of the great mistakes of Obamacare is its extra
help to the poor and its sliding scale of subsidies. The goal should be
“free” all the way up to the top, and at the same time, fair
progressive taxes all the way to the top to pay to make public programs
available to all who want them.
You cannot justify an economic system that charges you more taxes and
excludes you from public programs, but what we are doing is charging
some people for public programs, instead of taxing them, which only
saves them on other taxes by not using the public programs. If we taxed
them to make these programs open to all – they would be paying for them –
and probably not using them. Meanwhile the poor and middle class would
not be second-class citizens, “getting something” extra from the
Labels: FICA, means-test, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, welfare