Debate: What To Do About Poverty | Learn Liberty

Debate: What To Do About Poverty | Learn Liberty


[Movie clip, The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006,
Columbia Pictures] WILL SMITH: I remember that day, because that’s
the day that I found out there was only $21.33 left in my bank account. I was broke. [Door rattles.] [End clip] BRANDON TURNER: So a fairly moving depiction
of what poverty looks like in that clip. And so I’ll start off with Professor Horwitz.
Do we have an obligation to alleviate poverty, and how do we do that? STEVEN HORWITZ: Yeah, and I want to make one
quick point about that clip, two related points. One, we don’t know, from that clip, why
Will Smith’s character’s in that situation, which I think is an interesting question.
I’d also note that, sort of, as we think about getting libertarian messages across,
we need more clips with that kind of emotional power, right? That sort of depict the ways
in which people can be wronged by forces outside their control sometimes. So I think one of things that we want to say
about that—I want to say about that is, look, if the question is how do we alleviate,
how do we fix inequality—and really I think what we’re really talking is how to alleviate
poverty—is the question how do we bring people up? I think one of things that we can
do is to focus on the ways in which governments sets barriers in front of the opportunities
for poor people to make themselves wealthier. So if I could wave my magic wand, I think
I’d do four things, four changes I would want to see that would, I think, help address
this. One, we need to end the war on drugs, which
is destroying poor neighborhoods, particularly urban neighborhoods as well as rural ones,
as well as all the other terrible things that the war on drugs does. But certainly it has
decimated neighborhoods and made them uninhabitable and discouraged businesses from operating
there and providing work. Second, we need to get rid of the minimum wage, which has
knocked off the lowest rungs of the economic ladder for millions of Americans, again, particularly
the lowest-skilled and those who need entry into the job market the most. Relatedly, third,
occupational licensure laws that make it more difficult—often at the behest of incumbent,
wealthier producers of products—to set up barriers to entry to poor people who want
to open, whether it’s anything from a hair braiding shop to whatever, up to driving a
cab, to whatever else it might be, that those opportunities are being closed off to them.
And finally, something I mentioned earlier, I think one of the most important things we
can do is we have to get more competition into the schooling system. Urban and rural—I
live in the rural area, and I can tell you many of the public schools there are just
as bad as the same ones we see in urban areas. Government has failed at providing effective
schooling for poor people. We need alternatives. We need competition. We need choice to find
ways to help poor folks get the human capital they need to try to avoid the kind of the
situations we see in that clip. JEFFREY REIMAN: I agree with most of that.
I certainly think that the war on drugs is a disaster. I certainly think that it’s
good to get more competition into schooling. I think so far the results of that are mixed.
I don’t think it’s an obvious panacea that’s going to solve all these problems.
There may yet be other things that have to be taken. About the licensure laws, I’m
actually kind of libertarian. I don’t even like the fact that I have to get a prescription
from a doctor to get a medication. I’m a grown-up with a PhD. I know the difference
between poison and—. TURNER: You’re already a doctor. REIMAN: That’s right. I’m already a doctor.
You would think, you know, I can marry people, you would think I can—as a philosopher.
Anyway, so I’m opposed to that. The minimum wage, I think, is a more complicated question.
The economic studies that I have looked at or heard of suggest that the reduction in
unemployment because of that is very small and eventually made up for by the fact that
there is more money in the economy and therefore more demand. I don’t think it’s obvious
that this is a negative thing, but maybe it is; I’m open on the empirical question.
The thing I just want to insist on is, when you look at this picture, don’t think about
Will Smith; think about that kid, okay? Why Will Smith got poor is maybe his problem.
Maybe he deserves it. Maybe he’s a crook. Maybe he’s stupid. Maybe he was lazy. The
kid doesn’t deserve it. That’s where our real obligation comes. TURNER: So let me put a question to you, Professor
Horwitz. Is there a role for government to play in the alleviation of poverty, ideally?
So, in other words, sort of, for writing up a treatise on political philosophy, what role
does government play in alleviating the plight of the least well off? And then, attached
to that, is there a role for the government to play in 2012 America? So this particular
government—is there a role that it can play—a positive role it can play? HORWITZ: A couple of things. I mean, I think
that we can imagine a world, perhaps, where the role of government is minimal. And this
is a point that of course libertarians have disagreed on. We have from more anarchist
ones at one end who think that all of those services can be provided through the market
or through civil society organizations—synagogues, and churches, and mutual aid societies, and
all that—to classical liberal types who would argue that government perhaps has a
role to provide something like a minimum income floor or the like. I think those are all within
bounds as a kind of libertarian position on what the role of government should be. So, again, if we’re going to write up that
treatise on political economy, I think it depends upon—differences among libertarians
will play themselves out in how they see that. We can have Rothbard kind of on one end and
Hayek on another, and those are all in play. So, do we need government to solve those problems?
I’d like to think we can do with the least government possible to solve those problems.
For me, the most interesting question is, let’s see what happens when we get government
out of the way, and see how well people do, and see what we’re left with as a real problem
of poverty. And then think about what kind of ways there are to deal with it. In the world we exist in today, I think we
are in a more complicated situation. We can see the ways in which opportunities for poor
people are restricted by the kinds of things that I talked about before. And at some level
one could argue, if government’s going to restrict those opportunities, then perhaps
it has an obligation to sort of fix what it’s destroying on the other half. I certainly
think it’s really important when we think about these questions from a libertarian perspective
to not take away the safety nets before we create the additional opportunities. The right
way to go about this is: create the additional opportunities by getting government out of
the way in the ways I talked about. Then, once we give folks the opportunity to pull
themselves up, then let’s start to talk about how much of that so-called safety net or—whether
it’s a safety net or straight jacket’s not clear—how much of that that we can live
without. And I think that’s the right way to go at it from a libertarian perspective.
That might not be a direct answer to your question, but as libertarians think about
these issues of inequality and poverty, that’s one way to go at it. TURNER: So let me twist the screws a bit with
you Professor Reiman. So, on the one hand, right, we’ve got some very large, sort of
government-led, causes of poverty, right? The rich have a tendency once they have climbed
the ladder to pull the ladder up behind them, right? It’s this image that we have. And
so we have got government programs like the war on drugs, like the—we have a series
of wars that we’re engaged in, right, all of which tend to disproportionately affect
the least well off. So in other words, libertarians have done a lot of work in terms of trying
to describe the ways in which the rich to tend to seize the mechanisms involved with
government through the things like professional licensure and these sort of things. Do you
see the power of those arguments? Do you see the weight of those arguments? REIMAN: Sure. TURNER: In other words, is there a way to
say, maybe to rephrase something Dr. Horwitz said in the last session, where, government
is the problem, government is the solution? REIMAN: Well, I don’t believe government
is the only problem, because I think other things, like discrimination, are problems
too. And the government doesn’t make that happen. But I am certainly sympathetic to
the idea that there are restrictive licensing rules, that people with power try to cut off
access to competition from other people, and that we should eliminate those things. Where
that can be demonstrated, they will have my vote. I am very dubious about the idea that we can
eliminate government here. I mean here’s one thing: Steve talks about charitable organizations,
mutual aid, and so on. This is something that’s always surprised me about libertarians, because
after all, if you say that this is charity, then you make the recipient—in a certain
sense—is diminished. That person receives the free charity of other people who are better
off. If I’m right and inequality or some degree of inequality is a matter of justice,
then it shouldn’t be rectified by charity. Charity means I give freely what I have out
of my generosity. Justice means I give what I owe, what people have a right to, and that
I believe treats people with greater dignity than charity. Now that’s not to say that
welfare programs treat people with greater dignity. It’s to say that the idea that
you do it by law, that you say these people have a right, treats them with dignity. And
of course you should follow through on that. So, you know, I’m skeptical of the idea
that we can do this without that. And if you asked me what we should do now. Well, I would
love to see Obama’s proposal for encouraging preschool education. The French have a terrific
preschool system. It’s government funded, okay? It’s everybody, even the richest people,
try to get their—want their kids to be in it. And it has a kind of equalizing thing,
equalizing the starting points of people. It’s beautiful. I mean, there’s a required
amount of budget that has to be spent on beautification, on introducing the students to culture and
art and so on. Everybody goes through this. Well maybe you can figure out a way to do
this privately, without government. I doubt it. I don’t think you can do it for the
poorest. But I would say I would like to see a system like that in America. Something like
it. I think that’s something that government could at least help get started, even if we
thought of a better way to do it than have government fund it, but I think that will
be unavoidable as well. TURNER: Steve . . . HORWITZ: Just two quick comments here. I think,
one, it’s doubtful to me that it actually does respect the dignity more of poor people
to turn them dependent on government. But the other question is whether charitable—what
about the dignity of the giver? Right? At least within charitable and other kinds of
organizations givers are giving because they think it’s important. They think it’s
valuable. They want to help. I think that respects their dignity more than taking money
from them when— REIMAN: But I think the dignity that is challenged
here is of the poor. I don’t think that the rich charity givers have a problem about
dignity that I have to worry about. I’m worried about the poor— HORWITZ: And I am too. But again, it’s is
not clear to me—especially when at least the studies that I know indicate that folks
who benefited, historically, who benefited from charity and mutual aid, got off of those
and got on their feet more quickly—that seemed to respect their dignity in a much
more important way. One other point real quick I wanted to make about the comparison to Western
Europe: I think it’s important to point out that a lot of those countries have systems
different from ours and do have larger welfare states and often more targeted in certain
sorts of ways. But those countries also have higher unemployment rates and lower labor-force
participation rates. If we want to talk about dignity of people, we want to talk about the
opportunity to carve out one’s life and to earn a living for oneself and to do the things
that one loves regardless of what one earns at it, I think it’s important to make sure
that we maximize and employment opportunities for people. I think that’s a shortcoming
in many of those societies that have chosen to trade off that kind of supposed security
against more dynamic growing economies. TURNER: Okay let me, so let’s move to the
final segment, then, which is the second round of questions. So I think last time we started—so
we’ll go back this way: Steve do you have a question that you want to ask for Jeff? HORWITZ: I’m curious, Jeff: So how, in your
idealized world what would that role of the market be? And, how do you see those limits
of inequality? Where, what would you want to do about it? And how would you know that
inequality was too great? I mean, where, I mean, you’ve talked about how, you have
this kind of libertarianism in that it’s not inequality per se. So I’m just curious,
where are the problems you see in markets? And where are those limits? REIMAN: Well, first of all let me say, I am
a believer in capitalism. I am a believer in the free market. I have recently written
a book, which is, I’m sure you’ll love this, A Marxian Defense of Capitalism. You
think that’s logically impossible, right? So, you know, I believe in, I believe that
the main contribution that comes from the market, and this is a moral thing, is dramatically
increasing the standard, the material standard of living of people. I think this has been
going on now for a long time. I think it’s going on globally now because of the spread
of capitalist reforms. It’s going on constantly in America, even in the face of inequality.
I agree that the poor are better off now materially than they were 20 years ago, then 40 years
ago. Here’s one statistic which I just really
love. In 2009, 82 percent of Americans below the poverty line had air conditioning. Think
about that. Imagine what they had 20 years ago or 40 years ago. So that’s a way in
which capitalism is working, but I mean that’s very general. That is across the board. It
doesn’t quite get to individuals like the kid in that movie. There I think that there are questions about
discrimination, about poor education, and related ideas like that, which, I don’t
think you can just exclude the role of government there somehow because—dogmatically. Maybe
government can be replaced; maybe not. I think that we’ve had a welfare system
which treats people as the objects of charity, has treated them in a very condescending way
and that contributes to dependence. I’m all for changing that. But I’m not worried
about the dignity of charitable givers. I’m worried about the recipients who think, only
because of the kindness of these more successful people do I get it. It’s not because I deserve
it, that the society owes me some kind of fair share. TURNER: Jeff, I want to give Steve a chance
to respond real quick and then wrap up. HORWITZ: Real quick, I think the only comment
I’d make there is the assertion that government isn’t the solution to these problems or
perhaps isn’t necessary, for me, is not a dogmatic assertion, it’s an empirical
question. Has government worked at these things? Can it work at these things? That’s the
question. REIMAN: And I think it’s got a more mixed
answer: it’s worked some and failed some. So let’s make it work more.

99 Comments on "Debate: What To Do About Poverty | Learn Liberty"


  1. That professor flipped the script when nobody was looking . He changed the argument to make it about just rights . It isn't a matter of justice to take my stuff without my consent . People aren't owed 40 acres and a mule by right of birth .

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  2. Profs. Steve Horwitz and Jeffrey Reiman duke it out over an essential social question: what is the best to eliminate poverty while caring for the impoverished? Tell us what you think after watching this week's NEW release!

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  3. It seems to me that Professor Of Philosophy, Jeffrey Reiman, has a somewhat idealistic view of what Government can, and should, do to combat poverty…  Which is fundamentally not much different from historical left-wing ideologies that continue to decimate and destroy Liberal run cities like Detroit.

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  4. The guy to the left is confused about capitalism and technology.  Lots of poor people have AC because technology is driving down prices.

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  5. It is a fact that we just had the 50th anniversary of the federal government's War On Poverty, and after spending TRILLIONS of tax dollars over the last 50 years, purportedly to end poverty, we have more poverty in the US than before the War On Poverty was waged.

    Professor Reiman argues that charity, the voluntary giving from one person or group to another, in some way diminishes the recipient, while the social justice principle that forces us to give "our fair share" to the government that then redistributes our wealth is better.  Not even close.  Charity is a moral decision that is somewhat analogous to the free market.  Both parties are bettered by their participation, or they would abstain.  With charity, there is a genuine exchange.  Both parties are improved.  The giver sees the benefit of their gift in another person's life.  The recipient sees a real human who cares about their plight and wants to help.  There is a personal connection and a personal relationship that is much more likely to give someone a hand up.  With government "assistance", at most they get a hand out.  They're made to feel entitled and dependent which leads to generational welfare.  We shouldn't be surprised by the immoral results, because government initiates the process by stealing, and it only goes downhill from there.  Government programs have no incentive to end a problem, and every incentive to cozy up to a problem and increase the problem to justify more government funding to grow the agency.  The federal welfare program is less than 50% efficient, so less than 50 cents of every tax dollar goes to the poor, and more than 50 cents of every tax dollar goes to administer the program.  What could be more demeaning and soul crushing than to tell a person that they are unable to provide for their most basic needs and they'd starve to death if not for their government handout?

    Professor Reiman also seems to believe the big government marketing lie that government helps end racial discrimination.  Society demanded these reforms and governments were dragged kicking and screaming to this new reality.  The US Congress passed fugitive slave laws and the US Supreme Court upheld them, while US citizens in juries across the country refused to convict people who aided runaway slaves.  Dred Scott.  Jim Crow.  Please do your homework before claiming that government was needed to end discrimination.  Even today, the federal government has programs that perpetuate discrimination, often under the guise of helping disadvantaged minorities.  Sometimes, the easiest way to enslave someone is to "help" them.

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  6. Too often these videos are billed as "Person A vs. Person B" and we are told they "duke it out."  In reality, Horwitz and Reiman agree on about 70% of everything discussed here and have somewhat differing views about the remaining 30%.  They are having a discussion, not an adversarial contest.

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  7. At 9:00 they touch on "charity vs welfare."

    And the professor says with charity "you give what you see fit," with welfare "you GIVE WHAT YOU OWE." And that welfare "allows the recipient to have more dignity…"

    There is a lot to say on this issue. Let me say just a couple of things.

    Let's consider charity, and the mindset of the recipient; we will use the Will Smith character, just call him Will.

    Will ends up poor, for whatever reasons. Will seeks help from his family or community; a local church ends up giving him money for the month.

    Will IS VERY GRATEFUL to the church, and feels that because these are his good neighbors that are helping, the people he actually sees around him in town, WILL OWES IT TO HIS NEIGHBORS to live up to the donation that they gave him.

    Will would be disgracing his neighbors and the church IF HE WERE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF the charity, and not look for work, or to just abuse the money that was given to him by buying drugs or alcohol or partying.

    So in the case of charity THE RECIPIENT OWES something, not the donator! And the recipient MAY ACTUALLY FEEL THAT HE NEEDS TO PAY BACK EVERY DIME that he borrows!

    —-

    Whereas with welfare, IT IS THE DONATOR THAT OWES SOMETHING. And the recipient does not feel ANY RESPONSIBILITY directly to the donator to repay or not to abuse the donation or the situation, nor does the recipient feel responsible to repay the donations; THE RECIPIENT FEELS THAT THE DONATOR OWES HIM THAT MONEY SOMEHOW.

    —-

    So the notion of CHARITY VS WELFARE are antithetical in nature.

    In welfare: The poor person feels "you guys OWE ME something." And the donator feels "I OWE it" to pay to the poor.

    In charity: The poor person feels "I OWE IT TO YOU" the donator to live up to or even repay this contribution. And the donator feels "I DON'T OWE YOU A DIME," but I wanted to help, so make it count.

    —-

    Complete opposites!

    —-

    In both cases, the poor get help. The question is WHICH of these two ALIGN WITH OUR NATURAL RIGHTS? And WHICH OF THESE RESULTS IN GREATER PROSPERITY?

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  8. 14:00 "I've written a Marxian defense of capitalism????"

    It just proves HOW SOCIALIST university staffs are. This professor/Phd BELIEVES IN CAPITALISM, YET FINDS A REASON TO PROMOTE MARX????

    WTF???

    I don't know what percentage of professors are socialist, but I would guess that it is close to 90%.

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  9. "The promotion of economic equality and the alleviation of poverty are distinct and often conflicting." – Peter Bauer

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  10. I can agree with Steven Horwitz's suggestions, but they do not go far enough.

    A major underlying cause of poverty is that which was most famously noted by Henry George in "Progress and Poverty."

    The problem comes from rent seeking behavior, particularly by land owners who control other individuals' access to scarce natural resources which we all need in order to survive but which are not the products of human labor and thus not valid private property.

    (The problem is a whole lot worse where there are governments which use public funding to protect these private monopolies, but could still happen if landlords relied instead of private guards. In such a case, they could themselves be considered micro-states.)

    Despite the way it is often taught today, the Homesteading principle as proposed by John Locke explicitly did not grant ownership of Land. Only the improvements which are the fruits of labor could be considered property. The Land itself could never be owned, although possession of land could be justified when it was necessary in order to secure control of the valid property on it. Unilaterally exerting a monopoly control of a plot of land was considered acceptable only under the conditions of the Lockean Proviso, requiring that the landholder leave as much and as good of any other would be homesteaders. This law of equal liberty was the moral underpinning of homesteading. Being a "Non-Proviso Lockean" makes about as much sense as being a "Christian who rejects the commandments to love God and your neighbors."

    The Lockean Proviso is rarely met in the real world, at least in more densely populated parts of the world. We know that it is being violated whenever the landlord is able to convince tenants to pay him land rent (separate from the payment for the use of any buildings or other improvements on the land). This rent is a measure of how seriously the land holder is aggression against the rest of the community. It is thus fair that the landlord compensate the rest of society for the act of holding the land out of the commons. There may be many ways to do this, but a redistributory Land Value Tax may be the most feasible.

    Since as an economic term Land comprising all natural resources, not merely the ground, the category of Land Value Taxes could include more than merely taxing the market value of physical space. It could also include the exclusive use of waterways, specific parts of the EM spectrum, tolls charged to reduce road congestion, etc. The LVT should not be charged merely for using resources, but only for preventing others from doing likewise. There is no need for the government to interfere with non-rivalrous uses.

    Most taxes are inefficient, causing significant deadweight losses and leaving the economy weaker. This is because they are a disincentive for production. We should never tax any produced good (except perhaps when trying to reduce the level of production to prevent negative externalities suffered by innocent parties). Income taxes, payroll taxes, tariffs, sales taxes, etc, are completely unacceptable.

    Land is not being produced, so its production cannot be disincentivized. AN LVT has zero dead weight losses, and can actually make the economy function more efficiently. Charging those who are speculating in land rather than using it would tend to cause them to either develop things on top of their land, or sell it off cheap enough for someone else to develop it. An LVT encourages urban infill, discouraging urban sprawl and making cit life more pleasant and efficient. It drives down housing rents relative to income.

    The sort of social safety net programs that are used by most governments are very bad ones. Means testing causes perverse incentives, where the poor are afraid to risk taking a job that might not be worth losing their benefits. We would not have such perverse incentives with a simple Universal Basic Income. With this, the poor could keep their benefits no matter how much else they are earning. (The rich could collect such benefits too, but it would not be as significant a part of their income. If there was a public domain list of recipients, it shouldn't be too hard to shame those who don't need the help not to accept it.)

    Real world experiments with basic income show that its recipients do not work significantly less and often end up working more. In the Angola experiment it was often used as seed capital for founding family businesses. In the Manitoba experiment only 2 demographics worked even slightly less: teens who had previously needed to work to support their poor families but were then enabled to put more effort into schooling, and working mothers children who were able to stay home with their small children when they were sick or get home early to help their children with homework rather than leaving them unattended all afternoon. Those are things likely to reduce poverty in the next generation.

    A Basic Income funded by bad taxes still has the bad effects of those taxes. It would also allow landlords (and other sellers of things which are in particularly inelastic demand) to charge more unless the policy was paired with a means of keeping the rents down.

    The best approach is to provide a Citizens' Dividend, a Basic Income Guarantee funded exclusively through Land Value Taxes. Redistributing the LVT per capita after the minimum administrative costs of government are paid would also provide an incentive for the poor to vote against wasteful government expenditures.

    If the Citizens' Dividend is given to children too, then it would go a long way towards paying for childhood medical costs and allowing parents to afford to send their children to private schools or home school.

    Charity still has an important role, but it is much better able to handle unexpected emergency situations rather than recurring costs like rent.

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  11. the second i hear anyone say "think of the children" i instantly switch off. having emotions is fine and necessary but making real decisions based solely upon them is ludicrous.

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  12. Libertarians. The ideologues of libertarianism do more thinking about the effects of economics on the poor then every single ultra-lefty and ultra-righty in the country, combined.

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  13. Steven Horowitz=fucking bag of shit. Public schools are failures, therefore competition is the only answer? An economist deemed an expert in matters of education shows how fucked up libertarians are.  The fundamental flaw with this competition paradigm is the primary goal is to compete for the cheapest to educate students using the cheapest teachers housed in the least expensive buildings. , Fuck IDEA, experienced teachers and all the other long term crap  that cost money and producing a long term valued service. Public education is not a Wendy's v McDoanlds hamburger. Eliminate minimum wage is a very bad idea,pay a $1 hour for an employee producing a good or service does no good if everyone else is making $1 hour and can't afford it. But I'm ok with eliminating licensure laws and tenure, I would love to take this dumbass job for $10/hr.

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  14. 1/2 of my government education was daycare, 1/4 was obedience(part of that was good as social interaction), and 1/4 was actually applied knowledge(that includes art and critical thinking).  Maybe that was just me, but I could have been tossed a book, taken a test for 1 hour per week,spent a few hours at the park, and learned as much as I did in school.

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  15. Why even pretend to care when you really want the problem to disappear without addressing the causes? Some people make bad choices. But whether libertarians had some sort of unrealistic solution to the problem, they think people should pay for them for the rest of their lives anyway unless they're already wealthy and connected. That's when libertarianism is finally invoked. Otherwise punish the poor more than other consequences may already have.

    You can pretend to have a solution but you know it's crap and everyone else does too. Unfortunately(I guess), you have to steal from the "suffering" wealthy and corporations because they will NEVER care enough by their own freewill. It's just the authoritarian toady inside keeping you from acknowledging it and tries to define one thing as theft and another as a necessary action, fee or tax. You then try to parrot the values that keep you constantly on the edge of poverty anyway and when you fall off(even by no fault of your own you will try to come up with a reason why it's circumstantial), you will then want and use the safety net.

    Justice has no place in your vocabulary because the truth is that you know in your mind that you wish the definition to be entirely subjective.

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  16. What I don't hear from people is how long do the poor need help? I've just looked at a statistic that most people tend to be on welfare for more than 7 months. Most numbers are at 1 to 2 years. But really how long does a person who is poor need to be help? 

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  17. I was hoping for a what to do about poverty in the world & instead it just focused on here in the states. Making at least 12k a year in the world is considered rich. In the states it is considered poor (which all makes sense). Not saying that focusing on the states alone is bad, I was just hoping fort something more over arcing. 
    The biggest thing I see with government intervention is that it has helped keep many people out of falling into poverty, & that the statistics shows that we have been growing out of it. Children are better off since before 1950's, & the elderly have seen the most improvements when it has come to getting out of poverty.
    So far I don't see anymore solutions than what has already been thought up for a long while now.
    Be happy you don't live on less than $900 a year like most of the population on earth.

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  18. I don't find it more dignified or just for B to depend on government coercion to  take from A simply because B is poorer and A is richer.  Justice, imo, is for A to give willingly as all parties respect personal property and refuse engage in any sort of theft.

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  19. What To Do About Poverty? "Open borders.  Under the status quo, most of the world's workers are stuck in unproductive backwaters.  Under free migration, labor would relocate to more productive regions, massively increasing total production.  Standard cost-benefit analysis predicts that global GDP would roughly double."
    http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/01/sitting_on_an_o.html

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  20. There's not enough social engineering that will help poverty due to the population booming. Automation is on its way and the human worker (with all its flaws) will be considered an hindrance, not an asset. This is a loosing battle due to current capitalistic trend (value due to scarcity).

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  21. You know what's funny. The solution to will smiths poverty in that character was a business that relied on free market. Yes we was poor but at the end he became rich. Not because of government welfare but because of hard work and free market opportunities.

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  22. I'd really like to know when the last time this guy had to work on minimum wage was, to call for it to be abolished. Even if it were on the federal level, luckily the states would maintain it.

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  23. Add another one.
    Fixing the currency
    It should not inflate at 3%
    Wages increases have never kept up with inflation, hence people are getting poorer.
    The minimum wage would unnecessary if the currency was not controlled and did not inflate. 

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  24. He actually admitted gov. was a problem!  How can you say that you need gov. as part of the solution when you admit they are a problem?

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  25.  The old guy is delusional. Charity demeans people? Stealing gives them dignity? what a moron. Just goes to show, a PHD doesn't mean you can't convince yourself of just about anything

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  26. so people give from the kindness of their own heart and hard work, THAT'S demeaning! STEAL from them, and that's empowering!?!?! Intellectual moron 

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  27. Wow this is really interesting. I'm one of the few libertarians who don't necessarily think charity organizations are the solution to those in need. I don't think they have the far reach a government organization does. However, I feel like this should be handled at the state level with blank checks rather than social programs, leaving those in need with the responsibility to seek out help.

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  28. Hmm Reiman sasys private industry cant supply quality education for the poor, but everything else from food, cars, phones, clothes it can? Also i wonder where his morals come from to remove the right of low skilled people to work (min wage) and build their employment history, likewise taking via force to give to others at the cost of opportunity. If we go that path taxation should be flat and in a NiT format with no min wage. Enough to feed the family, enough to school children….go out and earn the rest.

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  29. The old man's argument completely falls apart when you try to reduce it to basic moral principles. He's opposed to charity, essentially, because he's concerned it will hurt the feelings of the recipients to receive it because it is "charity". So rather than respect the very real right to property everyone has to the fruits of their own labor, he would impose, by law, mandates to strip people's right to property so that the poor can enjoy an imagined right not to have their feelings hurt while they receive the same money under the title "welfare" instead. He wants them to feel like they are entitled to it, like they have the right to it, ignoring the fact that no one has the right to the fruit of another's labor.

    If they don't like getting charity, GOOD, that will be incentive to get a better job and work their way to a better financial situation. On the other hand, if they are "entitled" to other people's money, where is the incentive to work hard so they can stop taking it?

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  30. The mixed answer is the best answer because it allows flexibility to work with different people in different countries with different cultures. Some people or cultures value safety, while others value independence, and the mixed answer allows us to work with both.

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  31. Welfare gives people the right to my stuff? Nah, sry, don't think so…dignity? No, it just makes them spoiled

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  32. I like to think of it this way:

    – Money represents a person's time, skills and labor, basically his life.
    – The older guy doesn't care about the dignity of the person giving of his money (life) as payment to another person.
    – When one person is taking another person's life without regard for that other person's dignity, you basically have slavery.

    So, according to the progressive liberal on stage, slavery is okay in his mind.

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  33. Churches & Mutual Aid Societies can be more discerning which means they can tell people things the government can't. Maybe you turn in 3 job applications on a government program but everyone knows you really didn't try but nobody can do anything. But a Church can tell you that you are taking advantage and you'll have to make earnest effort to get help. It is this ability to discern on an individual basis that makes non-government solutions superior.

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  34. If stealing from each other to fund our pet projects is wrong, how else can these ideas get funded? Solutions must start from here.

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  35. I believe in the island method, If you are alone on an island then you have all your rights. If you have the right to a home then it should be there, right to food then it should just be there…if on the other hand I have to build a shelter then maybe that is my real right, if i have to catch kill and cook food then that is my real right. On an island nothing is given to you but Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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  36. Eliminate poverty? 2 things. 1: Reduce the barriers to entry to enter the job market. There was a time when people who didn't even know how to read and they could get work. Low skill fields (retail, food service, etc) were seen as "basic" jobs, not fulfillment jobs (as in support a family). Cure? Incentivize job training programs so companies can train employees to do what they need. Stop funding debt through education when education isn't as high a rung on the ladder lately. 2: Criminalization is a symptom of opportunistic capitalism. Why did Will Smith go broke? He was hustled and went broke and his wife left. Why criminalize drugs, poverty, terrorism, etc? There's a huge government contractor market that makes billions off of "wars" on things. It's opportunity through politics and politicians fund raise around that. 

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  37. "What to do about poverty"

    1) Peaceful parenting to allow children to develop the necessary negotiation skills and stable personalities essential to a successful life and career

    2) Abolish welfare and the government if we can. These are the 2 greater hindrances toward escaping poverty

    3) Recognize the efficacy of the male parent in shaping a child's empathy and stigmatize any notion of single parenthood as a choice, especially single motherhood

    Do these 3 things, or even just 1 and 3 and we won't have much poverty left in the world. (2 will inevitable happen if 1 and 3 are met)

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  38. Minimum wage absolutely is damaging.

    price (wages of workers)=demandsupply

    First minimum wage reduces demand for workers, by increasing the risk (cost vs expected benefit) to hire. If someone with no or a bad record cannot prove he that he can produce more value than minimum wage, he simply will not be hired. However without minimum wage, a person accept low or no wages, in trade for job experience or a chance to (re)build their reputation, when their value to employers increases they can negotiate higher wages or find a better job elsewhere. At the point the employer can quantify their value (no risk) and determine how much they actually benefit the business. Minimum wages causes marginal workers to be unemployed and limits the ability for small businesses to grow. Also government oversight (aka goons with guns looking for free lunch) increases the cost of running the business and in turn increases the risk to hire.

    Second minimum wage lowers the wage of all workers by increasing the supply of the labor pool, for the reasons stated above.

    Third minimum wage drives up the cost of education because it increases the artificial demand in that field. Because if getting on the job experience is out of the question because they can't get a job, they must improve their value elsewhere. The higher prices then in turn, screw those who need it the most.

    I am sure there are most ways it causes problems. The bottom line is whenever voluntary exchange between two people is interrupted it costs society as a whole.

    If mimum wage is good, why stop at $7 an hour, why not $20, $100, $1,000,000/hr

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  39. Someone who receives charity is "diminished"? As opposed to being forced into a role of thief and murderer through welfare!

    I would rather be given a gift and given opportunities, than to go take someones wallet at the end of a gun (even if that violence is by proxy).

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  40. OMG!  The socialist professor is mental and needs therapy…maybe the government will help him by putting him into an institution of equality….oh, they already did – a university.

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  41. Real capitalism is still new to society. Shouldn't we have let the flower be and see if it was still blooming before authority decided what to do with it? Government put it's rear in a growing body of hands and minds and stunk everything up.

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  42. Wouldn't eliminating the minimum wage simply let people that own businesses keep more money for themselves and make poor people poorer?

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  43. I disagree on the minimum wage mention. I firmly believe that that will give big corporations a gateway to gives less and less, since they can hire people who are willing to work at lower rates, which lowers the amount of LIVABLE jobs. Why hire Jerry, a full time worker, at $8 an hour for 40 hours, when you can hire Tom and Steve at, say $3 an hour for 20 hours a week? Sure, you have more people working but at lower rates and Jerry is out of a job that he needs. Especially in our market right now, where job's are scarce. 

    I work a 40 hour a week job at $8 an hour and just make ends meet, and being paid less would mean I could not live. I think chains, franchises, and super stores should all have to enforce a minimum pay requirement, while I could see a small store pizza shop owner being able to bypass this but that would create a dispute between companies. 

    To sum up: I really don't see how getting rid of the minimum wage would work in the current model economy we have now. Maybe if things change, we get to a comfortable level where inflation isn't running rampant, corporations DON'T have their hands in the pockets of the politicians, and we have an atmosphere that doesn't make the common person try to compete with another just to get a job at lower rates, I can see the minimum wage being gone but I think for the time being, removing it would cause a lot more harm than good.

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  44. At 6:11, the moderator looks like he's more interested in the transfiguration of his hand into a pillow.

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  45. I saw the movie that was cliped in the begining and he was poor because he had to pay taxs! I mean he was poor before that but the taxis is what made him homeless.

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  46. don't try to take an example from small size country like france and applied to big size country like america, china or even india ….

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  47. When $21 trillion is missing from the global economy because it is hoarded in off-shore tax havens for multinational corporations, we can see that these corporations ARE NOT creating jobs. Therefore, we need an Unconditional Basic Income. An Unconditional Basic Income would require MUCH LESS government control. It could be run by one computer that deposits money into EVERYONE'S bank account automatically. Everyone gets it, both rich and poor. It is an adequate amount of basic income that gets automatically deposited into everyone's bank account every month (roughly the equivalent of a US $10 per hour job). It retains human dignity because it is same amount to everyone, rich or poor, working or not. The simplicity of the idea is it's beauty. It would eliminate the "Nanny State" because there would be NO MEANS TESTING – so no bureaucracy. You want to make government smaller, eliminate poverty and increase liberty with one simple change? Institute a UBI. How do you pay for it? Simple. A Financial Transaction Tax, which is a tiny percentage taken off every stock market transaction. That way employers won't have to pay for it so they won't raise prices. In fact, a UBI would create MORE jobs because there would be more people buying products. Business would increase. Instant stimulation WITHOUT government intervention! I'm considering renaming the Unconditional Basic Income to the GUARANTEED CONSUMER DEMAND. Why EVERYONE, both left and right, is not jumping on this idea right now is beyond me. 

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  48. A poor person has no way of getting out of poverty if no one invests in him/her. So my question is, how should we invest in poor people? What programs should we have, public or private, that help poor people get out of poverty?

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  49. I personally don't believe beggars can be choosers of how dignified they are treated. If they need help and someone is willing to meet their needs out of kindness rather than obligation, great. Be thankful. Get back on your feet as quick as possible. Pay that debt off or forward it to someone else in need if dignity is so important.
    People who feel dignified in their poverty stay in their poverty.
    People who feel icky about being a charity case want it to stop.
    Isn't the point to END poverty?

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  50. Very simple since the poor outnumber the wealthy the poor need to learn how to form a viable organization. And create US congress bills to create laws that force the wealthy to pay taxes.
    The average workers tax form states clearly ‘’how much did you earn how much do you need the US Government gets the rest’’.
     And the wealthy don’t even have the EARN, you cannot  EARN even a lousy million.
    And don’t tell me the wealthy have great ideas watch what they do with their cash.
    If you cannot organize like governments and criminals and churches , stay poor.

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  51. Welfare is charity by definition. No one has a right to other people's wealth. That is stealing by definition. The whole system is corrupt and unfair.

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  52. As soon as you throw in the "think of the children" they dont deserve poverty the roll of gov't becomes unlimited. The child shouldn't even be an option if a person can't support them.

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  53. I think government propagates discrimination significantly more than it eliminates it.

    Not respecting people based on their wealth is classism, it is discrimination.

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  54. What could have happened that led these people into the hole they find themselves in? Were they already born there? If not,did they see the hole, avoided it by going around.
    If they still fell in,did they stop digging an try to get out while the hole was still shallow?
    If they were too ignorant and lazy to recognize a hole than…

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  55. Using key words like morality and justice to justify theft is"an EVIL intent". If I produce something, then that something is mine. When someone takes that from me, that is theft. Claiming that you have the moral high ground is a process that excessive Government has always done. That is why the man on the right is interested in "managing the size of Government" in order to reduce the abuse of power.
    The man on the left knows that argument appeals to the people that he claims he protects. Therefore he tries to create the illusion that the man on the right said that he wants to get rid of Government completely. That does not appeal to the people he claims to protect. Another lie. More evil.
    The man on the right is talking about we the people "managing" our own lives. With the help of Family, Friends, and Community. Which by the way plants him square in the middle of the crowd as part of a community.
    The man on the left argues an all or nothing world. Where one group of people are the slaves to another less fortunate group and he is only one of the benevolent overseers. Which by the way elevates him above both groups.

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  56. Here is a formal response to Professor Reiman's emotional argument, "Think about the kid" at the 4:35 mark:

    Tell that to the parents. I sure won't 'think about the kid'. I did not cause that child to exist in this world, their parents did. They conceived the child, well knowing of whether they had put money aside to feed it, to nurture it and to educate it. If they instead chose to prioritize short sighted leisure or very risky ventures as the case is With Will Smith's character in 'Pursuit of happiness', but still conceive and give birth to a child, they have no moral right to require strangers to feed it, to nurture it, and to educate it. To entertain that idea is to excuse the irrational behaviour in bringing a child into the world With no plan to invest money into actually raising it.

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  57. The guy who was making the case for more government should have been an outright communist

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  58. The idea of universal pre-k sounds great, but is worthless when the facts are examined.

    Yes, students who attend preschool in the US today tend to have a higher quality of life and success later in life, but this has nothing to do with pre-k itself. By the time a child reaches fourth grade the differences between those who attended pre-k and those who didn't isn't discernible. The kids who attended pre-k are no smarter than their peers by the time they reach middle school.

    The difference between pre-k and non pre-k is family structure. While pre-k is not taxpayer funded, a family must have expendable resources to pay for it. Households with a stable two parent nuclear family are much more likely to have the needed resources than unstable or single parent households.

    In the long run students from stable households are educated in the value of family structure and are provided both the discipline and empathy needed to be a good citizen. Students without a parent tend to grow up with minimal discipline and structure which makes it extremely difficlt to be successful.

    If we want more children to succeed we need to strengthen the family. Throwing more taxpayer money at a building sounds like a nice thing to do on a campaign stop, but is entirely worthless in the long run.

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  59. Poverty is not a problem, thus need no fixing. It's like ugly vs beautiful, stupid vs smart or cold vs hot. This things exist on a contrast only and relative. One group of smart people could seam stupid in comparison with a group of even smarter. And so on. Besides, some people like being poor and miserable.

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  60. The second someone makes the "think of the kids" argument i tune out.
    If all you can do is make an appeal to emotions then you have no real argument.

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  61. The government started the war against poverty in the 60’s, but created generational welfare instead. Why work if you get paid to not work?

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  62. The government started the war against poverty in the 60’s, but created generational welfare instead. Why work if you get paid not to work?

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  63. It is not the Government's role to eradicate poverty. It is the person's responsibility to eradicate his/her own poverty. The Government's role is to not allow obstacles to this from themselves, big businesses, teacher's unions, and any other entity or special interest. Gvt's role is to defend the people from those who disallow him/her to get his own richness.

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  64. Indeed, legalize narcotics, and before too long society goes down the drain on hard drugs! These 'Liberty' Zionists just want to profit on the misery of others!

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  65. Simple. Stop the government from helping people stay poor.

    End minimum wage.
    End affirmative action.
    End quota systems.
    End all race and gender based government discrimination.

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  66. Did will Smith's character put his son in that situation by having a child without the means to support one ?

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  67. "Do we NEED government to solve those problems?
    I like to think we can do with the least government possible to solve those problems. And for ME, the more interesting question is, let's see what happen when we get government out of the way…"
    THIS! As a former SJW, I was taught to take down arbitrary barriers(a great lesson, but only emphasized when talking about access for the disabled). Welfare has become a barrier to prosperity. If you actually care, you'll care about the fact that welfare is incentive not to advance in life.

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  68. Less government always, except when private banks creates "financial products" which are nothing but ponzi scheme merchandize. Remember 2008? Profits are private, losses are for public to bear.

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  69. 40 million in poverty 40 million have IQ less than 90. You cannot raise them up. You can only provide them shelter food amusement

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  70. No accounting for costs to people harmed by non licensed entrepreneurs in your utopia fantasyland

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  71. "I'm not worried about the dignity of charity givers, I'm worried about the dignity of the poor"

    Translation: I value life differently. THAT is why government is NOT the answer.

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  72. God the left are stupid, bald guy makes points that are more than stupid, they are assinine.
    War on drugs? Cant fight poor choices by humans, its their right to self harm.
    Minimum wage has been shown to be harmful to workers, not a debate.
    Want to eliminate poverty? Its easy, eliminate low IQ people, how to do this ethically is the discussion we should be having but its an uncomfortable subject, taboo on the Left.
    IQ is the biggest indictator of future followed by work ethic (culture), victim culture undermines the 2nd reason.

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  73. so the poor feels bad when receiving aid paid by another people voluntarily, but feels good when receiving aid paid by other people forcefully at gun point !! When receiving aid paid by people who may need it but forced to pay it ?!! Because this is the reality, He just wants to obscure it.

    Besides, if the poor understands this is charity paid by kind successful people, they will not feel hatred to the evil rich and want to destroy them. Do not the givers deserve a little bit of acknowledgment in return?!

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  74. It's my opinion we all need
    Wisdom Knowledge an Understanding. If we could learn and teach investing. All education in world can't replace Wisdom.

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  75. If you are in a bad neighborhood as an unskilled person and you don't even get a minimum wage job…. and then you see the profit margins in the drug business… what are you going to do???
    I know what I'd do…

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  76. Occupational licensure laws are the curse of Western Civilizations. Wherever I go around the world, I find clear examples of their profound idiocy. I tried using Uber in Germany only to discover that an entrenched taxi owners cabal had made such thing impossible- the result are exorbitant fares and more relevant, the complete absence of service in small village rural Germany. Not only does that income opportunity not exist, in rural areas that don't have sufficient density for public transportation, the elderly, infirm and poor are effectively isolated as they were before the advent of the car. If it were not for the still existing social networks of family and friends the situation would be dire. But even that is changing with changing demographics. Driver licenses are also difficult and expensive to obtain with no benefit in the form of lower accident rates, in fact, the opposite is true.

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  77. Our society owes everyone a 'fair opportunity' just like the Will Smith character got in the movie. It does not owe everyone a 'fair share'. You TAKING from others and giving it away rather than allowing people to decide what they want to give simply because you want the recipients to 'feel dignity' is not justice, its theft.

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  78. Government's should be the equivalent of a sports referee/umpire. And that is to make sure the playing field is as level as possible and that ALL are playing by the rules. After that it's up to the individual to do all the hard work and sacrifice that will get him/her 'points on the scoreboard'

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  79. Minimum wage if fine if it goes up with inflation but America hasn't done that so get RID of minimum wage and employees will be able to bargain for their employment…..

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