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Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Curious Wages of "Social Privilege"

For many decades I have fallen into roughly the top 10-20% of taxpayers.  Mostly through a combination of luck (being interested in high growth technology fields) and hard work (discipline and work ethic).

Apparently, at least according to new "social privilege" theories I do not do enough to "help" everyone else, at least according to the definition of "social privilege."

"Social privilege" is more or less (see Wikipedia) "Privilege is a social theory that special rights or advantages are available only to a particular person or group of people."

An example of "social privilege" might be (again from Wikipedia): White privilege is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.

However, social privilege is a broad category, at least as defined by left, so it includes things like housing inequality, and so on.  Really, anything where there is an "inequality" between any number of special "social groups" - white/black, gay/straight, citizen/immigrant.

Being an actual citizen here in the US is today is a "social privilege."

With this special citizenship privilege comes some additional responsibilities "special privileges."  For example, paying your taxes. (Actually anyone legally living here in the US, actually even illegally I suppose, is required to pay US taxes...)

So it would seem that the 54.7% of folks paying taxes in the above chart are "socially privileged."

(I myself falling, at least historically, into this class.)

So for those enjoying this privilege let's see what it involves...

First, this handy WSJ chart shows where each $100.00 of your tax dollars (presuming you were to actually pay taxes) go (link here):

For those with college educations we can convert the dollar amounts to percentages (the actual conversion is an exercise left to the reader).  This corresponds (more or less) with what the US government spends annually - at least in proportion (2015, though not much changes relative to the 2016 chart above, source here):

So if we look about 60% (Social Security, Medicaid, Veterans, Education, Food Stamps, some of Other and the ACA) of this revenue goes to "helping others."  (We can define it this way because its my money and it does not help me.  Whether it helps the actual recipient or the bureaucrat dispensing it is not material.)

But wait, as they say, there's more!

We have to include all the property, road, and various personal, state and "business privilege taxes" too.  And what about the people I employed?  Their jobs allow them the "privilege" of paying taxes too.  So what I am saying here is the tip of the proverbial iceberg...

If we look at how income and taxes break down we get this chart (from here, 2014 but again not much changes year to year):

So me and my "socially privileged" cohorts pay about 86% of all personal federal taxes.  Taking this to also include non-federal tax liabilities in proportion this see this is indeed a significant privilege.  Include all the other "special privilege" taxes, like "business privilege" and this is, of course, significantly higher.

We can see from this chart that this equates to perhaps thirty million people (less than 10% of the population of the country providing other social privileges to the rest:

So a small, privileged class of individuals basically support the rest.  The rest consuming this support as receiving portions of the taxes paid by the privileged few.

But actually, that's not really true because each year we, those paying taxes, fall short of paying the full freight and Uncle Sam has to borrow money to cover the difference (see this chart from Forbes):

In the last decade far more benefits are paid out than money collected.

Since around 1980 or so the US government, in addition to what me and my privileged cohorts have paid, has borrowed a total of twenty trillion dollars ($20,000,000,000,000.00) to make payments in the categories above (60% to "help" people).  Almost as much spent to win World War II.

So we have "borrowed" the annual GDP of the US, i.e., all the money the US generates in a year.

As you can see from here this has been going on a very long time...

So let's simplify this so even those with modern college educations can understand.

We're in a small boat, say a canoe, the canoe is the USA.  Those "privileged" among us have been bailing water out for decades.  However, those who feel balance of the boat is "unfair" have been filling it with water.

Faster than we are bailing.  Significantly so.

The canoe (the US economy) is now full of water (debt):

So the folks bailing the water out (the "socially privileged") are no longer succeeding.

Activities like suggesting that "other people" do more to help this situation (allow less water into the boat, prevent the boat from being filled "illegally" with water, and so on) apparently generates cries of "racism" and "social injustice."

But the boat is still full of water and sinking...

So how does this make sense?

Those bailing are failing.

In my case I am getting too old to bail much longer.  Additionally the government, while filling the boat with water, makes lots of "rules" restricting how the "bailing" can occur.

Essentially dooming us all to sink.

Millennials and snowflakes really don't understand what's happening.  My generate created virtually everything they use today: cell phones, plastic, the internet,  etc.

They have no work ethic and ability to understand (because college teaches them to follow and not think for themselves).

They are falling behind in terms of "bailing water" (see this) - they don't create as much wealth as the older generation nor do they want to (as it would be socially "unjust.")

So the boat sinks...

I no longer have any real interest in generating new businesses, at least that employ others, because its not worth the aggravation.

Eventually I will be on the receiving end of all of these benefits when I retire.

And there will be no one there to pay my social security.

They'll all be too busy on their phones.

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