Chesed: Forcing the rich to pay for the poor

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    How many trillions are the left going to put us into debt to bribe the poor for a vote. Why are the ambitious being punished because of the false Marxist notion of privilege. How can this madness continue?


    Because some intiligent people, unfortunately among them a lt of acheinu bnei yisroel, choose to vote Trump out of office, they forgot about איזהו חכם הרואה את הנולד

    emes nisht sheker

    No worries… Real estate has gone up making many of those rich, rich, due to government policies over the last 20 years (you think real estate prices went up due to people being smart? It went up due to the Fed pushing down the yield curves and pumping liquidity into banks… in other words many of the wealthy people you know, got wealthy off Uncle Sam, not their hard work or ingenuity). Those people that benefitted extraordinarily so from policies that resulted in inflation of such assets now need to pay some of that back in so the Federal balance sheet can be balanced before we have a collapse and loss of confidence in the US dollars.

    I mean the alternative can be a modern version of the financial collapse in Germany in the years between WWI and WWII… Do you really want to go there? Is some idealistic nonsense about how tis is Marxism or having the rich pay for the poor a reason to ignore the issues and let our economy head towards an unprecedented disaster (fyi, Gov’t debt is at its highest level ever. The Fed is meanwhile keeping yields down, but if inflation goes up, there are limits on what the Fed can do and you start running a risk where monetary policies don’t work).

    The kneidel

    Don’t blame it on the Jews. The states with the largest Jewish populations would have gone for Biden even with all the Jews voting for Trump such as New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California. Everywhere else with a nice size Jewish population such as Florida and Texas voted for Trump. In all the other states, including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia, the Jewish population is so small that even if the few Jews within the state who did not vote for Trump would have, it would not have made Trump win. Even if you can argue that one state was so close to getting flipped to Trump and the few Jews in that state which happened to vote for Biden and not Trump would have voted for Trump, it still would not have gotten Trump over 270. Biden won by too much.
    The real lesson to be taken from Trumps loss is where this country is heading. We are watching the degradation of morality, honesty and what American society stood for. Hashem is telling us not to get to comfortable in America. This is not our real home.

    Reb Eliezer

    The rich who don’t help themselves with the tax cuts to grow the economy by investing and creating jobs must be forced to help others and thereby helping themselves and debt will not increase through increasing in their taxes.


    Originally the rich would buy the poor as slaves, or feel somewhat sad if they starved.

    Over time, the goyim picked up the idea that the rich need to help the poor. They got the idea from us. Also we never had strong central institutions (even kings of Beis David were far from absolute).
    The Christians combined our ideas of charity with the Roman idea of a powerful government, and you get a powerful government that gives lots of charity with other people’s money (while governments get money from many source, taxes seems to be the easiest way to get hands of money).


    There are unintended consequences of raising capital gains taxes on the rich. If they have to pay upwards of 50% of their earnings (depending what State they live in) in taxes it decreases the incentive for them to invest in the stock market. Why take risk if the potential reward is slashed in half? If the rich pull out of/reduce their investments in the stock market it will cause a dip, negatively effecting anyone who has a pension, 401k, or brokerage account (i.e. blue collar and middle class people)


    The first seven posts contain not one bit of correct economic analysis.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Huju, please elaborate. Which points do you disagree with, and why?


    The rich don’t pay enough taxes but unfortunately it’s the middle that ends up happening to foot the bill. We don’t get all kinds of ridiculous refi and depreciation bonus deductions.


    We could discuss the merits of one economic policy over the other, (Kidding! We would just attack various thinking processes with random cliches. Same thing politicians do when they try to comprehend economics.) but of course it is chessed to force the rich to cover for the poor. It would even be chessed for the rich to pay for the rich! Just it does not give anyone license.

    emes nisht sheker

    “The real lesson to be taken from Trumps loss is where this country is heading. We are watching the degradation of morality, honesty and what American society stood for.”

    I read this and had to laugh. How lost you must be to equate those qualities with Trump.

    bk613 – I would love for you to show me the economic studies that show that the stock market correlates with tax rates. The info is out there easy enough for anyone who wants to make the effort to find it. Seriously, it is not hard. You know what it shows, stocks don’t really care what the tax rate is. I could explain the math of why this is, but probably above the education level here.

    Regarding taxing the rich, nevermind my prior comment for a moment, the fundamental economic issue we have in this country is the level of debt is perhaps way too high. That means that we did not direct tax enough before and it needs to be caught up. The total household wealth in the US is about 100 trillion, of which about 70% is owned by the top 10%. The simple reality of this disparity is that if you take away from the 30% of wealth in this country owned by the other 90%, you will taking away money that many desperately need (i.e. you would be kicking them out of their houses). On the other hand asking the wealthy to return some of that wealth to reduce the debt, would still have them plenty wealthy.

    Or I guess, you can dump this debt on the backs of the working poor and tax them higher from the little they make in the future to pay back this debt.

    I know the wealthy do everything for everyone and we should not tax them a dime, but the reality is that wealthy have been able to accumulate an increasing amount of wealth and the rest have been relatively getting poorer. They just don’t have the money to pay the needed taxes to reduce the debt. I guess we can ask the working poor to live simpler, because apparently if they have an iPhone they must be on the same level as a multi-millionaire who has multiple homes and takes fabulous vacations and lives a lavish lifestyle in general.

    Whatever, this forum is never interested in discussing ideas, rather it is mainly faux conservatives who want to rant about how the democrats are ruining everything. I am just the messenger pointing out that if action is not taken to reduce the government debt, which I believe, if done via tax, necessarily must come from the pockets of the wealthy, eventually you risk finding yourself in a collapsed society (it is math and the equation each year has been getting worse… you don’t have to like it but it is not difficult to pull up numbers on debt to nominal GDP by year, or perhaps more relevant, debt to tax collections per year. The numbers are what they are and imagining this can go on forever without explaining how, is frankly insane). Let me know how much out grandparents wealth in Europe was worth when the Nazis came to town.


    Dear Emes,

    Just wondering if the top ten percent have enough money to cover the national debt.

    emes nisht sheker

    It is an irrelevant question, because paying down the full debt would probably create an economic collapse. This is a very complex issue. I think the best approach would be to limit the expansion of the debt so that Nominal GDP can grow relative to it, which may help avoid the disruptive nature of paying back substantial debt or having the debt spiral out of control, but in order to limit the growth of the debt, without destroying demand in this country, I think you need much of the money to come from those who are net savers (i.e. the wealthy). You would also want some inflation to boost nominal GDP but you need interest rates low, which creates other issues, so really a very complex issue.

    Bottom line, I see the end goal as ensuring the smooth continuation of this country and avoiding the risks to property and life that come with a major economic collapse. If it means taxing the rich some more, then so be it. The idealistic arguments about entitlement to wealth are irrelevant if the result of that is massive disruption to society that risks your very lives.


    The current approach (As in what is wrong with the last 30 years of tax cuts.) is that more wealth should require more taxable assets not less. Just reversing the trend would go a long way toyard stable economics in the face of mounting debt. But the real matter is budget control. And cutting out military waste, is more of a priority then any tax plan.


    Posts 9 through 15 are no better than posts 1 through 7. (My first post is number 8.)

    A partial answer to DasYochid’s reasonable request of me is: most of the economic errors of the posters result from reliance on the “free market” theory of economics. We learned it in Economics 101, but we did not learn, in Eco 101, that economists have been testing it over many years and found that real markets do not behave like the free market of the theory. One simple example is the notion that all participants in a market have complete knowledge of all information relevant to the market. Another is that there are no barriers to entry into the market. A third example is that the effects of taxation are known and understood.

    Another source of errors among the posters (other than me, of course) is the failure to distinguish micro- from macroeconomics. All posters, including me, have to balance our household budgets and limit our borrowing and interest costs. Governments are not subject to that requirement in the same way that households are. Many times I have heard successful business owners say, if I ran my business like the government, I would be broke. And that is true. But it does not tell us how governments should behave.

    An essential part of any science, especially the dismal one, is testing the theories by looking at the real world and measuring what the theories predict. That is a big part of what economists do. If you don’t follow the testing, you don’t know economics.

    Alyosha Karamazov

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You must wonder sometimes whether commenting here is really worth your time since you’re unlikely to change anyone’s mind. So i just want to say that your words are a nechama to those of us who haven’t fallen for right wing narishkeit but just can’t deal with the silliness and hostility of commenting on these boards.


    Dear Huju,

    My first post (11) is Torah – nothing to do with economics. Did you take issue with what I wrote?


    huju > If you don’t follow the testing, you don’t know economics.

    a good point. USA is a great place to do economic theories: we have states with similar economic structure that sometimes have different policies, or sometimes implement similar policies with a time lag. For example, if California or Vermont can build a great free medical care system, we will learn a lesson and other states might follow – or their population will follow. It is a unique system where state governments are forced to compete with each other, not just businesses. There are other countries with federal systems, but not to the size and mobility as US.

    For some reason, some Vermonters prefer to insist on installing their policies at federal level instead of demonstrating the capability in their own state.


    Does this mean that you are against any socialist policies? Like libraries, government funding for Yeshivos, Social Security, FAFSA, Section 8/HUD, and welfare?


    To nOmesorah: My comments addressed only errors of economics. As you said, your comment of 4/30, 9:37 am, addressed only Torah issues, on which I did not comment.

    emes nisht sheker

    AlyKar – Thanks for the kind words… Honestly, not sure why I post here sometimes. I guess I hope to generate some thoughtful debate, but most would rather just reduce complex issues to very black and white positions and not think beyond that.


    “Honestly, not sure why I post here sometimes. I guess I hope to generate some thoughtful debate,”

    Funny, coming from the same guy who wrote:
    “How lost you must be…”
    “The info is out there easy enough for anyone who wants to make the effort to find it. Seriously, it is not hard. ..”
    “I could explain the math of why this is, but probably above the education level here…”
    Where these supposed to encourage me to engage in thoughtful debate or just write you off as an incredibly arrogant and condescending man hiding behind the anonymity of a screen name?


    Yserbius > Does this mean that you are against any socialist ​policies?

    ont sure who you are asking but every policy need to be evaluated against the damage it brings. Even libraries, for example, prevent authors from selling books, and thus reducing incentives for writing books. Obvious, for welfare. Welfare reform in the 90s showed that poor people benefited from being encouraged to work without increasing poverty.

    We have example of R Huna throwing away leftovers from the market – so that he helps by decreasing market prices. Similarly, we allow competition between Torah teachers to make teaching affordable. Another lesson that comes across that Talmidei Chachamim were empirical – they institute a policy and then change it if society does not react the right way (first fathers were teaching Torah, but not everyone was capable, then they sent teenagers to Yerushalaim, but not everyone could send, etc)


    The problem with this is that the super rich can hire tax professional to avoid these taxes leaving the burden on the middle and lower classes to pay. Likewise, the rich can and do move from high taxing states which is happening in NY NJ and CA to lower taxing states, leaving the tax burden on those who remain who are not as wealthy. Also the rich generate jobs such as nannys drivers and cleaners. This is besides industries such as restrurants and broadway shows who without rich patrons will cease to exist.
    I am not sure this is going to generate the extra funding claimed.

    Reb Eliezer

    Economics – the way to distibute scarce resources in an optimal way. Greshams law says, that bad money drives out good money from circulation as people hold one to good noney. Hakesef kona es hazahav as the more worth, gold is merchandise and the less worth, silver is the currency. The rich save their wealth which does not grow the economy except for lending out money which the poor cannot afford because of the interest.


    Does this mean that you are against any socialist policies? Like libraries, government funding for Yeshivos, Social Security, FAFSA, Section 8/HUD, and welfare?

    I’m basically against all of it, especially yeshiva funding I believe yeshivas shouldn’t take a penny from the government it automatically gives them a say in what we teach our children. I believe we’re already in dangerous territory with yeshiva funding.


    I believe In a flat tax. Why wouldn’t that be fair?


    Just heard on the radio a lovely discussion about how to deal with rich people who are apparently a problem because they own too much.

    They discussed one of them, a Jewish guy, Nick Hanauer, who is apparently woke enough to advocate for higher min wage, etc. I think his grandparents had a bedding company in Germany before Nazis, then his parents built a company here. Then, crucially, he noticed a young guy Jeff Bezos and said – if you planning to start something, call me, and he invested in Amazon. Not sure whether he was the first or just an early investor, but it went unmentioned that without Nick and people like him, possibly there will be no Amazon, and the whole pandemic people will be standing in line to buy things in Sears …. Of course, Nick himself wants to re-distribute Bezos money to amazon workers.

    I wonder why Nick did not put it as a condition for his investment. And, I wonder, whether Bezos would have agree it.


    Dear Asag,

    The government has a strong say in our kids education, even when they are home schooled. It has been that way for eighty years.


    So many posts, so little knowledge.


    Asag > flat tax – Why wouldn’t that be fair?

    flat tax has an allure of simplicity and looks fair, but really is not. It still takes more money from some people than from others. It also leaves unclear what is considered an income. Are people taxed for doing things themselves, such as washing their own dishes and teaching their own kids, for example?

    I do not see anyone in this thread defining their definition of appropriate taxes and support of poor.
    We are using our own feelings for what is appropriate and this leads to disagreements…

    We have certain criteria in halakha who qualifies for tamhui and other types of charity. I am not sure how the criteria change with the changes in wealth of the community… was charity different in Mehuza? Can we try deriving specific rules that can help understand what is appropriate in our times, when we are on average richer than in Mehuza?


    Or: so many posts, so many different topics.

    I would say that for most of us, economics was only brought in to give validity to other topics.

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    emes nisht sheker

    Asag – flat tax on what?

    Flat tax on wealth? So people like Jeff Bezos would have to sell X percent of their stock every year, thereby driving down the value of assets? Is there an exemption for the first X amount of wealth you have? Also, what are the standards for valuation? Do partnership interests get discounts? Apparently Donald Trump for various tax needs used one set of valuations and for borrowing needs used others.

    Do you mean a flat tax on income? How is income defined? Can you deduct depreciation? If the value of property increases then why allow a deduction for depreciation? What about charity? Should that be deducted? How about income earned overseas? Also what about corporate income and dividends? Should both corporate income and dividends be taxed? What about contributions to tax deferred accounts? Also is any income exempted from tax? Do we allow deductions for State and Local Taxes, what about sales taxes on purchases? Do we allow people to deduct lavish business meals or stadium tickets? I mean when you get down to it, I can call a tax a flat tax and make it as regressive or progressive as I like via all sorts of shenanigans.

    This reiterates my point that people reduce complex topics down to very simplistic black and white things. A flat tax in theory might sound fair to some or might sound easy, but in reality once you get past the words flat tax, it gets complicated.

    As an aside, as to fairness… Is it fair for the Fed to have kept interest rates so low, which has helped propel real estate and various other assets to higher values benefitting the wealthy? Not looking for an answer as that question is rhetorical (many would argue the Fed’s actions have been necessary… but if the standard is necessary then why focus on idealistic concepts of fairness when it comes to tax), but rather just trying to show the question of fairness can be looked at in many different ways and I think anyone suggesting there is a clear answer as to what is fair, is being a bit daft.


    Maybe exact level of fairness is unsolvable. How about some basic principles:

    – we get government involved only when there is no free enterprise solution
    – we get federal gov involved only when this issue is not solvable by states
    – when we get gov involved, we try not to destroy free enterprise
    – we solve problems of higher priority first. Save people before penguins. Deal with commies before killing oil productions.

    I think we can agree on a lot of things as long as we liit ourselves to such basic limitations

    emes nisht sheker

    AAQ – I don’t know if we can define basic principles to the extent you would like that we can all agree on. The constitution is in a sense the basic principles of how our government operates and there is a major divide on how it should be construed or whether it should be changed in various ways.

    I am not going to debate all the principles you laid out for the sake of brevity, but suffice it to say I see numerous issues with those four ideas that I would never want to see them set down as basic principles.

    How about just the last one, such as solving problems of higher priority first… If you think about it this principle is how we tend to all think in the first place, but in practical terms it does nothing to solve what is a more important issue. If I think climate change is one of the most critical issues, then perhaps I would suggest we prioritize that over commies. The principle does not itself answer what is higher priority and as a result is of little practical value.

    How about the third one… when government gets involved we try not to destroy free enterprise. I think everyone pretty much agrees with this and does not want to hurt business. That said, if I view climate change as a serious concern and you don’t, it will impact how we view environmental regulations relating to that that impact business. The principle again does not tell us how we value the underlying issues that drive policy.

    I am not sure this requires debate as I don’t think you are actually arguing for generic principles (at least with these two points… I think extends to the other points as well). Rather you seem to be arguing for certain ideas that you think are important over what others think (e.g. that dealing/competition with China is more critical then Climate Change. Or preservation concerns should essentially be taken off the table), which is unlikely there will ever be agreement on.

    Reb Eliezer

    AAQ, free enterprise only cares in not paying taxes but not for the poor, let them distrubute the excess money by setting up more foundations which helps them in the long run by increasing demand and growing the economy and not buying back their own stocks. Some states care and others don’t. what should the Federal government do?

    Reb Eliezer

    Why is the inequality between the rich and the poor constantly growing? Money makes money. The poor have no money to invest and create wealth.


    RebE >> Some states care and others don’t. what should the Federal government do?

    by Reb Adam Smith, free enterprise is good by definition as every exchange is considered beneficial for both sides. If you destroy the freedom premise, you destroy this underlying guarantee of success.

    except the most egregious cases, many Americans can – and do – vote with their feet. So, you can be in a state that taxes and distributes profits and provides free health care. There will be some moral hazard though – businesses will move to other states and people who want services will move to yours. So, you may want to establish some residency requirements – no welfare for first 3 years in a state. Most of people in your state will be happy with your policies and you will be re-elected with 90% of votes. Those who don’t like it will move to another state.

    Alternatively, you can try to take over federal government and force your love onto 50% of population that disagrees with you.

    I can understand the taavah (and gaavah) that socialists and progressives had 100 years ago when they wanted to immediately save the world by taking over countries. But, by now, you should be humble enough to know that not every good-sounding idea works, so why not try it in some states?

    I think the same idea works for Jews, as a nation. We are to show other nations that with Torah, we can build a great society, both respecting working people and helping poor, so that they can learn and emulate us וְאָֽמְר֗וּ רַ֚ק עַם־חָכָ֣ם וְנָב֔וֹן הַגּ֥וֹי הַגָּד֖וֹל הַזֶּֽה:


    > Why is the inequality between the rich and the poor constantly growing?

    maybe it seems so because we all are becoming richer and also have more access to information?
    also, you may be looking at most recent events:
    Indeed, According to ourworld of data income inequality, income of top 1% in UK was 20% of GDP in 1918, went slowly down to 5% in 1980 and back to 15% in 2005, fell to 12% in 2009. In US, it was 20% in 1920s, went down to 11% in 1977, and went up to 20% in 80s and 90s and stays there. Other former British countries show similar pattern in the 20s century with the bottom at 1980.
    France, Japan, Spain, Denmark peaked in 1920s at 20-25%, went down to 5-10% in 1940 and stayed there. I wonder how much inequality decreased after USSR disintegrated and communists started owning a lot of things openly, instead of keeping it all secretly.

    what about longer history? Gini index in UK stayed between 40 and 50 between 1700 and 1910, lowered to 25 in 1977 and went up to 35 in 1995 and stayed there

    a quick search shows estimates that Augustus owned 20% of Roman Empire, Genghis Khan and Chinese emperor Shenzong owned 30% of world GDP.

    so, things are much better now.

    Reb Eliezer

    Supply side economics, voodoo economics, has been shown that it does not work. If there is no demand, deflation will occur with a depression. So it is beneficial for free enterprise that people should have money buy goods and thereby increase demand. By paying more taxes, money will be distributed by government to the poor. If the rich hord their money, it does not help the economy as stated in Gresham’s Law, good money drives out the bad money. Hakesef koneh es hazahav, the good money, gold will be horded and not used as currency rather silver. the less valued will.

    Reb Eliezer

    I meant above min hatorah, kesef koneh es hazahav, maos konos. The rabonon established, meshicha konah in order that a person should protect someone else’s property before he took posession of it.

    Ben Levi

    Inequality is a more elegant way of saying
    ” I am jealous that others have more then me”.


    RebE >> Supply side economics, voodoo economics, has been shown that it does not work.

    I think a lot of proofs are heavy on rhetoric. First, a strawman (or an exaggerated claim of pro-suppliers): reducing taxes will increase collected taxes (quickly). Then, you can show that this is rarely true. this is, of course, is a crude logic of a roman tax-collector – how much can I farm from people?

    In truth, the first question is simply – would society be more productive with less taxes. According to wiki, Greg Mankiw _criticizes_ suppliers saying – ” “Tax cuts rarely pay for themselves… about one-third of the cost of a typical tax cut is recouped with faster economic growth”

    In plain Yinglish, this means that if government returns $100 to the taxpayers, taxpayers will generate $133 from it. Or, if gov takes $100, it leads to a collective loss of $33 ….
    Given that government spends almost 40% of US GDP, we are talking serious money lost here …

    Can you suggest _any_ policy that can help poor without throwing away 1/3 of it? (and 1/3 is average, the worst of policies are even less efficient)
    then, it should be implemented before doing what we are doing now.

    Avi K

    Akuperma, the highest level of tzedaka is to give someone a productive job. This is best accomplished by the free enterprise system as is seen in all times and places. It also works against discrimination without compulsion as Ludwig von Mises (“Omnipotent Government”) and Milton Friedman (“Capitalism and Freedom”) have shown.

    Reb Eliezer

    Under Reagan. we had the highest deficit at that time, so George H. W. Bush said that trickle down econimics by Milton Friedman is voodoo economics. When demand is low, there is no incentive to increase supply. Increasing supply will not necessarily increase demand.


    >> Under Reagan. we had the highest deficit at that time,

    RebE, please define “we”. I am sure you were managing. _Government_ had deficit because they returned money to the people and spent some to affect the world. What did we get for that money? We freed (a large part of) the world from Communism, taking away major supplier of sonei israel in the middle east; leading to ~ 2 mln Jews to leaving USSR; freeing whole Eastern Europe. All these millions of freed people surely increased demand eventually!


    the best indicator of the economy is the GDP, which if you observed its trend over the past few years, factor in the feds’ announcement about interest rates, and the move of small retail stores to big internet monopolies, it is obvious that certainly a flat tax isn’t feasible, and even staggered taxes–using any model thusfar introduced–can’t stop the slow but steady inflation. according to the most optimistic reports, the value of the dollar will HALVE within one decade. I think the only real solution is to switch to a new currency, backed not by silver but by grain.

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