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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: unplugged on March 01, 2013, 06:08:49 AM

Title: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 01, 2013, 06:08:49 AM
If a person is ERE, and hey have kids, do they qualify for government benefits? I read it's based on income and dividends alone can look like a low income to someone not familiar with ERE etc..? Would an ERE family qualify for medicaid health, WIC, Food stamps, earned income credit, free lunch, and things of this nature?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: bo_knows on March 01, 2013, 07:28:42 AM
I believe they do technically qualify.  There is a fellow on the early-retirement.org forums talking about his plan to retire at 35 with 2 kids, doing just that (food stamps, free lunches, etc) because the amount that they actually live on is below whatever threshold.  I think he's looking at a $1.2M portfolio.

Though, to eventually get SS when you're of "full retirement age", you need to have logged earned income in 40 "quarters" of various years.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 01, 2013, 07:31:53 AM
Could someone in theory early retire this way? By meeting the eligibility requirements via ERE?

Here is a sample of what I mean.
http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/income-analysis.jpg (http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/income-analysis.jpg)

This chart would be an example of someone giving up a 60K job to a low paying job but ending up with the same results on the end. The article I saw this on mentioned that the low income job actually gave more spending money than the 60k job did.



Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 01, 2013, 07:37:28 AM
I believe they do technically qualify.  There is a fellow on the early-retirement.org forums talking about his plan to retire at 35 with 2 kids, doing just that (food stamps, free lunches, etc) because the amount that they actually live on is below whatever threshold.  I think he's looking at a $1.2M portfolio.

Though, to eventually get SS when you're of "full retirement age", you need to have logged earned income in 40 "quarters" of various years.

From adding these 2 posts together, knowing we have the 40 quarters, I guess my husband could quit his job today, work fast food , and we would have no lifestyle change.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: NumberCruncher on March 01, 2013, 07:40:34 AM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Christiana on March 01, 2013, 08:06:53 AM
Some benefits (at least in my state) have asset limits as well as income limits.  Also, the process of applying for and maintaining all those benefits can be almost a job in itself.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: StetsTerhune on March 01, 2013, 08:11:12 AM
Could someone in theory early retire this way? By meeting the eligibility requirements via ERE?

Of course you 'can.' That's like asking if someone could retire early by sleeping in homeless shelters.

To quote Office Space: "You don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin: he's broke, don't do shit."
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Spork on March 01, 2013, 08:42:06 AM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?

This.

To apply mustachianism to government: Don't buy things you don't need.  This would include forcibly taking money from working non-retired people and give it to ERE folks that just chose not to work.

I'm not a big fan of handouts in general, but I do understand the arguments behind them.  I don't think this meets any of the arguments behind them.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on March 01, 2013, 09:02:45 AM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?

This.

To apply mustachianism to government: Don't buy things you don't need.  This would include forcibly take money from working non-retired people and give it to ERE folks that just chose not to work.

I'm not a big fan of handouts in general, but I do understand the arguments behind them.  I don't think this meets any of the arguments behind them.

I find the question of the OP extremely offensive, unethical and IMO should be criminal. Social safety nets, which IMO are too expansive and too long, do provide a valuable contribution to support those experiencing very difficult times for any number of reasons - ERE is not one of them.  If this is the OPs intended strategy then I hope it fails miserably. 

Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: KimAB on March 01, 2013, 09:30:33 AM
  There is a fellow on the early-retirement.org forums talking about his plan to retire at 35 with 2 kids, doing just that (food stamps, free lunches, etc) because the amount that they actually live on is below whatever threshold.  I think he's looking at a $1.2M portfolio.

I think that is obnoxious!   It truly disgusts me that someone in their 30's would retire, life off interest and social programs. 
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: GuitarStv on March 01, 2013, 09:33:50 AM
I am a big fan of government handouts.  I'm a big supporter of redistribution of wealth.  I'm happy to know that my taxes go in part to help those in dire circumstances.  In my opinion, helping others who need food, education, and a place to live is a not just altruistic . . . but also helps to reduce crime rates and generally makes the world better for ME to live in too.  It gives people a chance at a better life and an opportunity to turn around and benefit society.  I don't think that the safety nets we have are expansive enough frankly.

That said, what you're suggesting is playing the social net for personal gain and is pretty clearly unethical.  It flies in the face of what those programs are for, and shouldn't be tolerated as acceptable behaviour.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: TheDude on March 01, 2013, 09:34:13 AM
I think this is an interesting discussion. Earlier I asked a question in the forum about minimizing taxes (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/hypothetical-tax-situation/msg3939/#msg3939). This would include receiving a credit so actually paying negative income tax. The consonances  seems to be that minimizing taxes would be the best thing to do.

Is it different getting a tax credit via income tax vs using the social safety net programs (i.e. welfare. food stamps, wic CHP+ etc) Also how does one draw the line when it comes to medicare and SS?

I don't think its as black and white as this thread is making it out to be. Personally the only thing I would take advantage of is CHP+ because its incredible insurance. 
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: etselec on March 01, 2013, 09:59:54 AM
I will echo TheDude's question - I am curious why people feel that benefits administered through the tax code are different than ones that are not.

For what it's worth, I think that what the OP is asking about is unethical, but that it should be entirely legal. Means-testing laws that count savings penalize people who are trying to get out of poverty. Could you imagine not being allowed to build up an emergency fund or save to replace a car with cash? That is crazy and it's bad policy.

So if an extremely small number of people (and make no mistake - it's an infinitesimal fraction of people on these programs, many of which have asset-testing in the first place) want to do what the OP is suggesting, then fine. Stopping them isn't worth the cost of the damage it would do to the people who really need the program.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: jenstill on March 01, 2013, 10:20:49 AM
In states/programs that don't do asset tests, certainly you could. I know this because in my situation -- single, working mother of 4 -- people are CONSTANTLY telling me I should quit my job and either not work at all or work part-time for minimum wage so that we can live better than we do now. I should clarify: I don't mean random people who don't know what they're talking about. I mean the people that are administering these programs; I deal with them often trying to get assistance for residents at my various properties (for my job, not my personally-owned rental properties). And out of curiosity, I actually did the math. It's true; I could quit my job -- not get fired; quit -- and live a life equal to the one we are living now for housing and food and BETTER than what we have now for insurance coverage, heating our home, after-school care and programs for kids, upcoming college costs and/or continuing education for myself if I wanted it, reduced or eliminated student loan payments, and numerous other programs such as weatherization services, financial planning and savings-match programs, and so on. The reduced stress for me of constantly juggling income and expenses would be a big impact too.

I won't quit my job, though. And if I happen to get fired for any reason, I'll get another job. For all of the reasons posted above about why this is unethical and also because I want my children to learn and see that doing the right thing isn't always the easiest thing, and that we are responsible for ourselves. Learning all that I have from MMM and from you all in the forums is helping to make doing the right thing easier and I'm teaching my kids these things too.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 01, 2013, 10:22:45 AM
I am not asking for myself. If you have read anything I have posted my leanings are quite clear LOL. 

I just put some pieces of a puzzle together from an article here yesterday of a family living off 14K.  Then I know a family here that seem to be doing some things that don't add up.  Their particular line of work and huge family size, low income, but so many perks, free college for whole clan, always puzzled me.

How often do the rich take advantage of govt programs I wonder? I am seeing that the guidelines vary by state. A northeastern millionaire couple are qualifying for tons of stuff because they retired really early. They are living off savings so technically have no "income" until they reach retirement age.

The guy doing all this at the ER site is an atty. Makes you wonder what he saw in his work to make him take this direction. He does not respond to criticism and ignore the post that question the ethics of this.

Sounds to me like we have some loop holes to close.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: tkaraszewski on March 01, 2013, 10:31:51 AM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?

Eh, I've been legally forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on useless stealth planes and drones to blow up Iraqis for my entire working career. Why should I feel bad about taking advantage of that system? This isn't something I'm actually doing or planning on doing, but considering how the government wastes my tax money I would hardly feel guilty about getting some of it back.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: mpbaker22 on March 01, 2013, 10:36:30 AM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?

One could say the same about the government.  If they've been collecting my taxes, don't I have a right to collect it back?

I initially had the same though, but when you think about it, what is unethical about doing to the government what it does to us?  Taxes are not only my largest expense, but they are more than 50% of all my expenses!
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 01, 2013, 10:43:22 AM
I am not asking for myself. If you have read anything I have posted my leanings are quite clear LOL. 

I just put some pieces of a puzzle together from an article here yesterday of a family living off 14K.  Then I know a family here that seem to be doing some things that don't add up.  Their particular line of work and huge family size, low income, but so many perks, free college for whole clan, always puzzled me.

How often do the rich take advantage of govt programs I wonder? I am seeing that the guidelines vary by state. A northeastern millionaire couple are qualifying for tons of stuff because they retired really early. They are living off savings so technically have no "income" until they reach retirement age.

The guy doing all this at the ER site is an atty. Makes you wonder what he saw in his work to make him take this direction. He does not respond to criticism and ignore the post that question the ethics of this.

Sounds to me like we have some loop holes to close.

Again, I am asking because I am annoyed not that I would participate. My husband and I have felt like the "workers"  at 60-70 hours a week. Then we see non workers have a better lifestyle than us. We sometimes feel like we pay certain people's bills. I REALLY get annoyed when people on the dole criticize us for the long hours my spouse works.  It's just sort of funny to think what would happen if all the workers decided to play the game too. Who would pay all the bills then?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: tooqk4u22 on March 01, 2013, 10:46:46 AM
Eh, I've been legally forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on useless stealth planes and drones to blow up Iraqis for my entire working career. Why should I feel bad about taking advantage of that system? This isn't something I'm actually doing or planning on doing, but considering how the government wastes my tax money I would hardly feel guilty about getting some of it back.


One could say the same about the government.  If they've been collecting my taxes, don't I have a right to collect it back?

I initially had the same though, but when you think about it, what is unethical about doing to the government what it does to us?  Taxes are not only my largest expense, but they are more than 50% of all my expenses!

My views on government are clear in many posts - too big and too much spending in a very inefficient and unproductive way and it needs to be trimmed across the board. 

But the two quotes above do make a valid point - if you can't beat em then join em, although that is exactly what the gov't wants - greater dependency so if too many do it we fail together.


Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: DoubleDown on March 01, 2013, 11:18:05 AM

I won't quit my job, though. And if I happen to get fired for any reason, I'll get another job.

Kudos to you jenstill, too bad everyone won't act honorably like this! And I wouldn't be surprised if you are in the minority since such a strong incentive is being given in cases like yours not to work for a living -- hell you're even being blatantly encouraged by the people that administer these programs to use them and stop working!

It's inevitable that when government offers tax deductions, credits, and assistance programs that people are going to take advantage of them. Too bad the wrong incentive is offered so often.

Interesting (and unfortunate) that in some places an ERE person could qualify for assistance programs. Similar to a news story about a year ago where a multi-million dollar lottery winner was continuing to collect food stamps each month. At least the legislature in that state (Michigan??) closed the loophole as a result of the publicized story.

In some ways I guess you could say any of us retiring "early" will benefit by paying far less in income taxes, but I certainly have no ethical qualms about that. And I guess if we earned so little (doubtful) that we automatically qualified for some kind of earned income credit I would take it! I've certainly done more than my fair share paying in over the years. I never feel bad about taking advantage of any tax deductions/credits that are offered, as much of an overall poor public policy I might think it is. Why the government feels the need to give incentives to certain behaviors through tax policy (mortgage interest deductions, etc.), creating a 50-billion page tax code in the process, is beyond me, besides the obvious lobbying/influence industry. But if deductions/credits are available, I'm using them.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: mpbaker22 on March 01, 2013, 11:23:46 AM
My views on government are clear in many posts - too big and too much spending in a very inefficient and unproductive way and it needs to be trimmed across the board. 

But the two quotes above do make a valid point - if you can't beat em then join em, although that is exactly what the gov't wants - greater dependency so if too many do it we fail together.
And I share your view on government which is precisely why I think it's not unethical.  Normally unethical behavior is not justified as a response to other unethical behavior.  However, this would only be unethical in that it's a sort of 'stealing' from the government, but the government is 'stealing' from me (or that's how i view it).  So, what's unethical about 'stealing' what's rightfully mine?  It's an interesting question that maybe needs some more thought to form a better argument.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Spork on March 01, 2013, 12:30:19 PM
My views on government are clear in many posts - too big and too much spending in a very inefficient and unproductive way and it needs to be trimmed across the board. 

But the two quotes above do make a valid point - if you can't beat em then join em, although that is exactly what the gov't wants - greater dependency so if too many do it we fail together.
And I share your view on government which is precisely why I think it's not unethical.  Normally unethical behavior is not justified as a response to other unethical behavior.  However, this would only be unethical in that it's a sort of 'stealing' from the government, but the government is 'stealing' from me (or that's how i view it).  So, what's unethical about 'stealing' what's rightfully mine?  It's an interesting question that maybe needs some more thought to form a better argument.

While I share the same basic opinion ... I come to a different conclusion.  If instead of thinking of "the government stealing from you and you stealing back"... think of it as
a) the government steals from you and gives to person X
b) the government steals from person Y and gives to you.

It's not quite stealing back.  It's more "stealing again."  I think of this as lose-lose.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: dragoncar on March 01, 2013, 12:49:54 PM
I wouldn't count on it -- you never know when a program will be cut or an asset test added.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 01, 2013, 12:51:31 PM
One could say the same about the government.  If they've been collecting my taxes, don't I have a right to collect it back?

Depends on whether what you're getting back is more than what you're putting in, doesn't it?

If you want to be even halfway honest, you might want to subtract the value of those government programs that you a) actually use; or b) support.  So I personally would have no problem getting back what the government spends on e.g. anti-drug programs, but would gladly contribute a few bucks extra for the things I do support.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Tyler on March 01, 2013, 01:08:28 PM
Interesting conversation.

Does everyone here have the same ethical problem with taking advantage of legal government financial assistance when it applies to healthcare premiums when the ACA is rolled out?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: matchewed on March 01, 2013, 01:23:01 PM
My take on it is all about intention. The intent of food stamp programs is aid for those who can't provide for themselves; if you are FIRE this does not apply to you IMO. Something such as ACA has the intention of maximizing the number of people with health insurance; I think you can look into reasonable options within the law in that case.

Of course his heavily depends on your personal code of ethics.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: anastrophe on March 01, 2013, 01:36:36 PM
I wouldn't count on it -- you never know when a program will be cut or an asset test added.

This.

In my state, SNAP has an asset test that limits you to something like $2K in assets, excluding retirement accounts and houses, but including all savings and taxable accounts. And a lot of these programs are state-specific, so whether it would be technically possible would probably depend on what your assets are and where you are---not a yes/no answer.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: dragoncar on March 01, 2013, 03:15:22 PM
I wouldn't count on it -- you never know when a program will be cut or an asset test added.

This.

In my state, SNAP has an asset test that limits you to something like $2K in assets, excluding retirement accounts and houses, but including all savings and taxable accounts. And a lot of these programs are state-specific, so whether it would be technically possible would probably depend on what your assets are and where you are---not a yes/no answer.

Interestingly, I recently discovered that a lot of states have abolished or increased the asset limits, even though the official websites still quote the $2k number.  It's disappointing that the official sites can't convey accurate info.

http://scorecard.assetsandopportunity.org/2013/measure/lifting-asset-limits-in-public-benefit-programs
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: mpbaker22 on March 01, 2013, 05:55:12 PM
One could say the same about the government.  If they've been collecting my taxes, don't I have a right to collect it back?

Depends on whether what you're getting back is more than what you're putting in, doesn't it?

If you want to be even halfway honest, you might want to subtract the value of those government programs that you a) actually use; or b) support.  So I personally would have no problem getting back what the government spends on e.g. anti-drug programs, but would gladly contribute a few bucks extra for the things I do support.

I would actually support the anti-drug programs, if they were run efficiently and effectively.
It's other things, like WIC, SNAP, etc. that I don't support. (There are many others, these are just examples.)
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Nudelkopf on March 01, 2013, 06:13:15 PM
Sure, if I retire early and am a "low-income earner", then the government will pay for my kids to go to uni (that's how it is now anywyay). No guilt about it. I'd be in that situation now with my parents being retired.. but they earn only $4k too much per yr. Meanwhile everyone is incredulous that I *don't*get centre link. Government allowances for uni students is pretty much the norm amongst my peers. (I'm too young to qualify on my own).
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: NICE! on March 01, 2013, 06:23:35 PM
Don't steal, the government hates competition.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: destron on March 01, 2013, 07:08:31 PM
I will echo TheDude's question - I am curious why people feel that benefits administered through the tax code are different than ones that are not.

If we are talking about a negative income tax, I think it is equally unethical.

For what it's worth, I think that what the OP is asking about is unethical, but that it should be entirely legal. Means-testing laws that count savings penalize people who are trying to get out of poverty. Could you imagine not being allowed to build up an emergency fund or save to replace a car with cash? That is crazy and it's bad policy.

It doesn't have to be a dichotomy. In other words, you don't have to be destitute to receive assistance with means testing.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: kelly1mm on March 02, 2013, 03:28:39 AM
Interesting conversation.

Does everyone here have the same ethical problem with taking advantage of legal government financial assistance when it applies to healthcare premiums when the ACA is rolled out?

I certainly am planning on taking the max financial assistance under ACA.  It is, in effect, cutting 4-6 years off my retirement date by doing so.  In fact, it was the ACA bieng found constitutional that led me first to ERE then here.  Not a super high earner to begin with and not as young as some of you (mid 40's) but will be retired in less than 10 years from 'seeing the light'.  ACA is a BIG part of why that can happen.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Spork on March 02, 2013, 06:58:25 AM
Interesting conversation.

Does everyone here have the same ethical problem with taking advantage of legal government financial assistance when it applies to healthcare premiums when the ACA is rolled out?

I certainly am planning on taking the max financial assistance under ACA.  It is, in effect, cutting 4-6 years off my retirement date by doing so.  In fact, it was the ACA bieng found constitutional that led me first to ERE then here.  Not a super high earner to begin with and not as young as some of you (mid 40's) but will be retired in less than 10 years from 'seeing the light'.  ACA is a BIG part of why that can happen.

Just curious: what have you computed your health insurance cost to be with/without ACA?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: spoonman on March 02, 2013, 10:30:44 AM
I'm glad to see this thread taking shape, lots of interesting practical and ethical concerns being discussed.

Right now I am notionally planning to keep using a High Deductible Health Plan with a HSA that I'm plowing money into right now.  It's still unclear (to me at least) what will happen to HDHP once the ACA goes into full effect in 2014.

The HDHP was going to be my way of not being dependent in any way on the government, but I'm not sure if it will remain a viable option after 2014.

One thing I know for sure though: there's no way in hell I will ever be collecting food stamps or some of the other government assistance in FI.  I think those programs are meant for those in genuine need.  I say that from experience: my family (my dad, my brother, and I) had a genuine need back in the mid 90's.  I don't even want to know what our fate would've been had food stamps not been available too us.  A year or so later we managed without assistance and have never looked back since.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Blindsquirrel on March 02, 2013, 11:22:30 AM
   Well, I say go for it. Would rather see my tax dollars go to a wise moustachian than just about any other thing the US gov flushes money on. Between my wife and I we paid various taxing authorities an absolute great big Efffen stack of cash and we got jack squat for it.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: grantmeaname on March 02, 2013, 01:09:20 PM
   Well, I say go for it. Would rather see my tax dollars go to a wise moustachian than just about any other thing the US gov flushes money on. Between my wife and I we paid various taxing authorities an absolute great big Efffen stack of cash and we got jack squat for it.
Wise Mustachians value independence and self-sufficiency.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Blindsquirrel on March 02, 2013, 02:01:51 PM
   Very true, they also value efficiency. What is more efficient that getting paid or fed for for no work involved? Pays pretty well per hour of work I think. The efficiency approaches infinity once the forms are filled out. My only point was well, governments swiped a ton of loot from me, would rather see it go to a fellow traveler.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: kelly1mm on March 02, 2013, 11:40:16 PM
Interesting conversation.

Does everyone here have the same ethical problem with taking advantage of legal government financial assistance when it applies to healthcare premiums when the ACA is rolled out?

I certainly am planning on taking the max financial assistance under ACA.  It is, in effect, cutting 4-6 years off my retirement date by doing so.  In fact, it was the ACA bieng found constitutional that led me first to ERE then here.  Not a super high earner to begin with and not as young as some of you (mid 40's) but will be retired in less than 10 years from 'seeing the light'.  ACA is a BIG part of why that can happen.

Just curious: what have you computed your health insurance cost to be with/without ACA?

Just using the amount now provided by the insurance we now have (BC/BS) we pay $900 per year for family plan.  The school board pays the other $15,600.  So, I figured that we would need about that per year between retirement and medicaid, then a lessor, but still significant amount.  Our non-health care retirement budget is a bit under $20k per year (already down to 26k per year with working costs included) so about 22k with ACA subsidy vs. 35k with paying full freight ourselves.  Basically, the ACA takes 13k worth of annual expenses away equating to $325,000 less I have to have in the stash before retirement.  That is about 7 years worth of our curent savings rate.

That being said, I have learned that there are other ways to get health insurance (HSA w/ HDHP) that could lower the cost.  It was the realizaton that the cost of insurance could be lower once ACA kicks in that got me moving toward MMM so I am happy for that. 
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: SwordGuy on March 03, 2013, 08:54:48 AM
   Very true, they also value efficiency. What is more efficient that getting paid or fed for for no work involved? Pays pretty well per hour of work I think. The efficiency approaches infinity once the forms are filled out. My only point was well, governments swiped a ton of loot from me, would rather see it go to a fellow traveler.

The problem with nice rationales for stealing is that they are just rationales and it's still stealing.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: WFUDEAC on March 03, 2013, 09:09:40 AM
creating a 50-billion page tax code in the process, is beyond me,


What a gross exaggeration! While I completely agree that the U.S Tax Code is overly complicated it isn't even over 100,000 pages.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 03, 2013, 09:12:43 AM
Very true, they also value efficiency. What is more efficient that getting paid or fed for for no work involved? Pays pretty well per hour of work I think. The efficiency approaches infinity once the forms are filled out. My only point was well, governments swiped a ton of loot from me, would rather see it go to a fellow traveler.

The problem with nice rationales for stealing is that they are just rationales and it's still stealing.

QFT. Two wrongs never make a right, as this is nothing more than vengeance logic. If everyone embraces this sort of literal lex talionis, everyone would be blind and toothless. The world needs more forgiveness and mercy, even of the wrong-headed and greedy. The thing is, the people get the government they deserve. Just because you feel your government is greedy and corrupt doesn't give you license to be just as greedy and corrupt back. You don't like getting ripped off with your taxes? Support and represent behaviors that don't continue to feed that behavior of corruption, greed and entitlement.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Blindsquirrel on March 03, 2013, 09:24:54 AM
   I do apologize a bit for the trollesque comments, I have just spent about a zillion hrs doing our taxes and it  made me  churlish.  Taxes are our largest expense by a factor of 2.5 over all other spending combined. Not only do they steal so much, they make it painful and I wiz away many hours that I could be doing something I enjoy.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: SwordGuy on March 03, 2013, 09:41:55 AM
Very true, they also value efficiency. What is more efficient that getting paid or fed for for no work involved? Pays pretty well per hour of work I think. The efficiency approaches infinity once the forms are filled out. My only point was well, governments swiped a ton of loot from me, would rather see it go to a fellow traveler.

The problem with nice rationales for stealing is that they are just rationales and it's still stealing.

QFT. Two wrongs never make a right, as this is nothing more than vengeance logic. If everyone embraces this sort of literal lex talionis, everyone would be blind and toothless. The world needs more forgiveness and mercy, even of the wrong-headed and greedy. The thing is, the people get the government they deserve. Just because you feel your government is greedy and corrupt doesn't give you license to be just as greedy and corrupt back. You don't like getting ripped off with your taxes? Support and represent behaviors that don't continue to feed that behavior of corruption, greed and entitlement.

Well said.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Blindsquirrel on March 03, 2013, 10:38:02 AM
The problem with nice rationales for stealing is that they are just rationales and it's still stealing.

 I would not call all those who receive government benefits that they qualify for as thieves.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: grantmeaname on March 03, 2013, 10:54:27 AM
No, certianly not all of them. But I would definitely call some of those who receive government benefits they qualify for thieves. One example of this group is people who are independently worth upwards of half a million dollars and choose not to support some of their needs and instead overload programs that already have trouble with their funding.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 03, 2013, 10:57:42 AM
The thing is, the people get the government they deserve.

False.  The problem is that I (and other Mustachians & the rest of the sensible minorities) are getting the government that the foolish majority deserves.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Tyler on March 03, 2013, 11:14:50 AM
No, certianly not all of them. But I would definitely call some of those who receive government benefits they qualify for thieves. One example of this group is people who are independently worth upwards of half a million dollars and choose not to support some of their needs and instead overload programs that already have trouble with their funding.

How do you feel about social security?  Should people who diligently saved over the years forego their rightful SS payments so that those who saved nothing can have a more secure money source?  And if so, does that not incentivize wasteful spending?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: grantmeaname on March 03, 2013, 11:21:48 AM
You mean how do I feel about receiving SS benefits? Social security isn't means tested, which suggests to me that it's not expected that you forego it in order to support yourself. Hopefully you can see that that's a pretty colossal difference between social security and SNAP or WIC.

Of course, as someone who is going to retire with way less than 30 years of earnings, I don't expect to receive much in the way of social security anyway.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 03, 2013, 11:36:38 AM
The thing is, the people get the government they deserve.

False.  The problem is that I (and other Mustachians & the rest of the sensible minorities) are getting the government that the foolish majority deserves.

Then do more to combat that issue. Educate the foolish and actively do something positive about it either for the sake of yourself, or better still your fellow man. Silent complacency is just as much a contributer to the corruption as is active participation in same said corruption. At least then, you can stand up and denounce that corruption with integrity instead of hypocrisy.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: John74 on March 03, 2013, 11:42:34 AM
IMO, you are not financially independent if you depend on anyone else (including the government) to pay your bills.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 03, 2013, 01:35:09 PM
The thing is, the people get the government they deserve.

False.  The problem is that I (and other Mustachians & the rest of the sensible minorities) are getting the government that the foolish majority deserves.

Then do more to combat that issue. Educate the foolish and actively do something positive about it either for the sake of yourself, or better still your fellow man. Silent complacency is just as much a contributer to the corruption as is active participation in same said corruption. At least then, you can stand up and denounce that corruption with integrity instead of hypocrisy.

Sure.  And when your attempts (which in my case meant spending quite a bit of time and money) to educate the foolish and do something positive turn out to be complete and utter failures?

Just to be clear, I have nothing in particular against corruption.  Take the legislator voting to make guns illegal, fund the drug war, destroy the groundwater over a whole state, or whatever the latest batch of insanity is: do I really give a damn whether they are doing it because they're for sale to the highest bidder, or because in their short-sighted stupidity they honestly think they're doing the right thing?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 03, 2013, 03:15:06 PM
The thing is, the people get the government they deserve.

False.  The problem is that I (and other Mustachians & the rest of the sensible minorities) are getting the government that the foolish majority deserves.

Then do more to combat that issue. Educate the foolish and actively do something positive about it either for the sake of yourself, or better still your fellow man. Silent complacency is just as much a contributer to the corruption as is active participation in same said corruption. At least then, you can stand up and denounce that corruption with integrity instead of hypocrisy.

Sure.  And when your attempts (which in my case meant spending quite a bit of time and money) to educate the foolish and do something positive turn out to be complete and utter failures?

Just to be clear, I have nothing in particular against corruption.  Take the legislator voting to make guns illegal, fund the drug war, destroy the groundwater over a whole state, or whatever the latest batch of insanity is: do I really give a damn whether they are doing it because they're for sale to the highest bidder, or because in their short-sighted stupidity they honestly think they're doing the right thing?

Tell you what, you actually get to that point, we'll talk more then.

The fact of the matter is, if you're not willing to give everything up for what you believe, you're going to have to accept the fact that you are part of that system, for better or for worse... and that means you do deserve the very government you cry out against. You can't escape the reality that part of that very same graft and corruption that you may dislike is in at least some small way contributing to your success and ability to hit FIRE. Have the grace and dignity to accept the situation for what it is and work to do what good and fruitful acts you can by being thankful that you are where you are in this world as it could always be far worse, and have the decency to avoid contributing to the ills of the world further by willfully doing unto others the very actions that upset you. Otherwise, you're a fool who deserves to be told to go pound sand every time you whine about the ills and injustices of your government and the world to others from atop your mountain of possessions.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 03, 2013, 05:42:53 PM
The fact of the matter is, if you're not willing to give everything up for what you believe, you're going to have to accept the fact that you are part of that system, for better or for worse...

Nice try at weaseling away from the point :-)  But regardless of what I am willing to give up, or have given up, why do I effing deserve the government I've gotten, any more than say those folks in Russia deserved to have a meteor explode over their heads?

Or FTM, why do I deserve being subjected to rap from cars that pull up next to me at a light?  Now I could readily sacrifice much - say by tossing a hand grenade in their window - to stop that particular instance, but I don't see that particular tactic as having much prospect of long-term success.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 03, 2013, 06:06:59 PM
The fact of the matter is, if you're not willing to give everything up for what you believe, you're going to have to accept the fact that you are part of that system, for better or for worse...

Nice try at weaseling away from the point :-)  But regardless of what I am willing to give up, or have given up, why do I effing deserve the government I've gotten, any more than say those folks in Russia deserved to have a meteor explode over their heads?

I'm hardly weaseling out of the point, my friend. I dislike this every action in a vacuum concept that's popular with the Randian set, because it's ridiculously disingenuous... just like your example. Meteor debris from space can be considered an act of G-d. Your government is an indirect result of your aggregate actions. The money you collect, the goods you spend it on, the taxes you pay, the votes you cast, the infrastructure you support all exist as an inseparable conglomerate. So long as you take any part of it, you've helped create this monster. You can't just take advantage of and cling to the good parts you agree with and cast aside the evils as though they're completely separate. They aren't. They're two sides to the same 'effing coin.

I'm not saying you have to agree with everything the government does, L-rd knows I don't... but the difference is, I don't whinge and complain about the corruption in my government or spin specious arguments to try and defend doing what I know to be the wrong thing in my own life towards others just because they're doing it too. That very action not only greatly removes you out of the "passive victim" camp, but indicts you as a culprit. If I'm recalling correctly, some brown skinned feller in a bedsheet and glasses once said something about being the change in the world that you want to see. If there's something happening around you that you dislike, either do something productive about it or remove yourself from the situation before you even consider grinding an axe about it.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 04, 2013, 11:22:01 AM
Aaaaaaaaa let people vent, it's healthy! Plus this is a TOUGH, BADAZZ, FACE PUNCHING site, we can tolerate it! We can't dictate how others deal with frustrations.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 04, 2013, 11:31:19 AM
Meteor debris from space can be considered an act of G-d. Your government is an indirect result of your aggregate actions.

Again wrong.  The government I suffer acts in the way it does in spite of my actions.  Maybe that's the way the majority of people really want it to act, but I am not part of that majority, so why do I deserve what the majority wants but I do not? 

Further, I am not omnipotent, nor even particularly rich & powerful, so I can't change the behavior of any significant number of my fellow humans in any meaningful way.  I know I deserve to be a god, but unfortunately nature had other ideas :-)
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 04, 2013, 12:37:00 PM
Meteor debris from space can be considered an act of G-d. Your government is an indirect result of your aggregate actions.

Again wrong.  The government I suffer acts in the way it does in spite of my actions.  Maybe that's the way the majority of people really want it to act, but I am not part of that majority, so why do I deserve what the majority wants but I do not?

I'm sorry, James, but I'm calling bullshit.

Quote
The money you collect, the goods you spend it on, the taxes you pay, the votes you cast, the infrastructure you support all exist as an inseparable conglomerate. So long as you take any part of it, you've helped create this monster. You can't just take advantage of and cling to the good parts you agree with and cast aside the evils as though they're completely separate. They aren't. They're two sides to the same 'effing coin.

You do deserve the government you have because you participate in the society that created it and you clearly think it's acceptable to actively play the very games that have created the problems you despise right here with our very conversation. All actions have repercussions, and like the rest of us, you're hardly a saint amongst the masses. Take some genuine responsibility for your actions instead of being yet another irresponsible tool that plays the blame game just like the people you snub. We're in this together, and the sooner you realize that and stop behaving like the very people you denigrate, maybe then your actions to make the world a better place might be a bit more fruitful.

You know what though, keep being your own self-righteous, defeatist contrarian self if that's what makes you happy. Keep blaming others for your woes and throw some more "FML" pity parties. By all means, keep being a part of the very problems you denounce by behaving the exact same way as your "foolish majority" would and telling yourself you don't deserve the government you have. Keep missing that forest for the trees. Clearly, it helps you sleep better at night.


Edit: Aww, you poor thing. Go pound sand down a rathole.



Aaaaaaaaa let people vent, it's healthy! Plus this is a TOUGH, BADAZZ, FACE PUNCHING site, we can tolerate it! We can't dictate how others deal with frustrations.

My point speaks more towards the hypocrisy of Jamesqf's position specifically. It's okay to vent, it's okay to disagree... but one of the biggest glaring problems with modern society is a complete disregard for personal accountability and responsibility. All actions have repercussions, and nothing happens in a vacuum. The greatest woes in our communities, government and world are rooted deeply in this behavior. This forum, of any place online, pays great lip service to that ideal of personal accountability and responsibility... yet the incredible blind spot that people like James here have to that very notion in their own lives is downright laughable. "Everyone's an island unto himself and deserves everything he gets, except me."

Pull the other leg a while, buddy, this one's getting sore.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: clutchy on March 04, 2013, 10:17:26 PM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?

This.

To apply mustachianism to government: Don't buy things you don't need.  This would include forcibly taking money from working non-retired people and give it to ERE folks that just chose not to work.

I'm not a big fan of handouts in general, but I do understand the arguments behind them.  I don't think this meets any of the arguments behind them.

Well put Spork.

Retiring early is a choice.  To add government assistance to the equation to force it to work is not appropriate.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: kelly1mm on March 04, 2013, 10:50:29 PM
Maybe technically...but that's ethically icky feeling. Why take handouts when you don't need them?

This.

To apply mustachianism to government: Don't buy things you don't need.  This would include forcibly taking money from working non-retired people and give it to ERE folks that just chose not to work.

I'm not a big fan of handouts in general, but I do understand the arguments behind them.  I don't think this meets any of the arguments behind them.

Well put Spork.

Retiring early is a choice.  To add government assistance to the equation to force it to work is not appropriate.

Does this apply to the upcoming ACA subsidies as well?  Upthread I spoke about how my day finding out about ERE, which led me here, was the day that the ACA was found constitutional.  Knowing that, and that the ACA would subsidize about 80-90% of my health insurance cost of about $16,000 per year, so long as I kept my income (not spending, just income) down to the 20k-25k range, basically cut my needed stash in half. 

So, while some (including me) may say that retiring early and collecting food stamps may be a bit unethical, am I a hypocrite for planning on taking the ACA subsidy?

Further, the way things are planed out, I will be totally avoiding all income tax on about $140k of 403b money by taking out just enough to have the standard deduction+ 2 exemptions ($19,500 in 2012) wipe out my income tax on the withdrawals.  Is that 'subsidy' wrong as well?

My state (MD) allows for a real estate cap based on income.  With our 'income' being about 20k per year, instead of paying $2700 per year in RE taxes, we will be capped at just over $1200.  Is that 'subsidy' wrong as well?

Not really arguing either way.  I can see both sides.  But, isn't it just one more step to say that us, generally higher earning/higher taxpaying citizens thus owe it to society to keep working in order to fund others less fortunate than us?  Just putting it out there for discussion.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on March 05, 2013, 12:47:35 AM
Rich people have no issues taking advantage of any "legal" tax loophole. Setting up shell corporations, shuffling money from one place to another, whatever. Anything they can do to reduce their tax liability.

Why can't poor people do the same? If there's a government program that says "If your income < $XXXX, and assets are under <$YYYY, then you get $ZZZ in food stamps", why is that so different? Same net affect; the government is getting less money from you.

Why is it ok when we're talking hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars; but not ok when we're talking hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars?

Here's how I look at it. I may or may not agree with various tax deductions/credits, government handouts, etc. But if I qualify, I'm not going to feel guilty about it. Not if it's a government program that our elected officials voted into place, that has clear rules that I follow.

I don't like the idea of forced unemployment INSURANCE. That's money I could put in an emergency fund, retirement account, whatever. But we're FORCED to have it (well, in the US anyways). So if we become eligible for a claim, I have no problem filing a claim. Just as I have no problem filing a claim with my automobile INSURANCE that I'm forced to have.

I think the food stamp/SNAP program may need some changes. But if we qualify, why not?

I have to abide by laws that are a detriment to me, why can't I take advantage of the ones that would be a benefit?

Yes, many will say that you should follow the "spirit" of the program. Again...what about the doctors that bought SUVs due to some tax loophole years ago? Or those who get tax-free housing/meal allowances for being away from home (which is intended to offset the duplication of expenses), when the home expenses are extremely low (much lower than the tax savings)?

I absolutely draw the line at taking advantage of charity. So in my mind, applying for food stamps because you are under the income and "asset" limits = ok; going to the food bank when you have $1mil in the bank = bad.

For whatever reason, I feel it important to clarify that we have never been on food stamps.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 05, 2013, 07:53:22 AM
Jose... first, there's a pretty large difference between tax credits and low income assistance programs. Welfare programs are not designed to "stimulate the economy and encourage spending," they're intended to keep the disadvantaged of the populous from starving to death.

Second, just because rich people tax evade doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. You could argue that since the tax laws are set up to allow those loopholes that it's okay to do so. Argue that point if you like, but do so within the context of knowing your government is perpetually spending more than it brings in. If you abuse the system for your personal gain, you're officially part of the problem that created this issue.

Finally...
I don't like the idea of forced unemployment INSURANCE. That's money I could put in an emergency fund, retirement account, whatever. But we're FORCED to have it (well, in the US anyways). So if we become eligible for a claim, I have no problem filing a claim. Just as I have no problem filing a claim with my automobile INSURANCE that I'm forced to have.

And just like with your car insurance filing, your premium is going to go up after doing so. Last I checked, there's a pretty big faction of people here who recommend self-insuring on claims unless absolutely necessary as despite the larger cost up front, it proves cheaper in the long run. If you file a claim, your rates go up because the liability increases... that's how insurance works. The premiums may be levied in the form of taxes, but it doesn't change the core function. You'll bend over backwards to take out of the system while taking advantage of every tax credit to avoid paying in? That's not frugal and badass, that's greedy and miserly.

There's a lot of fundamental flaws in our social programs and tax codes, there's also a lot of problems with how our money is spent. If you're smart enough to recognize those problems, then you're smart enough to realize that those problems are destructive to our nation and shouldn't be practiced for the sake of the greater good. Congratulations, you're now accountable for your actions. What are you going to do with that knowledge?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: kmm on March 05, 2013, 08:26:29 AM
I wonder about this topic sometimes. I am widowed and receive SS benefits for my son on behalf of his late father. These will continue until he turns 18, which is still 12 years away.

I'm not ERE so the issue isn't exactly the same but still: we don't need it. I make a six-figure salary on my own and have a rental property with a strong cash flow. We had life insurance, and I've already invested enough of that in his 529 to cover the cost of a 4-year public college. The rest went toward paying down the mortgage on the rental property and retirement savings. I like my job, so intend to keep working for the foreseeable future. The benefits are not means-tested, so it doesn't matter what I make or have in the bank.

So pretty much, I just sock the money away in an investment account. I look at it as his income, not mine, so mainly I just try to be a good steward to set him up well for the future. I figure it can go toward paying for a private college or grad school if he chooses that route, or maybe a down payment on a home in the future. Alternatively, if disaster strikes (i.e., a health crisis that prevents me for working), it can be a financial cushion for the family. But we don't NEED it, and sometimes I feel guilty that we get it given the state of the overall system.

Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Spork on March 05, 2013, 08:30:06 AM
Rich people have no issues taking advantage of any "legal" tax loophole. Setting up shell corporations, shuffling money from one place to another, whatever. Anything they can do to reduce their tax liability.

Why can't poor people do the same? If there's a government program that says "If your income < $XXXX, and assets are under <$YYYY, then you get $ZZZ in food stamps", why is that so different? Same net affect; the government is getting less money from you.

I think there is a huge difference here. 
Tax loophole: how much of my money do I legally get to keep?
government program: how much of someone else's money do I legally get to take?

There are arguments on both sides as to what is a stimulus, what is morally the right thing, how much can we afford, etc.  Those arguments need to be made, but are a different topic.  Bottom line is these are not the same thing.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: grantmeaname on March 05, 2013, 12:01:25 PM
Again...what about the doctors that bought SUVs due to some tax loophole years ago?
This is so vague and foaming-at-the-mouth that it almost reads like satire. What in the world do you mean? What is the mechanism by which the tax 'loophole' incentivized them to buy SUVs? What moral principle were they breaking, besides that SUVs themselves are idiotic? In what way, exactly, is it a bad thing?
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 05, 2013, 12:13:24 PM
My point speaks more towards the hypocrisy of Jamesqf's position specifically. It's okay to vent, it's okay to disagree... but one of the biggest glaring problems with modern society is a complete disregard for personal accountability and responsibility. All actions have repercussions, and nothing happens in a vacuum. The greatest woes in our communities, government and world are rooted deeply in this behavior. This forum, of any place online, pays great lip service to that ideal of personal accountability and responsibility... yet the incredible blind spot that people like James here have to that very notion in their own lives is downright laughable. "Everyone's an island unto himself and deserves everything he gets, except me."

Forget about me for a minute, and take a specific example, say that young Pakistani girl who was shot a few months ago because she dared to speak up for the right of women to become educated.  Now tell me why she deserved the government she had.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: unplugged on March 05, 2013, 12:20:13 PM
Keep daring to speak.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 05, 2013, 12:28:45 PM
My point speaks more towards the hypocrisy of Jamesqf's position specifically. It's okay to vent, it's okay to disagree... but one of the biggest glaring problems with modern society is a complete disregard for personal accountability and responsibility. All actions have repercussions, and nothing happens in a vacuum. The greatest woes in our communities, government and world are rooted deeply in this behavior. This forum, of any place online, pays great lip service to that ideal of personal accountability and responsibility... yet the incredible blind spot that people like James here have to that very notion in their own lives is downright laughable. "Everyone's an island unto himself and deserves everything he gets, except me."

Forget about me for a minute, and take a specific example, say that young Pakistani girl who was shot a few months ago because she dared to speak up for the right of women to become educated.  Now tell me why she deserved the government she had.

OH HO HO! You really want to go there, James? You really want to compare the actions of a girl under right at the age of accountability standing up for the right thing under a dictatorship in the face of a terrorist vigilante group who's actions her own dictatorship government denounced (edited for accuracy) to you, your actions, and the United States? Especially with quotes from yourself like this?

So I personally would have no problem getting back what the government spends on e.g. anti-drug programs, but would gladly contribute a few bucks extra for the things I do support.

Just to be clear, I have nothing in particular against corruption.  Take the legislator voting to make guns illegal, fund the drug war, destroy the groundwater over a whole state, or whatever the latest batch of insanity is: do I really give a damn whether they are doing it because they're for sale to the highest bidder, or because in their short-sighted stupidity they honestly think they're doing the right thing?

FTM, why do I deserve being subjected to rap from cars that pull up next to me at a light?  Now I could readily sacrifice much - say by tossing a hand grenade in their window - to stop that particular instance, but I don't see that particular tactic as having much prospect of long-term success.

Further, I am not omnipotent, nor even particularly rich & powerful, so I can't change the behavior of any significant number of my fellow humans in any meaningful way.  I know I deserve to be a god, but unfortunately nature had other ideas

Go pound sand.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: NumberJohnny5 on March 05, 2013, 01:34:46 PM
Again...what about the doctors that bought SUVs due to some tax loophole years ago?
This is so vague and foaming-at-the-mouth that it almost reads like satire. What in the world do you mean? What is the mechanism by which the tax 'loophole' incentivized them to buy SUVs? What moral principle were they breaking, besides that SUVs themselves are idiotic? In what way, exactly, is it a bad thing?

Looks like the loophole came back, here's a more recent article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2011/04/08/how-to-take-a-tax-write-off-for-a-new-porsche-bmw-or-cadillac/

I understand the arguments that say "but, but, taking advantage of a tax deduction is just paying less to the IRS; taking advantage of food stamps is taking money!" Let's say there's two people, one owes me $1,000. Now, if person #1 only pays me $500 due to a deduction I allowed him to take, and I pay person #2 $0 in handouts, my net gain is $500. If person #1 gives me the full $1,000 and person #2 takes a $500 handout...again, my net gain is $500. Whether people are paying in less, or taking more, the end effect is the same...less money the government has to spend on other things (well, least that's how it SHOULD work).

If people should be shamed into NOT taking food stamps that they technically qualify for, they should also be shamed into not taking tax deductions that they technically qualify for. I mean, surely you don't need that $1k tax credit per child...you didn't have kids just because of the tax credit, did you? Of course not...so don't take that money.  Except in this case...I don't see where you can decide not to take the credit, unless you lie on your tax return (I see nowhere to say "yes, I do have X kids living at home, but keep your money please"). I think it's easier to stigmatize something like food stamps, because all you have to do to not receive that money is, well, nothing. Don't drive to the office (or visit the website), don't fill out the forms, don't receive the money. If it was mandatory to fill out these forms (like it is to file a tax return), and there was no easy way to opt out of receiving the funds (i.e. child credit), people wouldn't be quite as upset at those receiving these benefits (as long as they were comletely truthful on their forms).
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Phoebe on March 05, 2013, 02:00:38 PM
I've been reading the replies here, not exactly sure how I feel as I haven't considered this before, but this brought to mind a story of my grandmother's friend who has stuck with me for a few years now.

This woman was in her late eighties and made a conscious choice to no longer undergo expensive medical procedures.  She did so because she felt that her time in life was coming to an end, and a huge portion of medical expenses occur during the last couple years of a person's life.  Since she was solely dependent on Medicare, she felt that money ought to go towards younger families just starting out their lives - she had already had a wonderful life, and she was fine with halting extreme measures in an attempt to prolong it a little further.

I admire her for this self-less decision which you could argue is the ultimate sacrifice.  It helps me to frame this argument and think about the greater good.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: clutchy on March 05, 2013, 03:13:14 PM
Again...what about the doctors that bought SUVs due to some tax loophole years ago?
This is so vague and foaming-at-the-mouth that it almost reads like satire. What in the world do you mean? What is the mechanism by which the tax 'loophole' incentivized them to buy SUVs? What moral principle were they breaking, besides that SUVs themselves are idiotic? In what way, exactly, is it a bad thing?

The big automakers figured out that if a vehicle weighed over 6500 lbs that you could immediately expense like $120,000.  Congress figured this out and lowered it to a $25,000 immediate deduction.  still absurd.

the actual bill was written to encourage investment in farm equipment, not be used for H2's.

that might be the abuse they are talking about.

regardless it filled our roads with obscene vehicles.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Jamesqf on March 05, 2013, 07:00:40 PM
OH HO HO! You really want to go there, James? You really want to compare the actions of a girl under right at the age of accountability standing up for the right thing under a dictatorship in the face of a terrorist vigilante group who's actions her own dictatorship government denounced (edited for accuracy) to you, your actions, and the United States?

Yes, I do.  That's why I made the post.  You claimed that people - all people, not just me, not just fairly affluent adults residing in western democracies, but all people - get the government they deserve.  So go ahead and tell us why this specific person deserves the government she got.

If you can't, at least have the grace to admit you were lazy enough to pull out an old adage as an alternative to rational thought.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Daley on March 05, 2013, 11:30:18 PM
Yes, I do.  That's why I made the post.  You claimed that people - all people, not just me, not just fairly affluent adults residing in western democracies, but all people - get the government they deserve.  So go ahead and tell us why this specific person deserves the government she got.

If you can't, at least have the grace to admit you were lazy enough to pull out an old adage as an alternative to rational thought.

Beware of what you ask for James. You and a lot of people aren't likely going to appreciate what I have to say, and I'm sure you (and others) will have a heyday surgically extracting fragments to twist and argue over, but I'm not going to stand quiet to your accusations. Before I do though, let's address your approach to internet debate.

You, sir, have some stones to throw down like that. Ignoring everything relevant to the conversation and narrowing in one one tiny little line that tweaked your sensibilities that you think will give you the leverage to win an argument on the internet because you have no other leg to stand on in the discussion when weighed in total. Taking phrases out of context, making strawman arguments, deflecting the topic. Klassy. Most people would call you a troll with tactics like that, yet there's a clearly defined consistency of a true believer to your rhetoric that's hard to ignore. Even if you are a troll, the fact that you're willing to behave as such proves my point that you have genuinely contributed to and earned the ills you so deeply dislike in a very karmic nature.

Given your nature, however, this will be the last time I will publicly engage you. As I cannot control or change you but only myself, I will refrain from further engaging on your terms as your shtick is not what one might consider charming.

Now, back to the loaded straw man topic at hand and your prior statement.

We'll start with Malala Yousafzai, the young woman you insist on bringing into this conversation who did not suffer at the hands of her government as you insist on claiming, but instead at the hands of Pakistani Taliban rebels. What occurred was a tragedy, but a predictable one. Cause and effect. A great deal of genuine innocence and a desire to speak up and do whatever was necessary to do the right thing at any cost. She risked her life to advance women's rights because she knew the inequality was wrong.

Now I will recap your situation briefly: JamesQF - a man well into his life who has first world problems with the graft and corruption in his government, too cowardly to apparently do anything about it or stand by his convictions, but not so much a coward that he doesn't exploit the situation for his own personal benefits by utilizing the exact same tactics of his supposed oppressors.

Finally, in the third corner, there's me: Daley - hard nosed, stubborn, forceful and sometimes angry internet morality and ethics cop in the MMM forums. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and sometimes an ass... a frustrating mix of arrogance and humility. Clearly a sinner.

Despite the disparity between the players, there is a common thread between all three of them. That thread is the last word used to describe myself: sinner. If there's any one true constant in the nature of mankind, it is the wickedness of his soul. The annals of history show that many have risen up and overcome this nature, but it has been done at great sacrifice to their personal interests... and the greatest of these people are the ones who despite personal blindness to certain immutable facts about their surroundings, have had an unshakable conviction that withstood the the rigors of logic in their actions and they took ownership of their acts. Many may have been martyrs, but none of them victims... and still, all sinners.

Sin is pervasive. It eats at all of us... it drives our greed, our lust, our avarice, most of our anger, and that's just the tip of the iceburg. It makes us terrible people, and it's everywhere in our lives and our culture. I have no doubt that I've already lost the Atheists in the crowd, and a good many agnostics. I don't want to debate or argue religion with this post. This post is answering the charge that James has made that I claim that all people get the government they deserve, even the totalitarian regimes, and why I might be inclined to such an opinion. You're right, I do believe that and it is a fair charge... but with one exception, the true innocents of the world. Children and the mentally challenged do not deserve the repercussions and consequences of the wickedness of man, but it is theirs and our burden to carry that they do anyway. I shouldn't have to make this specific distinction as believing otherwise would make me a monster, but apparently I need to.

Nothing happens in a vacuum. Actions, right or wrong, cause repercussions. For example, I know that posting this will not be favorable towards the tolerance that some others have extended towards me in the past within this community, but I'm a big boy wearing big boy pants. I'm willing to take that knock.

Because of the nature and pervasiveness of sin within our actions, we cannot escape the wages of that sin. On some level, even the most random and violent acts visited upon each and every one of us, we are partially responsible for contributing towards. Now, before you sit up and try to claim that I'm making a blanket statement that victims deserve to be blamed for their hand in any aggression visited upon them, I ask that you pay extra close attention to what I'm about to write. Sometimes truly random acts of violence happen where people have done nothing but exist to have that wickedness visited upon them. No person genuinely deserves any evil thing visited upon their heads, even if they're guilty of the very same wickedness. That's right James... go gloat. You caught me in a technicality, and that's what you wanted. I am a hypocrite myself for daring to paraphrase Plato in a post designed to try and avoid a colossal wall of text by attempting to communicate in known concepts. My sincerest apologies for apparently misleading you so deeply that this caused you such grave offense to respond in the manner you have, even if your own actions shouldn't warrant any earned respect or pity. It is regrettable that things have escalated to the point of this wall of text, but I'm just as guilty of that as you are.

And yet, since you insist in dealing with technicalities, they do deserve it... we all do. That's the problem with sin and free will. The nature of our wickedness and rebellion is so great, that HaShem has clearly outlined the severity of that blood guilt, and the price of that guilt we wear is not just mortal and immediate death, but a second eternal death... a permanent separation from His glory and lovingkindness. Even the cruelest of dictatorships can ultimately be traced back to the consequence of our own personal choices on at least some level, and even that suffering is nothing in comparison to the fate we all earn and deserve for our willful sin. And yet, despite this deserved fate, we are still given a free will opportunity towards redemption and salvation as a truly innocent man, a true victim of this world, willingly paid the price of that blood guilt for us through His own death and resurrection. That man is Yeshua of Nazareth, the perfect embodiment of the living Torah, son and prophet of G-d, with the earthly father and guardian Yosef of the House of David, tribe of Judah of Israel. Most people know him as Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Christianity.

Even still, within this redemption and forgiveness that we cannot earn on our own, yet is given freely to us to take through a simple act of submission and request for forgiveness, we are still held accountable for our actions. Even in forgiveness and our addition to the Tree of Life, we are urged to refrain from sin and taught that willfully and unrepentantly doing wrong lessens our place in His kingdom. We can and will be forgiven for our transgressions, but it is only through the cleansing of our sins and the act of repentance for those acts and learning to walk in the way of Yeshua, the man and prophet who fulfilled and embodied all of Torah that get us there. That knowledge makes it all the more difficult for me to willfully wrong my fellow man. And yet, I apparently have anyway here. I am human, I am a sinner, I make mistakes, and sometimes it gets the best of me. All I can do is apologize, seek forgiveness, and try to be a better man.

Through striving towards and achieving these acts of truly right and honorable things unto your best understanding and this forgiveness, we can be bold enough to suffer the wages of sin not as victims, but as victors. There is a short term and temporary price, however. It is said that an honorable man is by nature a financially poor man. That may be, but money is just a tool. There are far greater riches than money to be had in this world if you have the humility and the wisdom to see them. I only pray you, and others, can see that. Even if it's a fate made through your free will and personal choice to reject the kool-aid you might think I'm selling, and no matter how hypocritical you may be and how you may mistreat others in your actions, I don't want to see you suffer the damning consequences of sin.

Don't worry, I'm finished preaching now. You can have the thread back.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: Blindsquirrel on May 05, 2013, 05:22:10 PM
   Yep, we do get the government individuals that the majority voted for. We also get a few million bureaucrats/kleptocrats that no one votes for yet they install a few thousand pages of new laws and regulations a week. That dangerous monster has a life of its own.
Title: Re: Do ERE's qualify for government benefits?
Post by: notquitefrugal on August 26, 2013, 09:24:47 PM
This is an interesting discussion. I wasn't aware that many states had eliminated asset tests for public assistance programs.

My research also indicates that the Affordable Care Act has eliminated asset tests for Medicaid. According to what I've read, if your MAGI is low enough to qualify for Medicaid, you no longer qualify for any subsidies for private insurance and have to pay the full, unsubsidized price (just like a high income person) if you wish to purchase insurance through the exchange. Although Medicaid was originally intended to help the poor, I can easily conceive of situations where a person retires early and ends up with a MAGI low enough to qualify for Medicaid, therefore disqualifying that person from receiving any subsidies if they wish to purchase private health insurance.

I realize this has been a very contentious discussion, and with that in mind, these questions aren't directed at any particular person, but rather, to anyone who has input to offer:
1. Is my understanding of the ACA correct?
2. If so, do you view Medicaid in the same way as other welfare programs such as heating assistance and food stamps, or is signing up for Medicaid just one more step on the spectrum of subsidies provided by the ACA? In other words, is it morally acceptable for a FI person with a low MAGI to sign up for Medicaid?
(Only tangentially related) 3. Presently, Medicaid is very state-specific, and most states make it very difficult for out of state medical providers who aren't members of the Medicaid system in the patient's home state to get paid if a person who receives Medicaid needs health care outside their state of residence. Does anyone know whether the ACA addresses this issue?