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View Full Version : The Lowest Quintile Spends 37% of Income on Food


Amnorix
03-19-2008, 07:59 AM
This is lifted off of Hog Farmer's article posted in the main forum, and reflects better than anything I could say the reasons why our income tax system is progressive, and why the "wealthy" (however you want to define that term) pays more in taxes than the less well off. Consider how much of your income you spend on food...


Remember that even though we in the U.S. only spend 9.9 percent of our disposable income on food, the lowest quintile of income earners spend over 37 percent of total household income on food, so the impact will not be evenly distributed across the population.

http://www.farms.com/swine/freecommentary.asp?commentaryid=5752

patteeu
03-19-2008, 09:49 AM
Why would that make me think the progressive income tax makes sense? We have welfare programs for people who can't make enough to feed their families don't we?

Sully
03-19-2008, 09:51 AM
If they'd pull themselves up by their bootstraps it wouldn't be an issue.
Lazy bastards.

Brock
03-19-2008, 09:53 AM
They should stop smoking and drinking.

BucEyedPea
03-19-2008, 09:57 AM
I don't see the logic.

pikesome
03-19-2008, 10:00 AM
They should stop smoking and drinking.

$4.25 a pack a day is the number one reason I quit. I'm also worried enough about a Clinton/Obama/whoever Nat HC that I don't want to be a 60 year old smoker.

HonestChieffan
03-19-2008, 01:07 PM
In a perfect world, liberals would tax the better off to the goal that we would all pay 37% of what is left on food.

BucEyedPea
03-19-2008, 01:11 PM
I read some of them are lookin' to tax downloads on the internet. Hey! "Gotta eat!"—TY LAW

Rain Man
03-19-2008, 01:49 PM
Poor people must eat a lot more.

StcChief
03-19-2008, 01:54 PM
Poor people must eat a lot more.
choices in food are a big issue.

banyon
03-19-2008, 02:10 PM
Why would that make me think the progressive income tax makes sense? We have welfare programs for people who can't make enough to feed their families don't we?

In Kansas (http://www.srskansas.org/KEESM/Forms/ES-3100_assist_for_families_02_07.pdf) the cutoff is $150/month in income after deducting rent and utilities. Does that cover some people? Yes. Does it cover the entire bottom 20% (bottom quintile)? Not even close.

Food stamp statistics for South Dakota (http://dss.sd.gov/foodstamps/faq/) as of November 2007:

Almost half of all participants are children (under age 18).

69 percent of food stamp recipients are children, elderly and disabled persons.

Most able-bodied adult applicants must meet certain work requirements.

Donger
03-19-2008, 02:12 PM
I wonder if poor people taste like chicken?

HonestChieffan
03-19-2008, 02:24 PM
Rich folks know but never tell.

CrazyPhuD
03-19-2008, 02:28 PM
I wonder if poor people taste like chicken?

Nah it's a closer taste to turkey. Unless it's small children, then it's closer to veal.

HonestChieffan
03-19-2008, 02:30 PM
They go well with baby carrots.

Amnorix
03-19-2008, 02:53 PM
I read some of them are lookin' to tax downloads on the internet. Hey! "Gotta eat!"—TY LAW

Then you read the wails of the insane. Who is seriously advocating this? How could you possibly enforce it. It's such a nonsensical idea you'd have to be crazy to think for a second that it's a real proposal.

patteeu
03-19-2008, 02:54 PM
In Kansas (http://www.srskansas.org/KEESM/Forms/ES-3100_assist_for_families_02_07.pdf) the cutoff is $150/month in income after deducting rent and utilities. Does that cover some people? Yes. Does it cover the entire bottom 20% (bottom quintile)? Not even close.

Food stamp statistics for South Dakota (http://dss.sd.gov/foodstamps/faq/) as of November 2007:

Almost half of all participants are children (under age 18).

69 percent of food stamp recipients are children, elderly and disabled persons.

Most able-bodied adult applicants must meet certain work requirements.

You're looking at this the wrong way. Not all members of the bottom quintile pay 37% of their income on food either. That number is an average across the entire group. The people getting food stamps and other support are generally at the bottom end of the income range and food presumably takes up a larger percentage of their income while the people not getting the support are at the other end of the income range.

Since it's probably hard to come by data that would enable us to break this up within the quintile, another way to approach it would be to take the total value of all the support given to the entire quintile and add that amount to the total income before figuring the relative cost of food in terms of a percent of that total income+support.

Beyond that, if we aren't spending enough on welfare to prevent people from starving, those programs could be expanded. We don't need to give welfare through the tax system. Poor people should pay their fair share of the income tax so they don't become a special interest group that is unalterably in favor of higher and higher taxes on those who do pay them.

Amnorix
03-19-2008, 02:56 PM
Why would that make me think the progressive income tax makes sense? We have welfare programs for people who can't make enough to feed their families don't we?

First, because it's representative of how basic necessities absorb far more of "discretionary" spending at lower income levels.

Second, just because it consumes 10% of the average American's discretionary spending and 37% of the bottom quintile, doesn't mean that it's not all on a sliding scale. If you're in the top quintile, then it's LESS THAN 10% of your discretionary income unless you're eating at top end restaurants every night.

Third, with a nod to Banyon, I'm not at all sure that welfare programs cover the entire bottom quintile, and it doesn't affect the fact that if you are in, say, the bottom 40%, you still spend alot more discretionary spending on food than if you are in the top 20%.

Finally, because FOOD is merely a representative necessity. If you are in the bottom X percent, then you spend more of your discretionary income (as a percentage) on basic necessities such as food, clothing and housing, than if you are in the top X percent.

Amnorix
03-19-2008, 03:00 PM
You're looking at this the wrong way. Not all members of the bottom quintile pay 37% of their income on food either. That number is an average across the entire group. The people getting food stamps and other support are generally at the bottom end of the income range and food presumably takes up a larger percentage of their income while the people not getting the support are at the other end of the income range.

Since it's probably hard to come by data that would enable us to break this up within the quintile, another way to approach it would be to take the total value of all the support given to the entire quintile and add that amount to the total income before figuring the relative cost of food in terms of a percent of that total income+support.

Beyond that, if we aren't spending enough on welfare to prevent people from starving, those programs could be expanded. We don't need to give welfare through the tax system. Poor people should pay their fair share of the income tax so they don't become a special interest group that is unalterably in favor of higher and higher taxes on those who do pay them.

First, these percentages don't stop at the bottom quintile. If you're top 10% income, then what percentage do you think goes towards food? 1%?

Second, "expand welfare" -- that's not particularly politically feasible is it?

The question is "what is any person's fair share"? Is that determined by the fact that they're just have a heartbeat, or does income matter?

Even if you advocate for a sales-tax based system, and from what I have seen all those that do suggest that there would be a healthy carve out for basic necessities, then you're still obtaining a progressive tax result by a different methodology, more or less.

Many here argue that "fair" means that EVERYONE is taxed at X percent. I and many on the left argue that that is fundamentally unfair, as it's a much ehavier burden to take 20% (or whatever) of income from someone earning $40,000 than from someone earning $400,000.

HonestChieffan
03-19-2008, 03:00 PM
In summation, yes. So what?

patteeu
03-19-2008, 03:08 PM
First, these percentages don't stop at the bottom quintile. If you're top 10% income, then what percentage do you think goes towards food? 1%?

So what? I don't have a problem with rich people being able to spend 99% or more of their income on non-food items.

Second, "expand welfare" -- that's not particularly politically feasible is it?

It's politically infeasible to allow mass starvation in our streets. If it were politically feasible to reform our tax system in a way that made the poorest of the low income workers pay a fair share of the income tax (let's say a flat tax without an exemption at the bottom for the sake of having an example), there is no way we'd refuse to provide adequate welfare to prevent starvation issues.

The question is "what is any person's fair share"? Is that determined by the fact that they're just have a heartbeat, or does income matter?

Even if you advocate for a sales-tax based system, and from what I have seen all those that do suggest that there would be a healthy carve out for basic necessities, then you're still obtaining a progressive tax result by a different methodology, more or less.

Many here argue that "fair" means that EVERYONE is taxed at X percent. I and many on the left argue that that is fundamentally unfair, as it's a much ehavier burden to take 20% (or whatever) of income from someone earning $40,000 than from someone earning $400,000.

Obviously, "what is a person's fair share" is a question that would be hard to reach consensus on, but I submit that 0% can't possibly be seen as a fair share. IMO, fair share would be a proportional (flat) tax on consumption without an exemption, but that's just my ideal.

Amnorix
03-19-2008, 03:28 PM
So what? I don't have a problem with rich people being able to spend 99% or more of their income on non-food items.

Neither do I. They worked hard for it. But there's more to a tax code than simple math.

It's politically infeasible to allow mass starvation in our streets. If it were politically feasible to reform our tax system in a way that made the poorest of the low income workers pay a fair share of the income tax (let's say a flat tax without an exemption at the bottom for the sake of having an example), there is no way we'd refuse to provide adequate welfare to prevent starvation issues.

I agree. But there are benefitis and drawbacks to both my way (just don't tax them as highly in the first place) and yorus (take it away, then give it back via food stamps or whatever).

Obviously, "what is a person's fair share" is a question that would be hard to reach consensus on, but I submit that 0% can't possibly be seen as a fair share. IMO, fair share would be a proportional (flat) tax on consumption without an exemption, but that's just my ideal.

Your ideal, but not mine. I also think 0% is fair if your income is so low you're basically straddling the poverty line.

HonestChieffan
03-19-2008, 03:47 PM
Good lord. Much ado.