I tend to believe that the opinions of the people I work with are pretty useless, when it comes to government budget policy. I have to listen to engineers whine all the time that we're overtaxed, and they never believe that they're part of the wealthier class of Americans. The average working man in America makes about $44K a year... that's not even base pay for an engineer fresh out of college with no experience. They love talking about how overpaid CEOs are and seeing themselves as the "little guy", without recognizing the fact that millions of people who really are the little guy see us as the overpaid fat cats. Do we work hard? Are we smart? Are we important? Sure... but we didn't arrive here just by pulling on our bootstraps, a lot of us attended public schools and most of us were born into families where our parents had the education and salary needed to support us while we focused on studies. That's not hard work, it's luck.
So I work with all these guys who hate the government for taking "our" money. They don't think that anything good happens with those tax dollars, and don't acknowledge the fact that we'd have a lot more people starving in the streets if it weren't for public assistance programs. I for one am fine with funding public assistance. I think it makes a better society as a whole. I wish we could help more people, instead of funding wars and bloated stupid programs (like the inefficient disaster that is the FAA... but that's another post). Is someone who could work milking the system? Maybe. But I don't think it's possible to build this perfect system that helps EXACTLY the people who need help, and denies EXACTLY the people who don't need it. I also don't think it'd be a good idea to totally redistribute all wealth... I believe in capitalism. But I also believe that it's given some of us enough to share.
The problem with money is that people put themselves anywhere they want in the spectrum of needs. I can look in the mirror and see that I'm female. I can also see that I'm white. I know I'm heterosexual. I could confirm or deny the privilege involved with these things, but I can't change the attributes. Money is a different disaster because no one wants to admit that he's rich, we just want to believe that we're all the tortured, oppressed class that everyone wants to target. I hear it all the time... "So our household income is $100K a year, have they LOOKED at my bank account lately? My kid needs braces!" When I first started working full time, I remember posting in Christianity asking where people draw the line about knowing how much to donate, and I got all these angry replies to the tune of "listen rich girl, you'd better give up your spoiled life now" just because I admitted I was doing okay. These people were using computers to post the comments. Presumably, computers that weren't free, and that billions of people in the world couldn't afford. They are rich too. But it was easier to call me names. I didn't post what my income was, just said that I felt like I was better off than average. It doesn't take much.
there's a great post on stuff white people like about fake poverty... telling people you lived on ramen for weeks in college, leaving out the fact that you could go to mom and dad's at any time for real food groups. It speaks to me.