Be sure to read “Private Sector Parasites” by Michael Lind at Salon. He writes that the real “takers” are not the poor receiving benefits, but “the rent-extracting, unproductive rich.”
The term â€œrentâ€ in this context refers to more than payments to your landlords. As Mike Konczal and many others have argued, profits should be distinguished from rents. â€œProfitsâ€ from the sale of goods or services in a free market are different from â€œrentsâ€ extracted from the public by monopolists in various kinds. Unlike profits, rents tend to be based on recurrent fees rather than sales to ever-changing consumers. While productive capitalists â€” â€œindustrialists,â€ to use the old-fashioned term â€” need to be active and entrepreneurial in order to keep ahead of the competition, â€œrentiersâ€ (the term for people whose income comes from rents, rather than profits) can enjoy a perpetual stream of income even if they are completely passive.
Do read the whole post.
Update: Kinda related, if you think about it — Charles Pierce, “The Silent Majorities“