"A reasonably high standard of living is part and parcel of living in the modern world. You can't really separate the two."
Yeah you can. You have to.
Should someone on welfare get free cable? free internet? free vacations? because to some degree they are getting just that. only it's not really free. Someone else is paying for it.
"Should the "low-productivity worker" or his idle counterpart not have hot water? Running water? Sanitation services? Electricity?"
Should someone else have to pay to provide them with hot water or electricity?
"Is defending the country the right thing to do? Then why should I pay you to do it, MadBomber?"
believe it or not, I agree with you. At least to a degree. Our foreign policy is at least controversial enough for the argument to be a valid one. But at the end of the day I would prefer a stripped down military whose form and function was designed around defending the country from any threat, anywhere. Not building nations. Nor spreading democracy. not serving as an employer of last resort. Not being something that bored teenagers do for a few years before they have to get a real job.
"You're saying a different standard should apply to the poor?"
If these are truly your concerns, they can be addressed in a much more cost effective manner.
"I do not consider SS, Unemployment or Disability to be part of "welfare'. That is my definition, because they are self funding through payroll taxes."
You shouldn't consider them welfare. They ain't. the only problem with these programs is that have been underfunded for years, with the unfunded balance being made up for through deficit spending. That's why I don't understand the whining about increased payroll taxes. If you want your SS, then you better be happy to pay the damn tax.
"Disability payments are such a small part of the puzzle they are not worth talking about."
In 1997 there were 24 people working for every one that was collecting disability. That number has increased to 13 people working for every one on disability. I would hazard a guess that this isn't because the workplace is a more dangerous place than it was in 1997.
"Why should I do that when I ski, travel, boat and go to rock concerts incessantly? I'm not hurting and don't need any of your budgetary advice."
In other words, you want to help the less fortunate, you just don't want to have to incur any inconvenience yourself. It's much easier to make someone else pay for it. That way you don't have to give up any of your idle pursuits.