Archive for October, 2011

What is “Fair”?

October 11, 2011

One of the things I’ve seen a lot of, lately, is people complain about our system not being “fair”.  At that point, depending on which political camp the person is in, the person issuing the complaint will make one of two diametrically opposed types of suggestions.  At the heart of this is significantly different definitions of the word “fair”.

The basic arguments can be summed up in two quotes.  First, “It’s not fair that 1% of the people have 90% of the wealth!”  Second, “It’s not fair that some people pay no taxes and others pay more than 40% taxes!”.  The first definition is based on the idea that people should earn roughly the same amount of money, and that if this isn’t happening, the “haves” are getting more than their “fair share”.  The other takes the attitude that working hard and being more successful shouldn’t penalized by having a higher tax rate.

So what is at the heart of this?  It’s fairly simple.  Consider the statement “life isn’t fair”.  In this idea, if life were fair, everyone would get as much money as they wanted, or at least enough to live comfortably.  What this ignores is that not everyone puts the same amount of energy into living, earning income, etc.  Consider an extreme example: suppose one person sits on a couch all day in his mother’s basement, and the other works 60 hours a week as a greasemonkey in a garage.  Which one deserves deserves a flat-screen TV?  Which one deserves a Blue-Ray player?  If the slug deserves these things, on what basis?

The other perspective is that everyone can work hard, take risks, and sacrifice for a dream.  The taxes suggests that if the above imposer on his mother works 10 hours a week, that 10% of his income should be used to support the government (probably 0%), while 45% of the other person’s labor is needed by the government.  Couldn’t it be argued that the hard working person has done far more to contribute to society, and should pay less taxes?  At the very least, doesn’t the hard worker have as much right to the fruits of his labors as the one who spent little time working?

Ultimately, the question is this: do we want equal results from unequal efforts, or do we want equal rewards for equal efforts?  From the phrasing of my question, which is quite biased, it should be clear which I believe.  Risk deserves reward.  Work deserves reward.  If you compete for a low paying job, you deserve low pay.  If you class yourself so that people compete to have you work for them, you deserve high pay.

More Occupy Wallstreet nonsense…

October 6, 2011

More of their idiocy keeps oozing out.  This time it’s on their blog: First, notice that they are calling it “September Revolution”.  It immediately reminds me of the French Revolution, not a very auspicious connotation.  Quoted items will be indented.

This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves (not the movement as a whole), we bring this call for revolution.

Uh huh.  This just doesn’t bode well.  They’re putting out a call in the hopes that it will resonate.

We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed. However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.

Errr… huh?  What on earth is this?  They do know that they live in America, right?  While the liberal agendas have taken their toll, we still are the freest nation on earth.

Money, it has been said, has taken over politics. In truth, we say, money has always been part of the capitalist political system. A system based on the existence of have and have nots, where inequality is inherent to the system, will inevitably lead to a situation where the haves find a way to rule, whether by the sword or by the dollar.

Great thing about capitalism: anybody can become a have.  Smaller government that gets out of the way would help, but you get the feeling these people are going in a different direction.

We agree that we need to see election reform. However, the election reform proposed ignores the causes which allowed such a system to happen. Some will readily blame the federal reserve, but the political system has been beholden to political machinations of the wealthy well before its founding.

ALL political systems have political machinations… that’s kind of how it works.

We need to address the core facts: these corporations, even if they were unable to compete in the electoral arena, would still remain control of society. They would retain economic control, which would allow them to retain political control. Term limits would, again, not solve this, as many in the political class already leave politics to find themselves as part of the corporate elites.

OK, which corporations are they talking about?  The reality is that we, as a nation, could put any of them out of business in a few days.  Want Wal-Mart to go under?  Just get EVERYONE to refuse to shop there.  Simple, aside from the great prices they offer. The reality is that every individual has economic power, not the corporations.

We need to retake the freedom that has been stolen from the people, altogether.

  1. If you agree that freedom is the right to communicate, to live, to be, to go, to love, to do what you will without the impositions of others, then you might be one of us.
  2. If you agree that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brows, that being talented at management should not entitle others to act like overseers and overlords, that all workers should have the right to engage in decisions, democratically, then you might be one of us.
  3. If you agree that freedom for some is not the same as freedom for all, and that freedom for all is the only true freedom, then you might be one of us.
  4. If you agree that power is not right, that life trumps property, then you might be one of us.
  5. If you agree that state and corporation are merely two sides of the same oppressive power structure, if you realize how media distorts things to preserve it, how it pits the people against the people to remain in power, then you might be one of us.

These all sound good, but are not descriptions of the problems our society faces. They are asserting the value of things we have, are offering straw-man versions of how corporations work, and generally showing that they are idiots.  They do not realize that management is earning the sweat of their brows, even if it doesn’t look sweaty.  They don’t realize they have the rights they pretend not to have.  Heck, they ARE speaking, but act as if they are somehow being banned from speaking.

And so we call on people to act

  1. We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousnesses, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system.
  2. We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together.
  3. We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community.
  4. We call for the organization of people’s assemblies in every city, every public square, every township.
  5. We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them.

We call for a revolution of the mind as well as the body politic.

They are calling for theft of property, right after professing to believe in the value of property.  They are calling for theft of property, right after professing to believe in people deserving to reap the rewards of their labor.  In short, they are hypocrites.  What they believe in is anarchy and collectivism.  They believe in keeping what you earn with the sweat of your brow, as long as you get sweaty.  They want to throw out the managers of companies and manage the companies themselves, even though only the managers may have the perspective to do so.  If their demands are met, our economy would crumble into chaos, and businesses would fail.  Those that survived would find new managers rising in the place of the old, because organization is required to direct purposeful activity.

When someone offers you a new vision, look for contradictions in what they espouse.  If you find them, the vision has not been thought out well, no matter how appealing it sounds.  A self-consistent vision that doesn’t sound as appealing at least stands a chance of working.

Occupy Wall Street Demands… A Rebuttal

October 5, 2011

FreeRepublic has listed the thirteen demands of the Occupy Wall Street loons here:

I’m going to respond to these with my thoughts.  Expect responses to get longer as I go along.

The “Occupy Wall Street” protesters have listed 13 proposed demands from their website.

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

My wife lived on 8 dollars an hour for a decade.  She didn’t have a lot of extra, but she was living, and supporting two cats.  It’s obvious these idiots haven’t thought about the consequences of raising the minimum wage.  I used to work at Arby’s when you could get the five for $5 deal, and minimum wage was about $4.38.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  Do you really look forward to Arby’s having a five for $20 deal?  What’s that going to do to the rest of the prices?  Further, what’s one of the drivers behind hiring illegal aliens?  They will work under the table for less than minimum wage!  This demand is based on the delusion that there will be no economic consequences.  A smarter demand would be to abolish the minimum wage.  Then work could be done for what it’s worth, and there would be no incentive to hire illegal aliens.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system.

It’s called Obamacare.  If the Supreme Court doesn’t overthrow it, it will become universal single payer within a decade.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

First, this is basically a reiteration of Demand one.  The fact that they didn’t even notice that is scary.  Worse, that means that I would be guaranteed $20 an hour for NOT working.  Think about the current strain on unemployment.  Now imagine adding the ability to be guaranteed $20 an hour for NOT working.  Would you want to be a bum for 60 hours a week, and get paid for all 60 hours?  I mean, I used to work 60 hours a week before I stubbed my toe and broke it!

Demand four: Free college education.

Sounds great!  And I happen to teach math at a local 2-year college.  So, who’s going to pay me to teach?  I mean, I love teaching, but I would like to get paid for it.  There is value in college reform.  There is value in looking at reforming the tenure system.  Personally, I think this would be accomplished more efficiently by privatizing ALL colleges, not by making them all public and free.  After all, look at how bad the public grade schools are these days.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

That sounds really great!  All we have to do is…  Oh wait, replace it with what?  Seriously, there is nothing in the vicinity of enough production of solar or wind technology to replace the current fossil fuels.  We could replace coal fired plants with nuclear, but that’s going to require the EPA granting permits instead of stalling them.  Vehicles simply don’t have an alternative to fossil fuels that is viable in a mass-production format.  Hydro-electric might be possible, but that would require even MORE electric capacity.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

Umm… no.  There isn’t one trillion dollars in needed spending.  Seriously, where did that number come from?  They obviously didn’t conduct any studies.  Can they begin to suggest how much of that one trillion should be spent on each infrastructure item?  I doubt it.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Ecological restoration planting forests???  They obviously don’t realize that it’s already being done by the lumber companies.  They want to reestablish the natural flow of river systems?  I guess that means were going to need more rail and conventional power plants to make up for the loss of navigable rivers and hydroelectric plants.  Oh wait, they want to get rid of nuclear power?  So, along with demand five, that means no nuclear, no coal-fired, and no hydroelectric power plants.  Where do they think the power is going to come from, unicorn poop?

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

I think we have that.  Let me check real quick.  13th Amendment, 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment, and 24th Amendment all seem to cover most of it.  What rights, exactly, do they think are not currently protected for all races/genders?

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

Uh huh.  So, Al-Qaeda can walk into New York with bombs strapped to their backs and we can’t tell them we’d prefer it if they stay out?  Mexicans can come, work under the table (for less than $20 per hour), and leave again without protest?  I have a better idea, let’s just throw out the Constitution and replace it with Sharia.  That way, at least, we won’t have to suffer the violence that would immediately ensue with such a nonsense policy.  Oh, and my family will be moving to someplace that values it’s borders, like China.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Ah yes, because nothing sounds like as much fun as a repeat of Al Gore claiming the election was stolen in 2000, and arguments about hanging chads.  Granted, most of these people were only seven or eight years old back then, but they might as well suggest we get rid of keyboards and go back to punch-card readers while we’re at it.  Oh, and let’s not forget how paper ballots were “found” for Al Franken’s senate bid.  We set international standards, not follow them.

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all.

This is an incredibly bad idea.  What these idiots don’t realize, is that every time you deposit money in your bank, you are LOANING it to the bank.  If all debts are immediately forgiven, any millionaire would immediately be broke.  Anyone who had been saving for a new car would be broke.  The ONLY people who would have money would be those who had cash, and the banks.  No employer would have the money to pay anyone $20 per hour.  No debit card would work.  No 401K would have any value.  It would ALL BE GONE!

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Yes!  Let’s do that at the same time as demand eleven!  That way, when you go to reapply for credit (now that you’re broke) you’ll have to wait for the background check that will come with every credit application.  Hopefully, you can live off the food in your refrigerator while you wait a couple weeks for the results to come back.  Outlawing credit reporting agencies will NOT stop banks from checking on your credit-worthiness.  It will just make the process take a LOT longer.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.

And now we find out who is behind all this nonsense: communists and unionists.  I will always vote “Nay”, but that shouldn’t be a real surprise.  Artificially raising wages just prices you out of competition.  All the other demands are based on the idea of NOT competing globally.  The result would be the American economy being isolated from the rest of the world.  There would be no trade, because our tariffs would be too high for imports, and our prices too high for exports.  No worries, though, it’s hard to manufacture anything on a reliable basis with rolling blackouts due to non-existent power supply.

In summary, the Occupy Wall Street people are certified idiots who can’t think beyond a sound-bite.