yea legalization, would bring in a whole new market
I agree 100%Originally Posted by [b
Just out of curiosity, what in the world did that mean? *Are you aware that there are candidates, even entire political parties, that would fit this bill? *It sounds to me like Capslock is a Libertarian and, if so, will have the option to vote for quite a few politicians that meet his criteria. *Remember that there are more positions to vote for than just president, and if I remember correctly there were even two or three 'third parties' that fielded presidential candidates in 2004. *I know; I voted for one.Originally Posted by [b
I agree. *However, I think the initial comment was more in regards to making a decision based on one candidate having smoked weed once, received a speeding ticket, or whatever else thirties years in the past. *The actions taken by anyone often have little bearing on predicting future actions after 30 years of education and experience in life. *Also, often, as in the above examples, judging a candidate because of personal choices that affected only their own lives that differ from your personal ethics code is the first step to legislating morality, which I think we can all agree is a bad thing.Originally Posted by [b
Such are strawman arguments presented by the opposing side and, unfortunately, tend to be very effective.
I have heard this argument against voting for anyone not Republican or Democrat and am assuming you meant it that way as well. *If you were referring to just write-ins and I mischaracterized your statement than I apologize.Originally Posted by [b
The only way to create a system that would allow you the choices you desire is to find a way to make a third or fourth party politically viable. *The only way for this to happen would be for one of these third parties to gain enough votes to represent a clear threat to any ruling party. *This is already beginning to occur at the lowest levels; and now needs to become more mainstream for Senate and House seats.
Thus voting for a third party candidate on the ballot is not 'throwing your vote in the trashcan'. *If anything, it can be seen as an investment with little short-term viability. *I did not expect Badnarik to get elected for president in 2004. *So why did I vote for him? *Honestly, I considered voting differently just to keep Bush out. *Kerry trounced Bush intellectually in the debates, and would have definitely be preferable (in my opinion).
However, I didn't because I wanted my vote to count for something. *I have always believed in working hard now for a better and easier future. *Voting for Badnarik did accomplish something; it was symbolic. *It showed that there IS support for those ideals, and that there are people out there that are fed up enough with the current two parties and their subtle differences that they will work to make a more reasonable choice a feasible option. *I didn't expect my vote to help him win, but I do expect it affected someone who looked, saw how many hundreds of thousands of people voted the same way, and realized "there really is another choice."
Voting for a third party candidate is worthwhile because it is the ONLY way to give them a chance. *They may not win this time. *They may not win ever. *But here's what it comes down to: If you believe in them and do not vote for them then their chances of eventually toppling the two party system are 0%. *If you believe in them and do vote for them, then their chances are greater than 0%. *What that chance becomes is irrelevant; the point is that it exists. *Hopefully others will see that third parties have support and begin casting their own votes that direction. *Maybe they won't. *But I'd rather know my vote went toward something I believe in, towards showing my support for the best candidate, and towards giving my nieces and nephews the choices they deserve, rather than just clawing and scratching at the walls to slow my inevitable descent.
I have had little experience with them but did witness a debate between their presidential candidate and Badnarik for 2004. *They made some...'interesting' statements but really showed their position with their support for an increase in minimum wage to almost $10 and their claims that this would make life for minimum wage workers so much better. *My guess is they think money materializes out of the air when needed...Originally Posted by [b
My mom began her first business when I was 5 years old. *I began working there at 12 and began helping her manage it by 15 when she was concentrating on starting up another. *Besides academic knowledge of economics I can speak from real world experience. *Had the minimum wage been raised that drastically at that time here's what would happen:
* A few small businesses, perhaps as many as 25% (though I doubt it), would absorb the cost either by increasing margins or decreasing profit. *The min-wage workers here would, indeed, see an increase in their quality of life.
* Most small businesses, I would guess around 70%, would have no way to absorb the costs. *The owners would increase their weekly workload from 40 hours to 80 hours without any increase in pay, decreasing the incentive to own/start a business and thus decreasing competition and market efficiency. *Several employees from each business would be laid off and others would receive fewer hours, so most would see no net increase in their weekly pay.
* A few small businesses, probably as many as 15%, would simply close. *They would have no way to absorb the costs and the owners would either not be able to, or choose not to, work the extra hours for no benefit. *The min-wage employees from these businesses would also be jobless.
Besides the major disruption in the economy, I fail to see how this situation is any better. *You have a few min-wage workers who have seen a net increase in earnings, and for that many many others had to pay with their jobs. *You have increased unemployment drastically, removed the incentive for small business ownership, and decreased competition in the market. *This is doing nothing more than shifting the pay from two thirds of the min-wage workers to the other one third; make part of the poor into minimum wage and most of the poor poorer.
I could possibly (maybe) forgive a random guy on the street for not realizing this; but this was coming from a presidential candidate! *Other statements and claims made during the debate sounded similarly warm and squishy and similarly fell flat on their face when examined logically. *Perhaps they have changed over the years and, if you say they have, I will re-examine their website and re-evaluate the party. *Insuring that we are living in a environmentally sound society based on renewable energy sources is a laudable goal. *However, the price of ignorance in pursuing this goal is far too high.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
Good post Nicholas. I differ on some of your points, but appreciate a well-written post.
I am not a Libertarian (party) as much as a libertarian (philosophy.) Actually, to be more clear, I'm an economic socialist and a social anarchist. I believe the business world requires smart regulation (something the Libertarian party opposes), but that the personal life of people is not within the purview of government. The limit of government should be the provision of a common defense, protection of our Constitutional rights, and the regulation of the economy consistent with promoting innovation, business ownership (small businesses), and true competition. Left unregulated, a free-market economy acts much like a game of monopoly, wherein the money ends up in a very few people's hands while the majority is left with essentially nothing. When your whole town is dominated by WalMart, it isn't really the sort of economic meritocracy that people envisioned, and working for "THE COMPANY" isn't much different than working for "THE STATE". So I favor an approach which encourages entreprenurial thinking, small businesses, vigorous anti-trust enforcement (for a change), and the cultivation of a healthy, prosperous middle class to balance out the rich and the poor.
I favor that minimum wage increase you criticized earlier. If you look at executive and management salaries, they've increased by far more than that amount, and the gap between the rich and poor has grown markedly over the last few decades. If we can provide massive tax cuts for the richest of us, the poorest surely ought to be given a break. The problem with our country was NOT that the rich didn't have enough and the poor had too much, so how the heck is it a good idea to stack the tax code further against the poor?)
Minimum wage has not kept pace, and the businesses that rely on minimum wage labor neither benefit the community much (insofar as they create and perpetuate a VERY poor underclass), do not provide a living wage to the people working there. A higher wage does mean some prices will increase slightly. But there will be more customers since the people at the low end would have a bit more money to spend. There is a proper amount we should have as a minimum wage, and you can't just set it at some fantasy number. But the number we have now just doesn't cut it in most parts of the country. (And yes I have started, grown, sold, and am currently employed in my own small business.)
Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium
My photos are copyright-free and public domain
It sounds like we have similar ideas and would both like to see the government go the same direction now if with differing goals. *I disagree with your economic stand but have a great deal of respect for anyone who takes the time to think these things through and not just parrot party points. *So I'll happily agree to disagree (and discuss!).Originally Posted by [b
Sounds like we agree on the most desirable end goal and disagree on our methods of getting there. *A truly free economy works as a pseudo-democratic system in itself. *Control does not lie in the hands of any governing or business body but in the hands of the consumer who has the ability to vote with their spending dollar. *Wal-Mart will reign only if that is what the citizens truly desire and, if that is the case, what would give either of us the ethical right to tell them no?Originally Posted by [b
Don't get me wrong. *I believe if we completely deregulated commerce and industry right now it would be virtually apocalyptic (hyperbole). *People will grow accustomed to the system they live in and the US citizenry have forgotten (or never learned) how to live in a free society where they are expected to take care of themselves. *I would not expect the ability to do so to come easily for most. *However, such a drastic change simply could not happen even if the next president and half the senate was from an 'anarchist' party. *Laws would need to be slowly put into effect and regulation phased out.
If control was handed back over to the free market gradually and the electorate properly educated and motivated to take their destinies into their own hands, I think we would see a perfectly fair self-regulating system. *If given the power to regulate companies by using factors other than cost in their buying decision-making process people would learn to use it effectively to get what they want. *Of course, even though I recognize that anecdotal data is not evidence, I would like to present some personal examples to help display the point:
* I live near a Wal-Mart and can usually save a good 15% or more on my food shopping. *I spend approximately $250/month on food (I know; what in the world do I eat!?). *However, I usually take the time to drive several miles out of my way to shop at the local Giant Eagle. *I do this for a variety of reasons ranging from Wal-Martís treatment of their employees to the professionalism and courtesy shown by the workers and even the other customers. *I know for a fact that I am not alone. *Even with the severe government regulation in place now, that I can be sure will force commercial enterprises to stay 'fair', I still use my buying power to vote for what I believe in. *Given less government interference and, at the same time, more buying dollar to work with (right now I pay over 30% of my paycheck to the government) many more customers are going to put a lot more effort into using their buying power to affect commercial and industrial activities.
* [actual numbers are fictitious, but ratios are correct] At a previous job I was making $22k per year. *This was relatively low for the work I was doing and I had serious expenses due to a new house and other issues. *So I interviewed with another company that actively sought me out (note I did not go looking for them). *They offered me $27k per year. *I told my company who then offered me $28k per year to stay. *At this time minimum wage was (adjusting for ratio-matching) around $2.50 per hour or $5200 per year.
So why was I not making $5k per year initially? *Why was I offered a raise even though I was making over four times the minimum wage? *Because market forces and fair competition insured that I was offered a 'fair' wage. *What is fair? *It is whatever the market deems it to be. *This may not meet our ethical requirements and leaves guys making millions for playing a dumb game while I toil away every day just trying to survive. *But it's this very system that has made our country strong and has enabled 'the American dream' of being anything you can imagine. *Bear in mind that the poor in America live much better than most of the third world where the government has much more intrusive policies.
But even if this would come to pass it certainly is different. *The state has no competition and can actively prevent it. *However, if I start making candles and selling them on my front lawn I can start a business to compete with Wal-Mart. *If enough customers buy from me, whether it's because my quality is better, I treat my workers better, I sell for cheaper, or they just want to 'support the little guy', then I will force Wal-Mart to accept competition or change their policies to win my customers back. *In either case, a new better option has been presented for the customers. *The huge difference is: there is still always a choice.Originally Posted by [b
But the problem is that, as I described above, the market will determine a fair price. *While I understand the difficult position that the poor are in (I have been there) there is almost always a way out. *Sometimes it takes a lot of work, but they are not stuck. *The unfortunately truth is that many are simply not adding anything of value to the system and are not putting forth the effort to change that fact. *I know; I spent the early half of my life around them. *Again, I stress that not all are like this and there are some genuinely unfortunate cases, but a private charity will work far more efficiently and insure the money gets to the correct ones far better than a government bureaucracy unaccountable to its contributors (the taxpayers).Originally Posted by [b
The big point I want to make here is that when we ran our business we did not pay minimum wage. *My mom still does not (I no longer work as a small businessman). *But if the government would pass a law requiring all workers to make what my mom pays hers it will still do serious damage to her business and, worse, will effect the customers to a great degree. *There is a reason that her workers are paid a few dollars more per hour than many others: they add that much value to the business. *In this particular case it's their friendly attitude, high energy, and customer focus, but in another business it could just as easily be their engineering skills or years of experience.
The important fact to note is that some of these workers may still do the same job if they were making minimum wage, but the vast majority will not. *Human beings are hard-wired to think in terms of self-gratification. *If her workers can suddenly go work anyplace they want, including the place down the street that has always paid minimum wage but requires half the work be done, most of them will. *You are taking away the ability of a business to incentivise. *They can no longer draw employees with the proper attributes, which decreases the selection pressures for those attributes in the market. *Everybody loses.
I have never known someone who did not make more than minimum wage if they put the effort forth.
But that is a subjective statement. *In some ways our minimum wage workers are living better than the rich did 300 years ago. *They are living better than the wealthy in many of the third world countries now. *There is no way to define objectively what a 'livable' wage is short of letting the market set that wage itself. *I know this is a deeply emotionally charged subject, but the simple truth is that there will always be poor because 'poor' is a relative status. *The only way to truly eliminate the poor is to live in a completely communist society, which presents its own problems.Originally Posted by [b
I understand that you're advocating a reduction in the variance between rich and poor income levels, and not trying to remove the poor completely. *However, that still brings us to the question of 'how much is too much and how much is too little?'. *Everyone will answer that question differently because there is no way to objectively answer it. *Completely freedom allows society, as a fluid and dynamic whole, to set that value and continue to adjust it.
Further, by increasing the wealth of the nation by increasing the efficiency of the economic system you are allowing more money that could be contributed to private charities furthering this cause. *This is preferable because only those who subjectively believe that the bar is set too low will have to finance a change. *Do not get me wrong; I would likely contribute as well. *But I advocate this because I don't feel morally justified in forcing everyone else to live by my subjective morals.
Again, I respect your opinions and am just trying to present some counterpoints for thought. I hope I didn't come off aggressively. I think these debates are important to help readers see all sides of an issue. Nothing is more important than an educated electorate.
Nicholas, on the contrary, it's a refreshing and enjoyable change of pace to debate actual ideas in a calm, intelligent manner rather than hurling accusations about parties and personalities. I have a lot to say about some of these topics, but am at work and too busy to do them justice. Hopefully later I'll be able to revisit some points. But in the meantime, thanks for the good stuff, and once again I think this shows that people into CPs are a uniquely functional group!
Malo Periculosam Libertatem Quam Quietum Servitium
My photos are copyright-free and public domain
Personally, Libertarians are great! I'd never vote for one though, because they'd never win.
Josh.. You are a libertarian! Maximising personal freedom, minimizing government interferance...sound familiar? And what's so bad about hilary? I think she'd be awesome. She's been iffy about the Gay Marriage stuff this past year but she's still the best we've got.
I don't like her. *I do not feel she would do the country justice. *I feel we would be walked on by folks like North Korea and other nations. *I don't think she has the guts to do anything about them. *Your probably right, I fit into the libertarian category, but I haven't seen a decent libertarian run for government since I have been of voting age.
Capslock there is one fundamental thing wrong with raising minimum wage. *If you raise minimum wage then the prices of regular good increase. *Maybe not right away, but they will get raised. *Corporations will inch prices up every so often ti make up for having to pay individuals more money. *Then it will slow down the rate of pay raises for others, and it makes the wages for people like me seem smaller. *Since I my base pay is $14 and some change an hour if the minimum wage gets increased to $10 bucks an hour then what is the point of me having the education I do to make the money I am making now? *None. * Since I would be able to get a job making probably more money an not need the education I have to do it. *Not all wages will go up when the minimum wage increases. *You also have to remember that cooperations are not going to absorb all the extra cost of labor. *They are going to pass the buck to the consumer. *You know all those taxes cooperations pay? *The half of the social security it pays on every employee? *All that is tacked onto the cost of goods. *30% roughly is tacked onto the cost of everything you purchase to pay these taxes. *The cooperations don't actually pay them the consumers do. *It is just indirectly. *So I think it puts them back into he same situation. *You may be making more money, but the cost of goods increase to offset the increase you just gave them. *Now I do not know the changes that need to be made to make it better. *I too want to see the gap between the lower class and the upper class to narrow. *It is just getting ridiculous how the AVERAGE CEO of a company makes 400 times the amount of an average employee. *Now these are not the Exxon Mobile CEO these are the average run of the mill CEO making this much more than the average worker. *You have Deans of schools making Millions of dollars a year. *IIRC the Dean of UGA makes over a million a year. *I can see up to a half million a year seeing as how some professors make over 100 thousand a year, but a million a year? I agree something needs to be done, but I don't know what it is. I don;t want to get into total government control, but then you have to have some government control because for the human factor.
Nicholas there is just one major thing wrong with a totally free economy. *It is the Human factor. *The fact is there are some people out there that will screw anyone and everyone including their own mother to make a buck, and that is the reason we need some regulation of the economy. *Without it it will get down right nasty. *In a perfect world a free economy would be great, but you *know as well as I do that we live far from perfect and people like Ken Lay will try to get rich off the backs of his employees if left unregulated. *Wal-mart will drive every business out in hopes of becoming a monopoly. *Its happening with the current rules we have. *Don't get me wrong I like the low prices you can get at wal-mart, but now that they have run many other places out of business there quality of a lot of things is starting to decline to keep up with the low prices. *I find myself not shopping there as much anymore.
I dunno what needs to be done, but it surely is something. The cap between rich and poor is widening. Not everyone can be rich and not everyone should be poor either. But the fact is the middle class is shrinking and something needs to be done. The majority of people are so greedy though, and greed is the motivation behind a lot of the underhandedness.
An unregulated economy makes as much sense as roads without traffic laws. *No lanes, no speed limits, no stop lights, no stop signs. *If you believe that would become "a perfectly fair self-regulating system" then by all means you should trust in a free economy too. *The results are the same.
Bruce in CT
Madness is something rare in individuals ó but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche