Monday, December 9, 2013
Remember, the putative "point" of ObamaCare was to "bend the cost curve down" and "make health care more affordable." Indeed, the very name of the actual bill says so: "The Affordable Care Act." And what, exactly, is the point of that if not to address that great bogeyman of the Left- Income Inequality?
Which means that any discussion of the minimum wage by Democrats is based on the same foundation as their discussions about "universal health care," or "welfare," or any number of other things. And they're all based on a faulty understanding of money.
For some reason- perhaps laziness, perhaps malfeasance, perhaps true ignorance- Democrats continue to insist that all of these things are the same: money and currency, and cost and value. This is hogwash.
Money is not the same as currency- else the exchange of currency would be a static thing. If money were the same as currency, a British Pound would always be worth exactly 1.2 US Dollars (or whatever exchange rate). Instead, we find that currency exchanges fluctuate, now 1 pound is worth 1.2 dollars, now it's worth 1.3, now it's worth 1.1. Obviously there is something other than the currency which is actually being exchanged here.
Cost is not the same as value. If it were, the economy could not grow at all. All exchanges would be either detrimental to one party or, at best, they would be neutral. If cost were the same as value, then either I (as the seller of some thing) must over-charge to see a profit, or I must under-charge (thus incurring a loss), or I must charge exactly my cost (thus seeing no benefit from the sale).
It is important to note that most liberals know all of this. Just listen to them discussing the economy. At one moment they'll tell you "the economy is not a zero sum game" and the very next they'll say, "but it acts like it." They'll say, "such-and-such adds value to what-have-you" and then they'll decry "profiteering" (as though selling things for profit were akin to being a pirate).
Yet, they act as though they believe these things they obviously know not to be true. Raising the minimum wage only makes sense if money and currency are the same thing. Price controls (which are what ObamaCare amounts to) only work if cost is the same thing as value. "Income Inequality" is only a bad thing if money is the same thing as currency and cost is the same as value.
Since neither of those things is true, then "Income Inequality" cannot be a bad thing. Indeed, it is a good thing. That "Income Inequality" is one of the major drivers of any market economy- even one as fettered by regulation and red-tape as ours. People on the bottom seek to rise to the top. Thus (if they know the truth that money != currency and cost != value), they seek to become more valuable to their employer (or their customers) while also obtaining more capital (that is: money). Those who succeed are made "richer" those who fail are made "poorer."
I am not going to engage in a defense of capitalism's record on charity. Such defenses have already been made, and only the willfully ignorant believe that capitalism does not care for the poor better than socialism.
However, I will point out that the fact that those who fail to become more valuable are made poorer is a driver in the economy.
They are a driver in that the poor still need things. Thus capitalists seek ways to serve those needs- providing low-cost alternatives to higher-cost goods. Since the rich didn't get that way by wasting money, they often *also* seize on these lower-cost alternatives, further enriching society in general.
They are a driver in that, absent some perverse incentive, the poor are encouraged by their very "poor-ness" (virtually no one in the USA is "in poverty") to become more valuable. As they strive to become more valuable, more value is added to the economy, and everyone (including the "poor") benefit.
They are a driver in that, being currently less valuable than others, they can provide low-cost services. A fry-guy job at QuickyBurger for $7.50/hr is better than no job for $0.00/hr. By providing those low cost services, the "poor" make services cheaper than they otherwise would be AND make themselves more valuable.
Considered another way- what if there were no "income inequality?" What if, as the Democrats claim to dream, suddenly the fry-guy at QuickyBurger is making the same as a Personal Banker at MegaBank Corp, who is making the same as a software developer for MegaSoft Industries.
Well then, what personal value is it for someone to put forth the effort to become a banker or a software developer? Being a fry-guy isn't the most rewarding career, but it's certainly much easier with far less stress (in general) than being a banker or a software developer. Why pay for certifications or go to school for 4+ years when doing so will have no benefit? I mean, I can pay several hundred to a couple thousand dollars for classes and certification (to tens of thousands of dollars for a college degree), but then I'm making the same amount as the fry-guy. What's the point?
For there to be software developers and bankers and electricians and so forth to have any incentive to learn those trades, there must be some value to them. That is, there must be the promise of more income than they'd get as the fry-guy. In short, the "challenge" to "remove income inequality" is the quest to destroy an economy- to make an "economy" full of fry-guys and empty of bankers, software developers, and electricians.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Any Conservative can spout off the talking points:
- The REAL Minimum Wage is Zero!
- Raising the Minimum Wage increases unemployment!
- Raising the Minimum Wage leads to inflation!
And so forth.
But let's get past the talking points for a moment, and actually think about *why* raising the minimum wage is a bad idea. Sure, the real minimum wage really is zero. Sure, it really does increas unemployment (or, at least, slows hiring). Sure, it really does lead to inflation (through increased costs, rather than through increased money supply).
But one of those is a tautology, and the other two are effects. Instead, let's consider some foundational ideas. Those things are true, but so (at least on the surface) are the liberal's talking points. So let's look at the real world.
That is, let's look again at what "money" and "wages" really are.
First off- money. I've pointed out before that those ones and zeros in your bank account are not money. Neither are those dollars or coins in your pocket. The latter is "currency" which is merely an abstraction of money. The former is an abstraction even of currency.
Money, at its base, is the representation of the value of capital. Sometimes that capital is "real" (that is- stuff or land), sometimes it is "labor" (that is- a person actually doing something). Nevertheless, "money" is essentially an abstraction of "I'd like to trade this half-pound of apples for that loaf of bread."
Wages, then, is money- that abstraction- given in exchange for labor. That means- however much currency is exchanged, you are only giving someone the value of their labor. Now, market distortions (such as a "minimum wage") can mess with that to some extent and for a time. Ultimately, however, money is like water- it will find its level.
So let's consider what "raising the minimum wage" really does. It states, arbitrarily, that the currency representation of the value of the labor of the fry-guy at QuickyBurger is now $10.00/hr. Will that make the fry-guy at QuickyBurger able to buy more stuff? Over the short-term, it will. Over the long term, the value of a fry-guy is the value of a fry-guy, and that value is not enough to be a bread-winning career. So the Economy (that gigantic, chaotic abstraction) will eventually find it's equilibrium, and the fry-guy at QuickyBurger will be in the same place he was before. Sure, gas will cost $15/gal, and the "value menu" will be the "$5.00 value menu," but ultimately he'll be where he was before- needing roommates to have an apartment and not being able to afford most of the "finer things" in life.
Now, how do I know this to be true? Because I've lived it. Most of us have. When I was a kid, minimum wage was $5.15/hr. Someone working a minimum wage job could just about afford a cheap car payment, gas, and some minor bills (say, a credit card). That was about it. Today, someone making $7.50/hr can afford... a cheap car payment, gas, and some minor bills. That's about it. So if we raise the minimum wage to $10.00/hr, then in a couple of years, someone making $10.00/hr will be able to afford a cheap car payment, gas, and some minor bills.
On the other hand, when I was a kid, someone making $7.50 an hour could afford a cheap car payment, gas, some minor bills, and could go in with one or two other people and afford a decent apartment. Now, someone making $10.00/hr can afford a cheap car payment, gas, some minor bills, and can go in with one or two other people and afford a decent apartment.
Now, even cold-hearted capitalists like me will admit that someone making minimum wage can't support themselves, let alone a family. The difference is that capitalists (cold-hearted or otherwise) also recognize that the kind of work for which you get paid minimum wage is not the kind of work you should be doing for a career. It doesn't have the value of a job that you could have for a career.
My first job was a minimum wage, part-time job at a pizza joint while I was in high school. My second job (starting right as I got out of high school) paid slightly better (about $6.50/hr, IIRC) as a bank teller. Obviously, "bank teller" provided more value than "pizza joint bus boy." My next job was making $10.00/hr. And, with a few exceptions due to Life Happening, that has been my progression. Now as a 30-something with a wife, two kids, two cars, two dogs, and a mortgage, I'm making enough money that my wife works only because she wants to (and part-time, at that). It took effort, it took hustle, and it took gumption, but I did it.
I couldn't have done it without those early jobs. They taught me things- from showing up on time (and even early), to how to deal with coworkers I didn't like, to how to argue with a boss and win.
So rather than focusing on the wage which won't change however we represent it in currency, let's focus on the actual problem- people holding entry-level jobs who are trying to make them be careers. That is something we can fix, and we don't need legislation to do it. All that we need to fix that is education, and I'm not even talking about public schools here.
But, of course, that won't happen. It won't happen because the Democrats can't let it. One of the biggest weapons in their arsenal is that they supposedly care for "the poor" more than Republicans. If they admitted that Republicans have been right this entire time and that raising the minimum wage doesn't actually help (and really harms) lower income workers, they'd lose that weapon. And Democrats don't care about the poor. The only care about how the poor vote.
Consider it this way- if you really cared for the poor, wouldn't you do everything you could to raise them up and make them better- so that they could support themselves without your help? So what do you call it when you're doing everything you can to make them believe that they're incapable of taking care of themselves and that you're the only one who can protect them?
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
As we continue digesting the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, many of those who yelled “Justice for Trayvon!” continue to complain that the “murderer” got away. We’ve already discussed in this space why George Zimmerman is not a murderer. Indeed, George Zimmerman is not at all responsible for what happened that night in Sanford, FL.
As for the proximate actors, the guilty party was Trayvon Martin. If nothing else, the “lesson” of the Zimmerman case is this: don’t attack strangers in Concealed Carry states.
But there is some truth to the claim that the person (or persons) responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death have not been punished. But, you see, they never will be. They never will be because to punish them would require those same people who are currently threatening George Zimmerman (and his parents) with assassination to realize an uncomfortable fact. They are the ones responsible; them and the culture they represent.
You see, Trayvon Martin came from an habitually violent culture. It is a culture which still believes manhood is attained through acts of violence and domination. You can hear it in their music and speech. You can see it in their dress and their dance. A male is not a “man” until he has somehow proven it. A female is not a woman but a “ho,” a piece of property to belong to some thug.
Now, many will call me racist (excuse me: “raaaaacist”) for saying these things, but they are simply true. Moreover, there is no racial element here. The thug culture is not limited to Blacks. It is not even limited to “minorities.” Last time I looked, Marshall Mathers was White. These cultural markers exist for white thugs as much as they do for black, brown, yellow, or green.
We now know that Trayvon Martin was a violence happy thug. Indeed, in at least one instance he complained that someone he fought had not bled enough. This is a cultural issue, not a racial one.
And that it is not a racial issue is important. You cannot choose your race. Trayvon Martin was Black. George Zimmerman is most properly a “mutt” or “mongrel” (as is the author of this post). But George Zimmerman’s culture was superior to Trayvon Martin’s culture.
George Zimmerman’s culture produced a man who cared about his neighborhood enough to volunteer with the neighborhood watch. His culture produced a man who attempted to help those less fortunate than himself. It produced a man who fought injustice when the white son of a police officer beat up a homeless black man. It produced a man who was, and I presume still is, aspirational.
Trayvon Martin’s culture produced a man who was a thug. His culture produced a man who had been suspended three times that school year alone. It produced a man who saw his worth in physical violence. It produced a man who, when given the option of shrugging off a perceived slight instead chose to confront a stranger, in that stranger’s neighborhood.
So it is no surprise that that culture is now seeking revenge. And revenge is what it seeks, not justice. Because for it to seek justice would require it to cease to exist. It- the Thug Culture- is responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death far more than the poor man who was forced to take a life in order to preserve his own.
Monday, July 15, 2013
A 17 year old young man is dead. His family are emotionally wounded, perhaps shattered. The man who killed him walks free; his conscience is the only punishment (outside of punishment of standing trial) he will receive- provided someone seeking vigilante justice does not kill him.
And none of that is a miscarriage of justice. The miscarriage of justice is that he was tried in the first place. The miscarriage of justice is that the young man's family was told their son was murdered, and that the murderer would be jailed. The miscarriage of justice is that people today want the gunman dead.
I speak, of course, of the case of Florida v Zimmerman, in which George Zimmerman was prosecuted for acting in self defense. A case in which the special prosecutor did not maintain the properly- even necessary- distance from the case and instead promised young Trayvon Martin's family "Justice for Trayvon." A case in which a family court judge ran a criminal court in the manner of family court. A case which should have ended with the Prosecution failed even to prove there was a crime, let alone that Zimmerman was guilty of it.
On that rainy night, George Zimmerman called the police. His story- a story which has not changed materially since the night of the shooting- is that he exited his vehicle to check the street name and street numbers to better guide police to the correct location. I do not believe it incredible that he also attempted to locate young Mr. Martin, but there is no proof of that.
Zimmerman's story continues: after hanging up with police and realizing he had no sight of Martin, he moved to return to his vehicle. At this point, he was confronted my Mr. Martin. This was no 12 year old cherub, as the media would have you believe. He was a 17 year old football player, nearing the prime of his physical life. He was a thug who liked fighting, and in a series of texts would lament that an opponent had not bled enough.
We do not know the specifics of that conversation. We do know it was brief. We also know that it was brief because of how quickly it became physical. Zimmerman maintains that Martin attacked him, punching him in the nose, and that he (Zimmerman) was too stunned to defend himself until he was on the ground being straddled by Martin. Zimmerman claims it was at this point he cried for help, and continued to do so until Martin discovered Zimmerman's concealed weapon, whereupon Martin (says Zimmerman) said "You're going to die tonight."
Zimmerman grabbed his gun and fired one shot. That shot was fatal. Martin would have lost consciousness within seconds. He would have been dead within a number of minutes which does not require two digits to count.
All of this is Zimmerman's story. On the record. Repeatedly. Never once has any material claim he made changed.
But what did the evidence say? What did officers believe? Evidence showed that Zimmerman had a damaged face, and abrasions on the back of his head. Evidence showed no outward signs of physical trauma to Martin except scraped knuckles (as may have occured when punching someone in the face), and the single gunshot wound. When they interviewed him, officers believed Zimmerman was telling the truth. He was arrested and interrogated that night; he submitted to both without counsel. The next day, he walked the investigators through his version of events- on camera.
The police decided all the evidence pointed to self defense. The DA decided all the evidence pointed to self defense. Mr. Zimmerman was released.
That should have been the end of it. As tragic as that tale was, it should have ended there. But it was not to be. For a variety of reasons- I personally believe because Barack Obama was flagging in the polls- the Media picked up the story. They decided that the Hispanic Zimmerman must be a white guy. They decided that Zimmerman must have racially profiled Martin, and edited the 911 call to prove their point.
Because of Rick Scott's cowardice, special prosecutor Angela Corey was assigned to the case. Using deceptive, even criminal, prosecutorial practices, she indicted Mr. Zimmerman on a charge of 2nd Degree Murder- a charge which requires more than mere rage, it requires a "depraved state of mind." Ms. Corey promised "Justice for Trayvon."
Now, the trial is over. For those of us who followed the trial closely, it was a bizarre, frightening thing. The prosecution seemed to believe it merely needed to provide reasonable doubt that Zimmerman's account was accurate, rather than proving the charge "beyond a reasonable doubt." The judge made strange decisions- somehow Mr. Zimmerman's past was relevant, but texts from Mr. Martin's phone (showing above mentioned history of violence) were not. Defense motions were denied almost out of hand. The Defense methodically destroyed every assertion made by the prosecution. State's witness after State's witness provided testimony which not only did not contradict Mr. Zimmerman's account, but bolstered it.
Zimmerman was, thankfully, acquitted. He should never have been tried, but he was. And now he should be free. The story should end there. But it doesn't.
The Media and so-called "intelligencia" would *still* have you believe that Zimmerman was "morally, if not criminally" responsible for the death of Mr. Martin. And that's the kindest version. Many believe he literally got away with murder. The New Black Panther Party wants him dead. NFL Players wished him dead. Many are clamoring for Federal Charges.
Zimmerman may have been acquitted, but he will never be free. He must live now in fear for his life, for the lives of his family and loved ones. All because of a miscarriage of justice.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
See, while it is important that Barack Obama (who is a stuttering CF of a malignant traitor) is assuming authority not granted, that’s hardly news anymore. And, in this case, if he “asked” Congress for it, he’d get it- Republicans would sign on in a heartbeat, as would most Democrats. So, it’s bad, but it’s not the worst part of this, in my opinion.
See what is specifically not mentioned is the Individual Mandate.
So Barack Obama is siding with “Wall Street” and “Big Corporate” interests over “Main Street” and “Just Folks.” The people on Main Street would like their own Mandate- the individual mandate- to be delayed, but that’s not being done. It’s only the “Corporate Fat Cats” (who, by-the-by, are largely Democrat donors) who receive this unexpected break.
So, while Obama’s corporate buddies get to protect their bottom line for one more year, individuals- many of whom were counting on group coverage from their employer- will still be on the hook for very expensive Individual Policies.
Just to see how expensive, I used HealthCompare to see what coverage would cost for my family- 2 adults and 2 children. The cheapest I found, via BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, for a $10,000 deductible, and then a further $3,000 coinsurance maximum (for total out-of-pocket of $13,000 + copays + prescriptions) would cost me $312.00 per month. If I could get it at that price. And that’s starting next month, rather than next year (when prices will inevitably have increased)
Now, some individuals were expecting that. They’re self-employed, or they work at a company with fewer than 50 employees. But many people were expecting to have access to group coverage- coverage that would almost certainly be less expensive per month AND would have the benefit of coming from pre-tax dollars. And now those people will not be getting that coverage- throwing them into the Individual Insurance market.
So, with due respect Ace, I think the point of this story is this: Obama promised he was doing this for “normal folks.” Yet it seems he’s in it for his donors, instead.
Monday, July 1, 2013
This video comes to me via commenter “Lauren” at the Ace of Spades HQ. Lauren an a host of others went to Austin, TX this morning to help counteract the (largely astro-turfed) pro-baby-murder (wait, I’m supposed to call them “Pro Choice”) crowd. You know, the ones who stood with Wendy Davis who, if her mother believed as she obviously does, would never have been born.
Hear that singing? It's "Amazing Grace." That's the pro-life group. Here that angry chanting? (I think it's supposed to be "choice! now!") That's the pro-baby-murder group.
Now, that would be bad enough. I mean, really, “Choice! Now!” as though there is no “choice” in Texas at the moment? Let’s look at this bill they’re “protesting.”
First, it would prohibit abortions after the 20th week. Specifically it would prohibit “elective” abortions after the 20th week. For the record, here are a bunch of ultrasounds of human babies at 16 weeks (4 weeks prior to that deadline). I’m sorry, but at 20 weeks (well into the 2nd trimester) we’re no longer talking about a “choice.”
Second, it would hold abortion clinics to the same health and inspection standards as Ambulatory Surgery centers. Considering the risks involved (see the “complications” section of that second list) involved with D&C or D&E procedures, I would think women would want that level of sanitation. Wasn’t the whole point of “safe, legal, and rare” that women were getting these abortions in “back alleys” and that’s bad because back alleys are, well, dirty?
Third, it would impose some limitations on doctors performing the butchery (sorry, “procedure”). They would have to have admitting privileges to an actual hospital, among other things.
So, with the exception of the week limit, these are all for women’s health. These changes make it more likely that women will even survive the procedure. Taken as a whole, they will help prevent (or at least punish after the fact) any further Kermit Gosnells.
And, somehow, that’s a bridge too far for the pro-baby-murder crowd.
But they didn’t stop there. Lauren also chimed in with this:
My Source* is a huge pro-abortion activist. So great, in fact, that she had knowledge of and and invitation to, the OWS tactics meeting that was held yesterday. Basically, she went and was really disgusted by their tactics because she recognized them as the ones that were used against her when she was a precinct chair for Hillary 4 Texas. Obama's minions used these tactics way back then.
She says that she just got back from the tactics meeting, and instead of the "how to not get arrested" meeting that it was billed as it was actually a "how to cause as much disruption as possible without getting your hands dirty."
Basically and OWSer marks a random person as a target. This is usually someone in a position of power on the opposite side. The OWSer calls over the police and tells them that the target has been harassing them and demands an on the spot investigation.
The police oblige, and spend the next 30-45 minutes interviewing the target. Obviously this disrupts the opposition's protest and also, more importantly, it pulls police away from their duties which gives the OWSers room to do whatever nefarious deed they have planned.
*- Source was identified to me, but Lauren asked that I withhold the identification. Also, this is an edited version of a lengthy email, I believe I have represented it in all material ways correctly.
So it’s not enough to attempt a “public’s veto” of a duly passed bill. It’s not enough to claim that baby-murder (sorry: “choice”) is so important that we must not have the least amount of regulation and oversight of the facilities in which this butchery (sorry: procedure) will be done. No, we also have to attempt to have the authorities interfere with the opposition, lest anyone hear their side of it.
Well, murder-bots? Now our side is being heard. Whether you like it not.