Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A One Page Essay to Earn $1 More Than Minimum Wage


First of all THIS. McDonalds promises to add 50,000 new jobs and all I have to say is fuck you, Evil Empire. Fortunately, someone else said it a little more eloquently than I could manage given the provocation:

McDonalds, and so many other companies offering jobs, offer low paying, part-time jobs, without benefits, so that such companies can make mind-numbing profits. They are not interested in providing jobs to the people, they are interested in making as great a profit as possible. Creating new jobs creates new money-making markets; but they want to have these markets run by people who are paid as little as possible, an insignificant amount of money for the work they do and the money they help generate. The lower the salary and benefits they can get away with, the greater the profit. The average worker is being used by them as servile servants, and they are told if they are not willing to accept this fact, many others will be willing to take their job, and so they should just be quiet and not cause any problems. We are told that they should be willing to be paid little and be grateful for the crumbs they are being given. Hard work, after all, pays off – just, of course, we often forget who benefits from the hard work is often not the one who does it! [emphasis added]

Exactly. Ex-fucking-actly. I type until my joints swell and ache and who makes the money around here? The same guy who took away my sick days because he could. Don't ever forget that. Unless you work for yourself, working harder isn't benefiting you. It's benefiting your boss. And if you think, given the evidence of just the last two years alone, that you're going to get something out of it- a raise, a promotion, job security- I have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn you can have for the low, low price of $500.

I would also like to share something so twisted and ridiculous, I can only assume the local McDonalds franchises are run by an evil genius whose house should be searched for the world-ending laser it no doubt contains. I know someone who works at a local McDonalds*. He has been recommended for the position of crew trainer. Unlike normal shift workers, crew trainers get 40 hours per week guaranteed, rather than the oh-so-clever not quite enough hours to require benefits, and crew trainers make $1 an hour more than minimum wage, so $8.75. Whoo!! Living the high life right there! Working at McDonalds and making a little more than $18,000 per year! Be still my heart!

You know what he has to do to earn these fabulous riches? Write a one page essay about why he would be a good crew trainer. Don't worry, it's one page double spaced. Yes, typed. On a computer. And printed out. On a printer. Isn't that fucking speshul? (For the privilege blind: generally speaking, an adult desperate enough to find working at McDonalds full time a good deal probably doesn't have a computer or a printer. Those things cost money.) Don't worry, I got done writing, typing and printing it out for him an hour ago, but fucking really? That much hoop jumping to make $8.75 at fucking McDonalds?

I guess simply holding your boot to someone's throat gets boring after a while. And desperate groveling is so entertaining.



*McDonalds are franchises, which means that different McDonalds under different ownerships may have different policies, so this may only be true for the McDonalds where I live, which are all owned by the same person. Also note that unemployment in my area is so high that jobs typically held by teenagers, such as part time worker at McDonalds, are all held by adults. Desperate, poor, at the end of their ropes adults.

32 comments:

  1. A buddy of mine used to deliver pizzas. Apparently the owner of several of the locations in the area used to fuck around all the time. He started a contest where he put all the area locations against each other. The goal? To be faster than everyone else. Just, you know, because. There was no reward for "winning." There was no penalty, either, to the best of my knowledge, but there is always the, "This is the slowest location, heads will roll," threat hanging unspoken above everyone.

    One day the owner sent an email to the store manager congratulating him on the fantastic job the store was doing getting pizzas out. This was a store that was not at the top of the leaderboard and which had been getting a, "You need to go faster," official message. The store manager proceeded to leave that email out in a conspicuous location...

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  2. At the Dunkin Donuts by my house, the timer for the drive through faces the door, so if you're waiting in line at the counter, you can see it. I was rather shocked to see the word "PATHETIC!" roll across the timer, just like that, all caps, exclamation point and blinking for everyone in the store to see.

    I asked what happens if you, for example, go the whole day without getting an all caps blinky PATHETIC!, and the woman gave me a funny look and said, "Nothing, but too many 'pathetics' and somebody's getting fired. Nobody wants to work drive through anymore."

    You just can't tip these poor employees enough.

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  3. Please offer a suitable solution to this situation. Please also keep in mind that the purpose of a business is to bring money to its owner (otherwise it would be a charity). Also, please explain why the job that just about everyone can do should not be paid the least, compared to, say, the job that only a few can do (like rocket science, or the job of an attorney, or neurosurgery).

    Granted, the way some companies treat their employees (like the "pathetic" example or your boss cutting down benefits) is bad, and I do not support it. There should be and are laws against this. You stated in a previous post that you do not dare sue your bos for abusive cutting of benefits, for fear of losing your job and never getting employed again. But, unfortunately, there is nothing else that you can do, except to find another job if you dislike the situation, which, I know, is equally difficult. But this is how things have always been: the strong dominating the weaker, the richer domincating the poorer, etc. Do you see any solution to that?

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  4. Rigor, are you actually objecting to PF pointing out that a lot of big companies are gaming the system in order to pay their workers as little as possible? I ask because your comment comes across as, well, hostile.

    Assuming that you're posing a serious question, the only long-term solution I can see is to create an environment where the balance of power isn't tilted so completely in favor of the employers. That can be done in part through laws (though obviously such things need to be carefully formulated), and in part by working to create an economic environment where unemployment isn't absolutely rampant. There are probably other possibilties that I'm neglecting, but that's a start.

    Neither of those involves just sucking it up and taking the exploitation because "this is how things have always been." That isn't true, and even if it were, there's no reason that it has to be that way.

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  5. Y'know, Rigor, you're pretty much a total dick. And, no, I won't be offering a solution to that problem, since you probably don't want to hear it and I probably won't be able to come up with a specific solution that you will consider satisfying, seeing as how you have absolutely no reason to listen to me. People are always going to be complete and total dicks on the internet because there is no regulatory body to watch out for such things. And any time someone points that problem out they're just derided as "tone trolls" or told to toughen the fuck up.

    So, I guess the lesson is that we're stuck in an intractable situation where you're always going to be a complete and total dick on the internet and I'll always be forced to read your smarmy, self-indulgent bullshit if we're going to be in the same place. Boot, human face, forever, etc.

    It sucks to be me, I guess. And it doesn't suck to be you, since you're, as I've mentioned, a complete and total dick and, therefore, probably don't give a shit.

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  6. @ Rigor

    I would urge you to be quite cautious in applying "that's how it's always been," to...anything. I don't know of anything in physical reality that isn't subject to constant change.

    Also, preventing the abuse of workers by the owners of the means of production is the main concern of labor unions and socialism. So let's not pretend that nobody has ever applied thought and energy to this. Seriously.

    Karl Marx rolls in his grave.

    You, personally, might feel weird about the solutions that have been proffered, but that is not at all the same as suggesting that they don't exist or don't work at all. The EU offers examples(not perfect ones, but still) of countries where there is a strong labor party involved in the government, which exists to prevent *exactly* the situation described here.

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  7. "Please offer a suitable solution to this situation."

    Short Term: regulate the minimum wage and employee benefits, to reduce how rediculously easy it is for the employer to take advantage.
    Long Term: reduce the rediculous unemployment level. Power up the government machine, like you did during the space race, but working towards something with obvious benefits: like wind turbines or road-maintanence or electric-cars. The unemployed 9% become productive, they start spending more and offering up more taxes, which pays dividends in the economy. And when there isn't a tenth of your population begging for work, the "I'll quit" threat that employees supposedly have over employers actually becomes viable. (unashamedly stolen from Fred Clark)

    And if every western government in the world didn't have such a short-sighted "we're only in for 4 years, 8 if we're lucky" outlook, such a plan might be possible. But our governmental system doesn't encourage long-term thinking. It's always "what'll pay dividends before the next election?" not "what'll keep the country from collapsing in twenty years time?"

    Wow. That was cynical.

    Also, please explain why the job that just about everyone can do should not be paid the least, compared to, say, the job that only a few can do (like rocket science, or the job of an attorney, or neurosurgery).

    "Paid the least" is not the same thing as "paid less than necessary to survive." I'll grant you the McEmployee shouldn't get paid as much as the Neurosurgean, or the rocket scientist, (but what about the polititian?). But what level of difference is too much? (Take a look at the third chart in that link) (and kudos to Denelian for linking me to that site way back when)

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  8. Pfft, Quasar, you're CLEARLY some kind of filthy communist. Rich people are better than the rest of us. Just better. More moral, more important, more clever, BETTER dammit. Anyone who can't make it completely on their own merit, like all of the rich people, deserves to starve in a ditch! TRUFAX.

    /I weep that this isn't even satire anymore.

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  9. I was going to comment but Rigor did it for me. It's nice to see someone injecting a note of reality. I'm not surprised it wasn't well-received.

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  10. I was going to comment but Rigor did it for me. It's nice to see someone injecting a note of reality. I'm not surprised it wasn't well-received.

    Uh huh. So instead of commenting on the valid points in the responses and the actual answers offered to Rigors leading question (Michael Mock, ppbloggers and myself all did so with varying degrees of politeness), you instead give a compliment to the original poster wrapped up in a nicely subtle piece of passive-aggressive tone-trolling?

    On the off chance you do consider responding to this comment, please note that the "valid points" and "actual answers offered" are the important parts and the "passive-aggressive tone-trolling" is more an opinion comment and not worth debating.

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  11. "Uh huh. So instead of commenting on the valid points in the responses and the actual answers offered"

    I could do that, but I didn't think they were valid points or answers worth responding to. Do I really need to point out that the heavy hand of big government isn't a good solution to every perceived problem?

    "you instead give a compliment to the original poster"

    Yes, because I admire people who have the nerve to come into what is going to be a hostile environment and calmly point out nonsense when they see it. I know it's often not worth bothering engaging people with wildly different assumptions, but I still think it is sometimes a good thing.

    "On the off chance you do consider responding to this comment"

    That's pretty funny. I'm probably the world's worst for having to respond to every comment directly addressed to me.

    "please note that the "valid points" and "actual answers offered" are the important parts"

    See above.

    "the "passive-aggressive tone-trolling" is more an opinion comment and not worth debating. "

    I'll translate that gibberish as that you didn't like my agreement with Rigor's comment. I commented because I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone else reading this blog appears to have an idea about business realities, and because of the reaction to his comments.

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  12. "I could do that, but I didn't think they were valid points or answers worth responding to. Do I really need to point out that the heavy hand of big government isn't a good solution to every perceived problem?"

    The suggestions all seem to be a combination of "reduce unemployment", "promote labour unions" and "regulate the worst excesses". Mine came the closest to "heavy hand of big government" with "directly combat unemployment by making government jobs", but these are still a significant far-cry from each other: more government jobs does not mean an associated increase in governmental power. It seems you are categorising the suggestions without considering them: for example, labour unions have nothing to do with "big government".

    In fact, "regulating the worst excesses" is much closer to the "big government" boogie man, and I doubt you would be opposed to offering PF some type of recourse from her boss throwing staplers at her and forcing employers to pay employees enough to actually survive on.

    "Yes, because I admire people who have the nerve to come into what is going to be a hostile environment and calmly point out nonsense when they see it."
    ...
    That's pretty funny. I'm probably the world's worst for having to respond to every comment directly addressed to me.


    Fair enough: I can empathise with both statements, having been in both situations before. I apologise for the previous, badly directed sarcasm. However, I vehemently disagree that what Rigor did was "calmly point out nonsense", when he responded to [paraphrased] "we should improve the lot of minimum-wage workers" with "please explain why the job that just about everyone can do should not be paid the least, compared to, say, the job that only a few can do". That, right there, is the textbook definition of a strawman argument.

    "I'll translate that gibberish as that you didn't like my agreement with Rigor's comment."

    Your translation is faulty, though I apologise for the gibberish. Perhaps I should have just said "insult" and left it at that, but my vocabulary and verbosity both increase involuntarily when I enter into a dispute with someone with whom I disagree. Odd habit of mine, that one. I need to learn to control it.

    I have no problem with your agreement with Rigor: we have differing opinions and I respect this. What I didn't like was the "I'm not surprised it wasn't well-received" tailing comment, which in combination with your agreement and your characterisation of his personal opinion as "reality" is a blatent passive-agressive insult: calling us out of touch with reality. Further, we are apparently so far out of touch with reality that the answers we propose to Rigors argument can be disregarded out of hand: his argument is so self-evident it stands on it's own despite the vain and pathetic attempts of our miniscule brains, atrophied by years of exposure to corrosive liberal beliefs, to argue against it.

    ;)

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  13. Hmmm... I generally use italics/bold to distinguish my opinion of the person quoted, with the axis going from italics = respect to bold = derision. I have been recently experimenting with using it as an identifier for my opinion of the quote in particular. This appears to have been a failure: the comments come across as poorly formatted and inconsistant. I am reverting to the former approach.

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  14. "The suggestions all seem to be a combination of "reduce unemployment"

    Which you don't do by increasing regulations.

    ""promote labour unions""

    An even worse idea than increasing regulation.

    "and forcing employers to pay employees enough to actually survive on."

    No, I do not think you, or someone else should get to decide what employers pay people.

    ""please explain why the job that just about everyone can do should not be paid the least, compared to, say, the job that only a few can do". That, right there, is the textbook definition of a strawman argument."

    It's not a strawman at all. It is in fact an on point comment about the ridiculousness of complaining about unskilled workers being paid low wages. If your job is such that you can be replaced by a random high-school kid, the job doesn't have a value that commands a substantial wage.

    "but my vocabulary and verbosity both increase involuntarily "

    I have that problem too.

    "more government jobs does not mean an associated increase in governmental power"

    Yes, actually it does. Government does not create wealth. It takes wealth in the form of taxes and moves it around. Government jobs require more tax money, and more taxes involve an increase in government power.

    "I doubt you would be opposed to offering PF some type of recourse from her boss throwing staplers at her"

    There is recourse for that type of behavior. Throwing a stapler at someone is assault.

    "opinion as "reality" is a blatent passive-agressive insult: calling us out of touch with reality."

    I do think most on the left are out of touch with reality when it comes to basic economics. I wouldn't call it an insult, just a perception.

    "Further, we are apparently so far out of touch with reality that the answers we propose to Rigors argument can be disregarded out of hand"

    That's a harsh way to put it. I'd say rather that I find it pointless to have a wide-ranging argument with someone with wildly different fundamental assumptions. If I'm arguing with someone well on the left I prefer to stick to something very specific, in which we can identify at least some common ground in terms of definitions and logical reasoning.

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  15. i do love me some mother-jones


    moving on to the current argument.


    let me make a few points clear: at this point, the "Rich" in the US - the less than 10% that control almost 90% of the wealth - are IN CONTROL.


    and this isn't just BAD for people like me and PF and Quasar and PPB - it's bad for YOU GUYS, TOO, UNRR and Rigor.


    think about it - what have the rich done to make themselves EVEN RICHER? [which, btw, after a certain fucking point become the stupidest exercise, EVAR. after you have so many fucking houses you don't even know how many you have another million a year DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER

    they have worked to move many, many many, many many many, MANY jobs to places where work is cheaper - while STILL getting all the fucking tax breaks they'd get if they were ACTUALLY following the mandates about "you get these tax cuts only if X% of your workers are USians in the US".
    they have GAMBLED - *BADLY* with *our* money. all those failures, risky mortages, toxic assets? THEY KNEW. they KNEW those things weren't worth the paper they were printed on - and continued to inflate the prices to increase their short-term income
    then, when the bottom fell out of their ponzi-scheme, what did they do?
    they went and CRIED to King George II and the Republican Party, and TRILLIONS of *OUR* dollars were GIVEN [in actually, if not technically] to these people, because their business were "too large to fail"
    and THEN they essentially welched on the deal - the DEAL was that these were LOANS, and they would be PAID BACK, and they would EMPLOY USians again.

    record-breaking profits.
    almost no taxes.
    not paying back loans.
    moving more of their operations overseas.



    here's the thing - the rich, however much they WANT to, do NOT live in a fucking vacuum.

    most of them are now SO wealthy, it literally doesn't mean anything.
    but - and this is the real, IMPORTANT, open your fucking eyes and engage your fucking BRAINS - BUT, in the near future, all that wealth isn't going to be worth 1/10th of what it's worth NOW.

    in a VERY real way, the US dollar is now tied to LABOR. NOT gold [Xd $ != Xgold] or any other commodity - dollars are based on work. how much work will my dollar buy me.

    they, the rich, worked VERY hard to make this happen. there's a finite amount of gold in the world - at SOME point, it will all be "owned" and no one can get richer [or rather, there's an upper limit to it, so it becomes a sum-zero game, as ANY good economic system SHOULD be]
    they don't want that - sure, they control 90% of the wealth, but they want MORE. and MORE. they want NO upper limit on their wealth - they want it to accumulate for FOREVER.

    so, over the past 80 years or so, they've shifted the dollar from being gold-backed to being labor-backed.

    and now that it is, they're shooting themselves in the fucking HEAD.
    how?
    by devaluing labor

    think about it. my hands hurt and i'm going to throw up from pain in a minute, so i'm going to stop for now. think about it.

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  16. Odd follow-up question: I don't want to get too deep into the relative merits of Libertarian beliefs, because my exposure to Ayn Rand has been limited, thus far, to a single book - and, while it was thoroughly packed with her philosophical outlook, it was also self-evidently a fantasy novel.

    But it seemed pretty clear that even there, being rich was only loosely tied to merit. The folks who were extremely wealthy on the basis of their own work were an extreme minority; few enough, in fact, that the entire group of them could comfortably occupy a single valley hidden away in Colorado. The vast majority of rich people, the upper crust of society and goverment, and in fact the majority of companies and corporations with whom these heroes were competing (if not opposing outright), were clearly shown to be looters.

    And yet, an awful lot of the (nominal) Libertarians I run into online seem to reflexively, axiomatically support big business. Or, inversely, it seems that an awful lot of the reflexive support for big business has its roots in some version of a Libertarian outlook. So my question is, basically, how is that not at odds with Ayn Rand's writings? How do those views not conflict with their own source materials?

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  17. Denelian's rant is a prime example of what I was talking about in my comment above. How would I ever begin to respond to all those unsupported assumptions and assertions? I'd have to write a small book. It's not worth the trouble.

    Michael,

    I'm not a libertarian, although I am close to some of their ideas on economic matters. There are also many different types of libertarians. Ayn Rand's works are not the Bible for anyone other than Randians. In general libertarians support the free market and oppose many types of government involvement -- which does not necessarily mean support for big business.

    If you want to read & understand libertarian thinking, at least of the more mainstream varieties, I'd suggest checking out Cato.org and Reason.com. If you read Reason's Hit & Run blog you will also get some takes from more radical libertarian types, especially in the comments.

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  18. Ah, so the short answer is that they're not necessarily working from those source materials. Thanks!

    I'm going to have to do some digging on Libertarian philosophy, I think. Evidently I'm even less clear on it than I thought I was.

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  19. I will try to answer as short as possible to the main responses to my position.

    "Rigor, are you actually objecting to PF pointing out [...] as possible? I ask because your comment comes across as, well, hostile."
    I'm sorry, I did not mean for my argument to sound hostile. It is, I'm afraid, a valid set of questions, and I say "I'm afraid" because I would really like to live in a world in which asking these questions would pe pointless in a positive way.

    "That can be done in part through laws (though obviously such things need to be carefully formulated), and in part by working to create an economic environment where unemployment isn't absolutely rampant."
    This has been addressed by P.F. herself a little while ago. She can, in theory, sue, so the legal basis is there already. The fact that actually implementing that law might lead to a lot of undesirable consequences (such as becoming undesirable for employment) is an entirely different matter which is too complex of an issue to be handled by a law.

    "Also, preventing the abuse of workers by the owners of the means of production is the main concern of labor unions and socialism. So let's not pretend that nobody has ever applied thought and energy to this. Seriously."
    They did apply. Socialism failed quite miserably at this, and we have only history as a true witness to this statement. As for labor unions, I would be glad if you could confirm that American or British labor unions' leaders bear any resemblance to Ramon Estevez's character from "Wall Street", and have not turned into slogan machines that only campaign for "the worker's wage rights" because that automatically fills their pockets as well, however, I sincerely doubt that's the case. I'm sorry if I don't hold the American or British standards on this matter very highly. I really wish to be proven wrong.

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  20. "Karl Marx rolls in his grave."
    You do realize that you're trying to sell socialism to a citizen of a former communist country, right?

    "Short Term: regulate the minimum wage and employee benefits, to reduce how rediculously easy it is for the employer to take advantage."
    Agreed with you. We, for instance, have laws like this and, except for situations of great economic crisis, apply the principle "What has been fought for and won shall not be taken away". As far as I know, so does the U.S. of A. and most, if not all, civilized countries in the world. Your statement leads me to believe that these laws don't work. Is that the case? If yes, why?

    "Long Term: reduce the rediculous unemployment level. Power up the government machine, [...] employers actually becomes viable. (unashamedly stolen from Fred Clark)"
    This is, indeed, the whole idea of a good government, so what you say is a very sound principle and a good idea as a whole. Unfortunately, it's only a principle that I think every government gets in their installation booklet. Transforming it into reality is an entirely different matter altogether. That requires capable people and strong politicians. (Oh, and before you say anything: I do not expect you to lay out an entire governmental policy that you think is good and implements what you just said. I am a mostly reasonable person. I was just saying)

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  21. "And if every western government in the world didn't have such a short-sighted "we're only in for 4 years, 8 if we're lucky" outlook, such a plan might be possible. But our governmental system doesn't encourage long-term thinking. It's always "what'll pay dividends before the next election?" not "what'll keep the country from collapsing in twenty years time?" Wow. That was cynical."
    I can only take my hat off in front of this statement. Well done, Sir, you hit the nail precisely on the head with a masonry sledgehammer. People, however (and by that I mean the general public) are highly reactive to this, for reasons that I will not detail here. Still, I wouldn't mind to see this implemented. I see the same problem here as well.

    "more government jobs does not mean an associated increase in governmental power"
    No, it usually means more government overhead, because those jobs will have to result in wages. Those jobs better bring something useful for society.

    "That, right there, is the textbook definition of a strawman argument."
    Fair enough. Consider it a separate argument, then, or a valid, related question, if you wish.

    ""Paid the least" is not the same thing as "paid less than necessary to survive." I'll grant you the McEmployee shouldn't get paid as much as the Neurosurgean, or the rocket scientist, (but what about the polititian?). But what level of difference is too much?"
    I fail to see why there should be a "too much difference" level. If society considers neurosurgery to be 10.000.000.000 times more important than washing dishes at McDonalds, I don't see a problem with gaining a proportional amount of money in return. Coming back to "paid less than necessary to survive", though... I am not aware of how much the minium wage imposed by law meets living demands where you live. I do agree in principle that the minimum legal wage should cover th basic necessities. If you confirm it does not, then I'll recognize this as a valid problem in my future depates on the subject.

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  22. OMG BLOGGER YOU EVIL PIECE OF SOFTWARE... AGAIN?! GGARARRGH

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  23. Sonofabitch: that one went through, but the extensive reply after it didn't. Blogger sux.

    Sorry, I guess you guys are going to have to do without my [insert delusions of grandeur here] for a while.

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  24. UNRR;

    what, exactly, in that rant, was "unproven".

    the US used to be on the Gold Standard, as most countries were - whether or not gold has any intrinsic value isn't the POINT [this is an aside to Rigor], but rather almost everyone in the damned world DOES think it's valuable - to the point where survalists stock up on gold, assuming "after civilization falls", gold will be the only "real" currency.

    the fact of the matter is, currency is short-hand for bargaining - instead of trading two chickens for a cow, i hand over 200 dollars [or whatever] because everyone agrees that those 200 dollars are worth Xamount of gold, and Xamount of gold is equal to a cow.

    ANY non-metalic currencies was created BASED on "hard currency". based on gold [or, sometimes, silver] because of the shared reality of "gold is worth a lot"

    and the Republican Party, when they've been in control [or could force when they were in the minority, for other concessions] has pushed us further and further away from ANY commodity-based backing for the dollar.

    there's LITERALLY nothing backing the US dollar OTHER THAN the government. you can [theoretically] trade the dollar for other currencies, or even gold - but it's not fixed [other currencies, that makes sense - but NOT gold. gold fluctuates DAILY, sometimes HOURLY]

    so:
    Fact: the US dollar is not backed by any commodity. what it IS backed by, is labor. there's two ways that the dollar is "valued" on the world market - way 1 is "how many hours of labor will X amount of dollars get me" and way 2, the SECONDARY way, because it fluctuates so much, is "how much of X commodity will the dollar buy me".
    the reason 1 is 1 is because that's DOESN'T fluctuate on an hourly basis. oil, gold, land - all these fluctuate, because the dollar isn't directly tied to it.

    fact: mega-corporations HAVE been removing US jobs and taking them to places where it's cheaper - Mexico is the best example. and because of "trade agreements" forced thru by republicans, they can have MOST of their workers in certain countries [like Mexico] but STILL pay the lower taxes that are supposed to be what corps get for having a majority of their employees be in the US.
    fact: major financial companies WERE buying up "toxic" assets, listing them as "A-level" assets [making them worth a LOT more], and selling stock as if they WERE those A-level assets - making a killing - and when the bottom fell out, they not only didn't get punished for it, they were given bailouts. by the Republicans.
    and most of their high-level execs STILL made HUGE multi-million, or even billion, level bonuses.


    [cont]

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  25. which one of those facts is an "unsupported assertation?"
    Regan is the president who worked his ass off to deregulate the banking/financial industry, so that those schemes with toxic assets were POSSIBLE - deregulation and getting rid of oversight.


    seriously, the only part of what i said that CAN be claimed to be an "assumption" as opposed to a well-known FACT is the value of the dollar being based on labor - and that's only because all the people in charge are scrambling to hide it. i've taken several economy classes in the past 5 years, under many different professors, and ALL of them said the same thing on this, and SHOWED US why and how they came to this conclusion. i no longer have the textbooks, or i'd quote it for you.


    but everything else i said is a solid FACT. CALLING it "unfounded assertations and assumptions" doesn't change the fact that Republicans have been pushing for, and recieving, deregulation and lack of oversight for decades - chipping away at the regulations on the market so that the proctections afforded to the NON-rich are almost gone. now they're attacking enviromental protection laws, the EPA, the FDA, and unions.


    Rigor - you asked me "I suppose you will volonteer to be the spokesman for those that did not receive any bailout money, in the face of their former employees, right"

    and i'm not sure WHAT you're asking me. to be the spokesperson to the ex-employees of companies who broke regulations by trading in toxic assets listed as "A-level" assets, and explain to those ex-employees how their employers screwed them out of jobs and the country as a whole?

    those bailouts did NOT go to saving jobs, unless you mean the incredibly tiny-fraction of jobs that were HIGH up the ladder and over-paid. those bailouts didn't even go to fixing the fucking problem those companies created. they went to the "profit" column, really - they allowed the companies to stay open and keep doing their thing. and it's not that i think those companies shouldn't have been bailed out - it's HOW they were bailed out, how there was NO transparency to how that money was used, NO oversight, and not even the simple "this money is to be used ONLY for X, Y and Z - not to pay upper-est management's salaries or bonuses" - and, in at LEAST 3 PROVEN cases, bailout money WAS used to pay ASTRONOMICAL bonuses to CEOs or VPs.

    communism != socialism. i know everyone thinks so, as they're SIMILAR, but they aren't the same.

    the US is a HIGHLY socialist country - so many things people take for granted are socialist policies - 911, i.e. the fire department, police, and ambulance response; roads, schools, water, phone and cable and optic-wire lines, large parts of the medical world - this list is HUGE. and people don't even think about this - it's a FUCK of a lot cheaper to pay taxes for the roads than to pay tolls. cheaper to have taxes than to have to subscribe to fire and police protection individually. REALLY cheaper to have public schools.

    [cont]

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  26. the "free market", i.e. capitalism, suffers from the SAME ill that makes both communism and socialism fail in the end - PEOPLE. a pure capitalism is actually WORSE than a pure socialism - after not very long at all, the very richest will have total monopolies of EVERYTHING, and everyone who isn't already part of the elite is nothing but a peon.
    Capitalism ONLY works if it's restricted, with protections. that's been proven. "the free market" isn't some magic where everything works out perfectly - in fact, things are often WORSE outcomes, ESPECIALLY in areas, like health care, where the VALUE of the thing CANNOT be quantified. a human life is either infinitely worthy, or worth nothing at all - and in neither case can a "free market" actually do the best job of taking care of medical needs. a "free market" is just going to charge ALL IT CAN - no matter the state of the patient. people DIE *RIGHT NOW*, in the US, because they can't fucking AFFORD to get treatment.
    that is wrong.
    a free market cannot fix that, BECAUSE that IS the free market. in many things, capitalism works, if it's not monopolized. in many others, all it does is fail. this is one of them.

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  27. Now I'm actually confused... which part of my response went through and which didn't? I only see three posts of mine, yet danelian answered to one that doesn't show.

    Regarding bailouts - OK, so you do agree in principle, but not in the way this particular situation has been handled. You consider that the government misused and miscommunicated the whole affair. Fair enough, I'll grant you the better knowledge being in the middle of the problem, but my point still stands nonetheless.

    Regarding what you say to be socialist policies in the US: they are not. They are services that states require to function and keep order (like police, fire dept., ambulance, etc.) and that have been around for far more than the socialist ideology. Including them in socialism the way you did is basically the same as the Catholic Church claiming they invented charity.

    You say that socialism does not equal communism. Indeed, it doesn't. Comunism was, however, the practical application of socialism towards society and politics as a whole, the one govt. system that got closest to implementing socialism. Of course it was a severely twisted form of socialism, but it was socialism.

    The free market does not suffer from the same ill of communism, I'm sorry, but I am in total disagreement of this statement. The defining thing of capitalism is that you're "free to try". You may get high, or you may die trying. Nobody is to say that you won't turn out to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckenberg. After all, the rich and privileged still need people to work the crops and soldiers to protect their lands. What would prevent a revolution if they exaggerate?

    Communism does not allow you this freedom. You will forever be "Postal worker #32768" and, if you're really lucky, you might, after a while, get to be "Postal worker supervisor #1274". The definition of "enterprise", the ability to try your hand at the free market and see how well it goes for you, that is taken away by communism. Competition loses its meaning, as you compete for nothing at all. People are completely equal in their limitation. Progress is made simply because the international community is not communist, but competitive, and that forces communist countries to adapt and evolve (take a look at China before and after Mao if you don't believe me).

    Even if you were to have the most corrupt and out-of-balance capitalism that one may think of, you might get to succeed and get to the top of the social ladder. There is that chance that you just may be that good of a manipulator or organizer or you may get to be simply that indispensable to someone higher up. In communism, all this is irrelevant. You are nondescript.

    Socialism fares worse than communism, actually, because it is not meant to rule economy and nothing more. Applying the strict rules of socialism is probably good for the economy, but not good for social evolution. It promotes stagnation because the social processes that are influenced by economy are greatly disturbed in that indicators and incentives for progress no longer exist. I cannot think of a more Furthermore, it promotes attempts to cheat the system, mainly through choosing to always be on the needy side (and don't get me started on this; my dad gets high blood pressure every month when, during commute, he passes the town hall and sees lines of perfectly healthy, young people waiting for social security to be handed down to them, while, when commuting back, he sees the same people just sitting in a bar, smoking and drinking, and having an overall relaxed life not bothering to lift a finger - and all this because a certain somebody in the government decided to keep the damn social security laws as they were during communism).

    So don't tell me how much worse capitalism will fare than communism/socialism, because unless you've experienced both sides of the coin like I did, your opinion is mere speculation.

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  28. There is one more point that I'm going to try to make: you say that US is highly socialist, then you proceed to give me the toll/tax model. I believe that you are making a big confusion here: confusing principle with possibility and opportunity.

    Until 30-40 years ago, it was neither possible nor practical to use a toll model on everything. For services such as police and fire dept., it still is isn't opportune to enact such a model, because you personally are not the only one that is affected by those services. If your house catches fire and you have not subscribed to the fire dept., what will the firefighters do? Stand by until another house catches fire from yours and only extinguish that one? Not to mention that in the event of an emergency, they will not have the necessary time to check who's subscribed and who isn't. A common set of agreed-upon services that only the state is capable of providing does not usually allow for a toll model. And that is not socialism, that's society. Wihtout providing any services whatsoever, a state is unnecessary for its citizens, regardless of how that state is run and by who.

    Also, please take into consideration what a gigantic overhead a toll system would cause on govt. activity even today, with computers and high-speed networking. Less than 30 years ago, it would not even be possible to think such a system.

    I also find it very ironic to claim that the U.S. of A. is a "HIGHLY socialist" country, while at the same time current law packages being discussed and implemented in their initial phases ("Obamacare", anyone?) demonstrate that certain areas of society use a toll model. In Europe, who does not claim to be socialist in any way more than the U.S. of A., most countries have been implemented the "socialist" tax model for centuries for the very same areas.

    Of course it's cheaper. But that's not seeing the forest because of the trees. Currently, it's also the only way in which it's possible (short, of course, of not providing the service at all).

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  29. Rigor - i get emails of everything posted. so even if it doesn't post, i'm getting the email.

    second, you're missing some facts.

    we DO have subscription fire departments - there was a HUGE dust-up, a few months ago, where a man was late paying his fire-department dues - so the fire department showed up and did nothing. he offered to pay his dues [because he swore he literally just forgot]; he offered to pay EXTRA. the fire department let his house burn all the way to the ground, being there solely to keep the fire from spreading.

    we ALSO have toll-roads - owned by private individuals/corps. the private owner maintains the roads, and charges all they can for use of the road.


    you're statements about "in a free market, you can TRY!" also miss a REALLY big problem - places where you CAN'T try - you can't even start to join the game. because there's a monopoloy [virtually or literally] and either you aren't allowed to compete at ALL, or the cost is so HIGH, NO ONE can compete.

    unbridled, unregulated capitalism *VERY* QUICKLY* turns into just a few monopolies controlling everything. it's happened before, and its very quickly turning into it again, because the Republicans have been tearing down regulations.

    do i think socialism is *better*, over all? no - i think REGULATED capitalism is, with EXCEPTIONS - the exceptions being places where HUMAN LIFE is the issue.
    specifically health care - but police, fire fighters, schools, roads, water service, etc - these things are run on a socalistic model [because that's what it *IS*, when the government runs it off of taxes. that is the definition of socialism - the *society*, i.e. the gov;t, administers and collects payment for the service]

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  30. Well, sorry if I was wrong on my facts, I don't live in the U.S., but it was your post that gave me the impression that the services such as fire dept. and police are provided by the state. After all, you were arguing about how socialist the U.S. is. Now that you explain how what I theorized had, in fact happened (by the way, give me a link, I'd be really curious to read te news excerpt), it turns out that the U.S. isn't, in fact, as socialist as you presented it in your initial posts.

    Related to your last paragraph: I am in total agreement with you that regulated capitalism is the better way. After all, unregulated society of any kind (be it capitalism or socialism or whatever) quickly adopts "the law of the jungle", and things start going downhill from that. After all, one of the fundamental roles of a state is to protect its citizens and guard precisely agains those kinds of dangers that malicious humans pose. In enforcing that role, it must also regulate and occasionally control. If you want to call this a socialist model, then go ahead, I don't mind how you call a good idea as long as it's applied, but, as I said before, this has been around for far more than socialism.

    You may have noticed that I never argued for pure, unregulated capitalism. I would be mad to do that. But I do argue for capitalism.

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  31. most places fire-fighters are provided by a government entity - but not EVERYWHERE - the places where the local gov't doesn't [or can't] sometimes a private entity moves in. or, more likely, they subscribe to a DIFFERENT area's services - and since they aren't paying taxes to that city/country, the have to pay out of pocket [and a higher rate than a tax payer would] or the fire department WILL NOT put out your fire.

    but how are you defining socalism, them? i've always used the definition of "government run and funded services" which could be anything from fire departments to actual grocery stores [depending on how much the government DOES...]

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