My Onion Pi

If you can figure out the name, you'll know what it's about. Fortunately, I'm literate. I'm also funny on occasion. Just beware of the flying PMS.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Love is an exploding Cigar we willingly smoke." -Lynda Barry

Beans, that's what I like about you. When you disagree at least you do it intelligently.
You make a lot of good points, and I have to say I agree in theory with everything you say. I do however, have a problem with the way the whole "free market" thing has evolved.

The problem, the way I see it is this:

In the beginning was man and man needed stuff. Man needed so much stuff that he couldn't make it all himself. So man hooked up with others and formed big groups to make stuff. Now it was easy to divide the stuff making by whomever was the best at making it, because their were more people. So people became makers and traders of stuff and people began to specialize. Some things were more valuable than others, but overall, since so much stuff was needed and nothing was easy to obtain everyone managed to do OK.

As time went by people began to invent ways to make making stuff easier. Initially that was great because their was still a lot less stuff than people. But now it became evident that some stuff was much more desirable than other stuff and some makers of stuff managed to do much, much better than others. As these people started to acquire and keep the limited resources like land, materials and access, other people were getting shut out and subsequently couldn't make that stuff. Now those particular stuff makers were doing much, much, much better than the others. But that was still OK because those people that were shut out from making the stuff, could now lend their labor to help the makers of stuff make more. So they were compensated with money. So some people became makers of stuff and others became users of stuff but since the users of stuff were compensated by helping the makers make stuff it all worked out OK.

Eventually those materials and access to resources were held and kept in fewer and fewer hands and then those hands started to look around and say, "Why do we need to have all of these users of stuff helping us when we could take our stuff and go make it over there where people are willing to make our stuff for less." and so they did. But that left the people who had originally been making the stuff out in the cold, because there was no stuff to make where they were. So now they didn't have anything they could make or do and had no compensation because now there was a lot more users of stuff than makers of stuff. So the makers of stuff had a lot of options and the users of stuff did not. So then the makers of stuff told the users of stuff that they didn't have any skills worth paying any meaningful compensation for. (Meaning any of the skills the makers of stuff couldn't eliminate) And since the makers of stuff owned most of the stuff and the resources used to make the stuff the users of stuff had very little choices.

(Hm-mm-mm. this is starting to sound a lot like Player Piano to me....) But I'm no Vonnegut.
Still, this is the problem as I see it. The glittery marvels and sweet promises of Capitalism aside, the truth of the matter is we have come full circle back to the Middle Ages. Only instead of Lords of the Manor and Serfs, we have Corporations and Consumers. Same difference.

I always say "isms" are "isms" and they all look good on paper. But the actual practice of all these "isms" usually have one major flaw, and that's the "Human Factor". Everything changes when you add in the human factor. Humans are greedy. We have just traded a person, a recognizable face for a faceless corporation...dare I say, a Beast. But the result is the same and we are all bowing down to the Beast and the only cost is the sacrifice of human beings.

I know that much of what happens to people is a result of choice. Believe me, I see it every day in the ER...(shudder) you wouldn't believe the things I see. And I could easily be a hard hearted people hater. (Sometimes I am a little too calloused) but I try to cut people some slack. I too decided to go to college (and then more and more college) to seek out a better wage and position in the "market place" but I know that some people can't do that for whatever reason. I'm lucky that I have the support and assistance I need to undertake this whole Master's Program. I can easily envision being stuck and not able to change my circumstances if just a few things in my life were different. Some people really have to follow their heart when it comes to the work they do, some people choose to give up compensation to be of what they consider to be helping others. Paramedics are a good example of this. Woefully underpaid for what they do.... The sin in this is that we NEED these people, but act like we don't. Where would we be without Nurses Aides or Paramedics? Both of who usually make less than $10 an hour.

Other people just don't have the same kind of opportunities and support. It's easy when you're walking a clear straight path to arrive at your destination. It isn't so easy when the path is strewn with obstacles or the path is all uphill, or riddled with peaks and valleys.
Some people just can't overcome to the same degree. And we don't have the right to take advantage of that.

I NEED garbage men, waitresses, latte makers, store clerks, cab drivers, bell hops, bartenders, night watchmen, ticket takers, car washers, valet parkers, shampoo girls, receptionists, delivery boys, lawn trimmer guys and all of those other people that don't need a degree to do their jobs. How would my life function without them? I appreciate and need them. I know they work their asses off for the money and I think they deserve some measure of fair compensation. They don't deserve to be nickled and dimed.

Where would we be if everyone was a rocket scientist? Screwed...with no coffee no less.
The point is, Starbucks benefits mightily from the latte makers, restaurants benefit mightily from the wait staff and theaters need ticket takers and the guy handing you the bucket of popcorn. I'm not saying don't make a profit, I'm just saying SHARE THE WEALTH for crying out loud. The shareholders don't need to make millions a years, CEO's don't need to take home $25 million a year, and for christ sakes corporations don't need to profit billions of dollars a quarter. Share the fucking wealth.

As for healthcare? Yes. It is a right. It is just as much a right as a national military and homeland security is. Is is as much a right as having the police force, the fire department, the parks department, the highway department, the FDA, CIA, FBI, public schools, hospitals and anything else you can think of that the government provides.

The sin of it is that politics and greed (Can you say American Medical Association and its lobbyists?) are the reasons we don't have a national plan in place. Is it spelled out in the constitution? No, but what is implied is the obligation to take care of the well being of the people in this country in whatever form that takes. The founding fathers were smart enough not spell everything out in detail....probably because they saw how people dance around the Ten Commandments...and that's only 10 statements. Instead they provided a living document that has expanded over the years to cover many areas by amendments. This is another one of those areas that needs to be added. And soon. Healthcare should not be a burden that companies have to carry. If they want to ADD to it - so much the better, then people can receive enhanced plans as a benefit, but we need a comprehensive BASIC plan that covers every CITZEN of this country and allows basic medical and dental care to be access for the cost of the taxes we pay. Cut the PORK and spend the money AT HOME.

I like you Beans, yer alright with me. I think we are alike in the heart...we just have a different perspective at times. I'm sure Sam Walton was a great man. He sure had some good ideas. Too bad his heirs don't see it the same way. (Greedy slobs).

As for the flat tax...Hm-mm-mm...I'm still tossing that one around. I kind of favor it in some respects but the across the board percentage tax is very appealing too. I can tell you one thing I am squarely against is the elimination of the Estate Tax. Paris Hilton be damned...



At Wed Aug 02, 09:06:00 PM, Blogger kimmyk said...

I love it when you get all political. I see all these guys yammering on and on from the male perspective. It's good to get a chicks opinion on things. I can't think of a better chick than you Hammy girl to tell it like it is.

Believe me I have thoughts on all these things but when I start thinking about it my left eye gets this uncontrolable twitch.

I want you to know it's 12:01am and I should be in bed, but my daughter for whatever reason is in my bed on the phone [yeah at this hour!] talking to her boyfriend. Like what the hell is that about?

PMS? Shoot. I don't need a reason to get all fussy like PMS.

At Thu Aug 03, 06:08:00 AM, Blogger Badbeans said...


I know you have a good heart. And I know that you are honest in your beliefs. That is why, aside from the overly-sarcastic first post I made on your site, and I probably should not have been that way to you, I don't give you crap about what you think. And neither do you me. We have this mutual respect thing going.

Capitalism is all about the decisions that you make. And in the capitalistic model, the opportunity make whatever profit you want is available. You just have to make the right decisions at the right time, or be willing to pay the price to get there. In other words, your costs may not always be monetary.

Of the evil rich we continually hear about, only 20% have inherited their wealth in the United States. The Washington Post story in this link will tell you who the millionaires are in the U.S.

This means that 80% of millionaires are self-made in this day and time. This means that they had to come about their wealth through means of their own hard work and making the right choices, and perhaps, sacrifices that you and I are not willing to make.

And yet we villainize these people, calling them evil and wanting to tax them to death so that those of us who either A) do not care enough about ourselves to try or B) do not wish to make the sacrifices and take the risks required to be wealthy can share in their wealth. We are not talking Rockefellers or Kennedys here, but small business owners or retired people. That is the evil rich.

Being from the North, I am sure that you saw first hand the outsourcing of manufacturing to nations that have lower labor costs. Being in manufacturing myself, the cost makeup of a normal product has shifted from the majority being labor related to a majority of cost being from material content. This has been brought on by technology advances, such as these computers that we are using, that has decreased a business need for human resources. The other part, in such sectors as the auto industry, steel plants, etc., has came as a result of our labor pricing structure and tax structure. When did automobiles start becoming less desirable from domestic manufacturers than from foreign manufacturers?

And the flat tax is an income tax, and I am not in favor of any income-based tax. They are counterproductive and penalize those who work to earn more. The Fair Tax, or H.R. 25, is a consupmtion based tax that would spread the tax burden based on your purchase decisions while giving a tax rebate to every American household for the Federal consumption taxes for the essentials of life, which is based on the Federal governments poverty index. In other words, the more you spend, the more you pay in tax less the rebate you would receive for the essentials of life if you were considered poor. The poor would pay no tax.

Link to this website for more information.

BTW: don't let the picture of Dennis Hastert scare you.

Hope you are over your jalapeno ham stage.

At Sun Aug 06, 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Hamrose said...

Yeah, yer right there. I do respect yer views and the way you handle yerself when we disagree. Yer alright. Interesting point about the flat tax. I still haven't come off the fence but I agree with your on the income tax thing. Very bad for incentives to now the question, how thew hell do we get rid of income tax?


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