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...