Day by Day

Monday, January 29, 2007

Commentary on Taxes

I'd like to take credit for this, but... I found it while reading up on the blogs of a guy who was nice enough to leave a comment on my nascent blog.

It could be a long essay on taxation, or a rambling rant, but neither of those are much fun to read, are they?

However, this dandy post is a nice lil' journey through the myriad of words that we soak in every day.

He indicates that it came to him through an e-mail... Hat tip to whomever originally wrote it; I found it quite a joy to read.

Oh, and it may have provoked a thought or two.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Civil Discourse?

What has happened to civil discourse? Recently, on the annual MLK holiday, it was remembered that part of Mr. King's greatness was his passive protests. When the authorities responded with water cannons and dogs on protesters peacefully and calmly walking... the world quickly voted with their opinion and sympathy and their movement made progress.

This weekend, a protest was held in Washington to protest the War (apparently, just the Iraqi theater). Several sad occurences, or lack thereof...

  • The lack of counter-protesters. Come on, folks. Take it to the next level. Once you have the yellow ribbon on your bumper, come on out for a weekend. Especially when Code Pink and others have their national media covered/touted protest. Show your support with your actions and your time.

  • Anti-war protesters spray painted the Capitol. Yep, that's right. Vandalism. Great way to make your point. I know I'm always convinced in a discussion by the best grafitti design. Respect. No longer there.

  • And the worse part? Spitting on SPC Josua Sparling! You MUST be kidding me. I don't care if you support the war, or think that it's all a huge conspiracy by President Bush to make his buddies rich... to spit on a war veteran (who just had his leg amputated last month) is reprehensible. THESE are the representatives of the anti-war movement? So, please, please... tell me that when this group got back to their hotel or wherever, and one person said, "Yeah, man... I saw one of those army guys... spit on him! Showed him what we really think of what he does," were there cheers? Smiles? High-fives? This is the same Soldier who received the card with a death wish while he was recuperating at Walter Reed. I hope those who follow Code Pink, et al, feel shame... but sadly, I doubt they will.

You can read more about this in your local newspaper... um, no, probably not.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Minimum Wage, Two

There's another part about minimum wage that I'm not thrilled about. I've never liked. It's because it's Price Controls.

Wage is the price negotiated and settled upon for one's labor.

When we go to work, we negotiate with the employer the price for which we sell our labor and skills.

For example, a heart surgeon who's particularly talented at the super complicated heart surgeries that preserve people's very lives (and which the vast majority of us do not have the skill to do) is paid an amazing amount of money, because she's worth it.

Some one who applies at the Burger Barn and has a minimal concept of language skills, requires sandals to count to 20, and isn't completely sold on the concept of punctuality would not normally be able to negotiate a high value for his labor. In fact, most employers would like to pay as little as possible for such a product.

Yet, the minimum wage laws artificially inflate the value of that product. Someone's labor which may be, for example, worth maybe $1.50 per hour is bumped up to $5.15 (or higher in some cities). Whom does this really benefit? The seller of the cheap labor who's now earning more than actual product value? The buyer who now must pay more than the value, and thus must also adjust other pay scales as well?

What if this laborer lives in a place where the minimum wage is $9.00 per hour, and then moves to a city where it's $7.00 per hour. What shock will occur when the local business has no intention of paying $9.00 per hour, even though the laborer (falsely) believes that to be the fair market value for his labor and skills?

Price controls stifle the movement of the free market. The reason that people earn the minimum wage is because the product they're offering to employers is not worth a higher price.

Minimum Wage

The past couple of weeks have had a bit of discussion about the Democrats wanting to raise the minimum wage.

Most of the objections raised by columnists, bloggers, and talk radio is that the minimum wage is irrelevant. They quote minor portions of the population who actually earn the minimum wage, and therefore, the federal government mandating a raise is an example of swatting a fly with sledgehammer.

I disagree. The minimum wage is relevant. Sadly, most people have missed the reasoning why. Either it's been a long time since they've earned the minimum wage, or they're salaried, or they're not connecting the dots.

The minimum wage is relevant because of the margin that it sets. The wage has been at $5.15 per hour. True, few people earn $5.15 an hour. However, what about someone who's earning $6.25 per hour? They've been told that they are of more value because they're earning $1.10 above the minimum wage. If you raise the minimum wage to... say... $6.00 per hour, that person's wage value has just been diminished by 85 cents per hour. And if that person has any sense at all, they'll demand an equal raise to preserve their wage value. So, now that person will want to be paid $7.10 per hour. Others will want to see their wages raised, too. Even salaried workers will quickly do the math (assuming they didn't go to government schools) and they'll discover their decreased wage value and want a raise.

You see, it's not the minimum wage workers who will cause the inflation or possibly reduced jobs. It's the domino effect. The owner of Billy Bob's Burger Barn will need to either eliminate a worker or two, accept reduced profit (or GASP!, a loss), or raise prices.

But, that's not all that the Burger Barn owner will be affected by. Supplies have to come to Burger Barn. The suppliers have workers, and those workers are also using their calculators to determine what their new wage should be. The trucker bringing the goods to Burger Barn isn't lost on this, either. Plus, he has to pay higher fuel prices that the Gas n' Go station is charging because they had to raise wages.

It ripples throughout.

And THAT's why raising the minimum wage is bad. Because, by the time all is said and done, whatever worker is earning the minimum wage is spending their newfound raise (and quite possibly, MORE than the raise) on the higher prices at Burger Barn, Gas n' Go, and other parts of their life. Everything will be more expensive, and so the minimum wage raise will have helped no one, least of all the minimum wage earner it was supposed to help.

Sen. Feingold Wants To Use Power of the Purse

By clicking on the link, you'll be able to read Sen. Feingold's op-ed calling for Congress to use the power of the purse to bring the troops out of Iraq.

In it, he says that Congress will still support the troops, yet doesn't say how they'll use the "power of the purse" yet still provide the resources troops need.

But, that's not my question.

What I'm curious about is this: If Sen. Feingold is serious about opposing the war, as he has every right to be... why does he want to cut funding to our side?

What about cutting our funding (through foreign aid and military assistance) to various other governments and organizations throughout the world? Can we say, accurately and with confidence, that we know for sure that the money is NOT going to support terrorists and those who want us dead?

I don't mind if someone is principled and opposed to the war. Fine. But, don't say you support the troops when you want to continue funding the other side and not the troops.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Support the Senators Who Support the Troops

Join the blogwagon, and take a look at the pledge. It's spreading around the blogosphere. Whether you sign or not is up to you.

(I'm #3726.)

The Pledge

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Short Synopsis of My Orientation

Political orientation... sheesh, talk about going to the gutter right off to bat.

On any trendy political orientation test, I score out as a Libertarian. Sure, it's a "bad" word, but it's what I score as.

I do not fit an easy definition. I don't identify with any particular political party, be it Democrat, Republican, Green, Reform, Libertarian, what have you.

I wouldn't label myself as conservative or liberal, at least not the way they're bandied about. I am definitely of the conservative persuasion, but I can sympathize with some liberal views, too.

So now you're thinking, this guy's a fence-sitter. Wants to please everyone.


I'm definitely a narrow Constitutionalist. I like as little government as needed and as possible. I think we've grown too much of a government, and quite frankly, I have no idea how to shrink it back down. How do you reduce a 6'2" young man back to the 21" young baby? You don't. Not very prettily, and certainly not without a lot of pain. And quite likely, you'll kill the patient. So, no idea how to achieve the ideal I seek.

I don't like making decisions based on the emotion of the moment. Not to say that emotions are irrelevant, as they are what make us human. They help us feel. But to decide by emotion exclusive of deliberative thought is fool-hardy. And vice-versa.

I believe that government is too intrusive. I believe in the free-market. I believe in reducing our foreign entanglements (no, that is not code for Iraq). I believe in reducing taxes. I believe in equality for all in our country. I believe in citizenship meaning something. I lament the lack of civic knowledge and education in our country.

And that's just a beginning.


I'd like to welcome you to my new blog. Quite possibly, you may have wandered over here from my personal blog, A Storm in Afghanistan.

I set this blog up to provide a place where I can discuss politics. I have an opinion (or two), and want to blog about it. However, ASIA has become something special, so I don't want to disturb it with the political views. Sadly, one of the main reasons is due to the inevitable hate/harsh comments that will likely be posted by those who disagree.

Here, I'll share my opinions. They are MY opinions. These opinions do not reflect the opinions of the US Army, or anyone else.

Now, for those who feel compelled to comment. Comments are welcome. I reserve the right to moderate ("censor" by those who have their comments moderated) the comments if I feel they're out of line. One simple rule - if I don't think that I can show it to my kids, it's gone. Be civil, and no matter how much you disagree with me, it'll stay.

So, shall the fun begin?