What do you mean no Helicopters and McNukes?

In usual fashion I have come across some inspiring material to write my own article on. I’ve been thinking recently about what the ends of a libertarian party or movement would or should be. In this blog I consider the means of getting there. I’m always pushing steps toward a libertarian society. These steps seem to never make any progress. I have always viewed the libertarian society as an idealist notion. I think to some degree its true. On the other hand, I feel like its entirely possible that a libertarian society is achievable. The problems are numerous and the solutions are few. One main problem and probably the biggest one is the lack of education of outsiders on the libertarian values and beliefs. People tend to misinterpret or misunderstand what libertarians stand for and what we want to achieve.

I’ve recently said on social media that I believe I’m in the minority of libertarians that believe that achieving the ultimate goal of a libertarian society will come instantly once it happens. I feel that many libertarians, anarchists, anarcho-capitalists think that once we overthrow the current government then we can just easily transition to that libertarian society that we all agree is the goal. I don’t believe its so easy or fast. I think there is a number of factors to consider about means and ends of libertarianism.

The first and foremost is that the way to change the government is to vote for politicians who hold the same beliefs, values and morals as libertarians.  We can all agree politicians of this caliber don’t exist right now with the exception of Rand Paul, maybe. After voting for Gary Johnson in two consecutive elections I have realized that we are going too big. (Nothing wrong with him, just a walking meme.) We need to find libertarian congresspeople. I know of 3 libertarian leaning congresspeople, Rand Paul, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash. Once we can turn the Congress into a majority of libertarians then we can work on the white house.

The second factor is education like I mentioned before. A lot of people have misconceptions of libertarians. Even I used to subscribe to these common myths. For example: Libertarians are both Republican and Democrat because they support a little of each. It might be true that we hold similar positions but we are actually against both parties. The two main parties are a snake with two heads. They don’t care about you. They care about their interests and their money! We need to educate the masses on libertarianism. The essential thing is liberty and freedom. The government shouldn’t play much if any role in our everyday lives. The government doesn’t need to over regulate and get involved in everything we do. The government doesn’t need to tax our hard earned income. For over 100 years, the US government collected no income tax. Who will build the roads? Private corporations that need to ship things by truck. Businesses that need to drive around. My point is that if we can educate people then eventually will lead to more people accepting and more importantly voting for libertarians.

The third factor of the means is simply cohesive-ness among libertarians. We have to unify our ideas. I know we all agree on certain things. But we have to compromise on other things. Example: Abortion. One of the hottest button issues because there is no stasis for argument. Pro Life or Pro Choice? For me, I’m torn between both because choice is guaranteed by the 14th amendment. Yet I’m also catholic so I can’t possibly support the killing of something that is alive. My position is Pro-Adoption. It gives a choice and saves the life of the baby. Also there are many parents out there who can’t have kids. My point here is that a compromise takes a little bit from each side and makes palatable to everyone. Compromise is something that our country was founded on. I strongly believe we should get back to that.

The forth factor is concerning the ends. I find it hilarious but helicopters and McNukes are a standard must have in any libertarian society. But lets all be honest its a little far fetched. I do believe that no taxes, open carry (guns), NAP and very small government are possible to have. I think we all have to be realistic about the ends. The ultimate goal is for everybody to live their life without the interference from government. But I think we miss the point that libertarian is also one of the most charitable types of societies. Its not fake charity like socialism and communism. In a libertarian society, you would give to the poor, give to the sick and give to government if you felt like it was worth it. Thats the wonderful thing about it, its your choice to give your money or not. Government is ineffective at helping people. But there is a million examples of where everyday people throw their support at something and get it done without government.

My conclusion is that we need to educate, vote, come together and be realistic about our ultimate goal of a libertarian society.  We can do it all once too. My inspiration was an article that basically said no more Libertarian party but we need a movement. In order to achieve a movement, we have to educate people on the benefits of joining this movement. We have to vote in politicians who reflect our positions. Its not going to be easy. The steps towards a libertarian society will be methodical. All I hope is that I see this libertarian society come to fruition before my time is up. I’m still young so I got hope.

Just remember kids, Taxation is Theft.

Thanks For Reading!

 

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Roe vs. Wade versus Adoption

This post may be very controversial. So brace yourself because its likely you won’t agree with me. If you want to know how I feel about Abortion then I recommend you read this post that I wrote. As of late, I have been on a Supreme Court case breakdown bender. I’ve done both the first amendment and fourth amendment, you can read each those posts respectively. This post is going to be about abortion. First, I want to give a quick breakdown of Roe vs. Wade, the ground breaking court case decided in 1973. It outlawed laws against abortion except in the third trimester. However you feel about abortion, I will just be stating the courts’ decision on this. After that, I want to present my opinion on how to handle abortions in way that gives pro-lifers a peace of mind and at the same time gives women the right to choose. For starters, as a baseline I believe the government has no business intervening in abortions. Especially when it comes to paying for them. I also believe that women should have the right to choose whether to keep the baby or not. I will get into what should happen if they choose to not keep it.

If you’re not familiar with the facts of Roe vs. Wade you can read that here. Roe vs. Wade was decided whether or not Texas’ law making all abortions criminal was constitutional via the fourteenth amendment and ninth amendment. If you are not familiar with either of those amendments than here is a short explanation and a quote of another. The fourteenth amendment as it applies to this case has to do with due process and the equal protection of the law. Due process means you get a fair trial and equal protection of law means that everyone is protected under the law with no discrimination. The ninth amendment is a little more broad, it says this:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In simple terms, the ninth amendment says that any rights not mention by the constitution can be implied if necessary. Obviously its the job of legislative branch and the Supreme Court to decide what those rights are. In Roe vs. Wade, the decision went 7-2 for Roe. The decision took into account both the 9th and 14th amendments. They found that the 9th amendment didn’t apply. They also found didn’t rule on question of when life begins. But what Justice Blackmun’s majority opinion did was layout a framework to make abortion a legal right of privacy under the fourteenth amendment. The court also decided that due to concerns of health to both mother and baby, they set up an appropriate timeframe to actually get an abortion. They ruled that having the pregnant women’s attending physician could decide to abort up until the first trimester. Most importantly, they upheld Roe’s right to make that decision to have an abortion.

A women’s right to have an abortion is probably more important than the actual abortion itself in the eyes of the constitution. I think that science has pretty much narrowed down the parameters of safety and when life begins. The court expanded the fourteenth amendment to protect the privacy of women. No matter how you feel about abortion, you have to give them credit. Obviously, a lot of opposition to this decision and even the dissenting opinions were that of where life begins and the courts’ actual jurisdiction. Many people weren’t sure the constitution actually covers it or even mentions it. However, I don’t believe it has to. This is the law of the land until another case overturns it. So you might be asking what’s the point? What’s your point? How do you plan to make both pro-life and pro-choice happy? Let’s call it a compromise like our forefathers did.

I’ve already hinted that I like the idea that women have a right to choose. I believe the constitution does protect those rights. Unfortunately, the constitution doesn’t see morals like we do. This means we need to take the moral question out of it. I’ve never been big on abortions. I don’t think they are necessary unless in a medical emergency. I believe there is only one real circumstances where abortion is necessary. The situation is where the mother or child (or both) are in danger because of the pregnancy.  In all other situations, I propose that we use adoption. Why adoption? Well for starters, it will quell the argument of over when life begins which is the main source of disagreement. But I believe that adoption is better than abortion.

For example, abortion is expensive and deadly to the fetus. Adoption is relatively cheaper because its just the care of the newborn. Adoption avoids the need for Supreme court rulings on abortion and keeps the fourteenth amendment intact. I am a man. (I don’t claim to know much) So I would almost have to think that choosing whether to raise the kid or give it up for adoption is an easier choice than raise the kid or kill it. In the beginning of the post, I mention how the government sometimes pays for abortions. I hate this. I think if you want to get an abortion you should have to pay. After all it is a choice. Making women who get abortions (Not women who were raped, they could potentially be paid by the government) pay for them would only strengthen the incentive to put up for adoption. I think that adoption gives a child who might otherwise die, a chance to live and grow up and be productive in society.

The other argument for adoption is that many couples try to have kids and fail because of many reasons, infertility and others. Regardless, these potential wanna be parents would have a larger pool of kids to adopt from. The government could spend the money they use trying to regulate abortion on making adoption easier and more streamlined. I believe that adoption provides an alternative that isn’t nearly as talked as it should be. Adoption could change everything and eliminate abortions altogether. Abortion is so controversial that nobody even likes to talk about it. The problem is that we all disagree on different points and levels. I think at the end day, we can all agree that free choice and the maintainance of life is most important to each side.

Thanks for reading!

On the Basis of Democracy: John Locke, Part 2.

Welcome to Part 2 of on the Basis of Democracy with John Locke. If you missed Part 1, you should read that first. The purpose of this blog post is to simply figured out the origins of Democracy and how it works within our American democracy. In Part 1, I went over some of the ideas of democracy from Aristotle. Political theory is a pretty easy theory to follow because each political philosopher usually builds off philosopher’s of time past. Therefore, the more ancient political scholarship you understand, the more modern/current political thoughts you can understand. In Part 2, we will be discussing John Locke and his ideas on democracy.

Who is John Locke? He is an english born political philosopher. Born in the early 1600s. He was influenced by Aristotle. Locke has a deep range of writings. He is often considered to be one of the fathers of the enlightenment. Similar to part 1, I won’t give a full biography but go to straight to Locke’s ideas about democracy. Starting from his first writing and going forward, Locke’s main premise is the consent of the governed. In his first writing called “Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina”.  In this piece, Locke and his mentor, wrote a constitution meant for the Providence of Carolina in England. It was never adopted. However, the ideas that he mentioned became the basis of political philosophy going forward.

The most influential of Locke’s writings came in his Two Treatises of Government. Instead of trying to paraphrase his great words, I will just show you. Then I will explain how the founding fathers use Locke’s ideas especially in the Declaration of Independence. Here is just a few excerpts of Locke’s Two Treatises of Government:

Sect. 95. MEN being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent. The only way whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bonds of civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties, and a greater security against any, that are not of it. This any number of men may do, because it injures not the freedom of the rest; they are left as they were in the liberty of the state of nature. When any number of men have so consented to make one community or government, they are thereby presently incorporated, and make one body politic, wherein the majority have a right to act and conclude the rest.

Sect. 96. For when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have thereby made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority: for that which acts any community, being only the consent of the individuals of it, and it being necessary to that which is one body to move one way; it is necessary the body should move that way whither the greater force carries it, which is the consent of the majority: or else it is impossible it should act or continue one body, one community, which the consent of every individual that united into it, agreed that it should; and so every one is bound by that consent to be concluded by the majority. And therefore we see, that in assemblies, impowered to act by positive laws, where no number is set by that positive law which impowers them, the act of the majority passes for the act of the whole, and of course determines, as having, by the law of nature and reason, the power of the whole.

If you want to read more of Locke: Click here.

Locke’s main point is that the governed hold the power of the government. Locke believes that a government cannot operate without the consent of the government. This is a basis of democracy. The reason why Locke believes that the consent of the governed is so important is because of the freedom or liberty that it offers. If the government is ruled by the people it can prevent tyrants and better rule the people. Locke is also coming from a monarchy in England and in a time when the dark ages we’re not that far off. In the dark ages, it was a small oligarchy who wealthy that ruled over the poor and working class who had no say. Locke’s ideas are perhaps best expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s document.

Thomas Jefferson was a philosopher in his own right. Jefferson also understood that Locke’s philosophy fit perfectly with the American cause for revolution. If you didn’t pay attention in history class then you want to know to that one of the rallying cries was “no taxation no representation”. The American people were clamoring for representation in the British parliament. The unilateral rule of the British Monarchy over the American colony was directly what John Locke was trying to get at. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson took a page for Locke and wrote this:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson essentially took Locke’s words and used it as a justification for the revolution of the American people. Locke’s vision for democracy did not just end with Jefferson but kept going. Locke’s idea that the consent of governed is needed in democracy still holds true today. Unfortunately, in today’s America we have gotten lazy. We seem to have ignored the fact that our democracy is supposed represent the people. Many people blame our representatives. We should look at the majority of governed who don’t vote. I think in a very indirect way, Locke is also advocating for participation in government. I feel that political participation has gone down as politics has become more polarizing.

We can blame Trump. We can blame Hillary. We blame our politicans. However, I think that democracy in the words of Locke lies with “the consent of the governed.” I think to wrap up this series, I want to just conclude a few major considerations for the basis of democracy. One basis that Aristotle outlined is the authority over aduits. In other words, Aristotle thought that the people should hold purse strings and keep the government accountable. Aristotle gave us a second basis that is the foundation of our judicial system. The right to a fair trial with a jury of your peers. Locke gives us the basis of the consent of the governed. The theory that democracy should always be run by the people and for the people. The majority of people should have the power to control the government. This means everyone must vote. Everyone must participate. These are the three main bases of democracy as written by Aristotle and John Locke.

This will be end of this series for now. I may continue it with different philosophers at another time. Below you will find my sources especially for the quoted stuff. Thank you for reading!

Citations:

https://www.johnlocke.org/about-john-locke/who-is-john-locke/

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/7370/7370-h/7370-h.htm

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

 

 

 

The Argument for the Electoral College

Since the election of Donald Trump, there has been an unprecedented amount of media coverage and debate surrounding the Electoral College. I have not been even slightly swayed by any of these opinions and arguments. I think as a student of history having read parts of the classics like Aristotle and Adam Smith; add to that the reading biographies of influential founding fathers. A student of history knows that the founding fathers read and studied all the classics. The prevailing ideas of the day were based on the enlightenment movement starting in Europe and spreading throughout the world. It was truly a renaissance of ideas that transformed governments. Now we are here about 227 years of democracy later and people are suddenly up in arms about the electoral college? I want to defend the Electoral college as a necessary and proper institution in the American representative democracy. I think the term ‘representative’ is the most important word that validates the Electoral College. My opening salvo can be summarized as the blame game of the system that has worked over 200 years with approximately 56 elections taking place.

My first argument is to say that why must we blame the electoral college? Why is it not the candidates that we picked? The system is merely in place to keep the election fair and offset any disadvantages that typically plague a representative democracy. The two candidates that we’re voted in the primary to run in the presidential election, were by far the most despicable candidates in history. Both of them polarizing. One candidate had 30 years of public office experience with multiple scandals, corruption, and mistakes. The other candidate is an international businessman who went through multiple bankruptcies. He was a television reality star. During the campaign became well-known for vulgar statements about different races and the opposite sex. These unlikable candidates were the only ones who had a shot to win. So why is the electoral college the fault for electing Donald Trump? That brings me to my first argument for the Electoral college.The bad candidates has to make one wonder if it’s actually the electorate that is at fault for putting up the two worst candidates in history. We must remember that the people or the citizens of the United States are in charge of voting for the candidates in the primaries. The primaries can be rigged like the DNC did, however, in an honesty primary you would think the electorate would vote out the bad candidates? Hence, my first argument is essentially this: The founding fathers installed the electoral college because they didn’t feel that the voting  populace could effectively elect the right leaders.

The original source of this argument is from the Federalist Papers. If you paid attention in history class or if you have been reading this blog you probably know about the Federalist Papers. If you don’t then please look it up. The specific number was Federalist paper 68. Federalist paper 68 was written by none other than Alexander Hamilton. In no uncertain terms, Hamilton argues that the President and Vice President should have a ‘small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations’. The translation of that old English is that Hamilton believes its necessary that a small group would choose as a surrogates to make the final decision on the election of the President and Vice President. He even goes on to say this about who the Electoral college will made up of: “No Senator, representative or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States“. Hamilton believes the electoral college can prevent corruption because of these stipulations. Hamilton keeps repeating his argument and each time it gets clearer. This line that Hamilton writes at the beginning of the 8th indentation, is exactly why the Electoral college exists today.

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.

I  would strongly encourage you read the whole Federalist Paper 68 because Hamilton is a master of his craft and gives a very persuasive argument.

My second argument is based on  previous Supreme Court cases that have been decided in favor of the Electoral College. The last time a candidate won a popular vote and lost the electoral college vote was George W. Bush vs. Albert Gore. The case happened over a just few days in early December 2000. However, it was not the first case about the Electoral College. The issue that is typically argued in the Supreme Court is over the 14th amendment. The specific clause in this case is the equal protection clause. The equal protection clause simply protects all people under the law within its jurisdiction. This means that you can’t make law that excludes a specific type of person based on sex, religion, gender, etc;etc. The equal protection clause also includes voting laws and vote counting laws. The first case on how states count their votes and tally it up for the electoral votes was McPherson vs Blacker. In this case, Michigan’s legislature wanted to change the way it calculated it votes for the electoral college. The Supreme Court ruled that the constitution gives the power of the legislatures to choose how electors are counted based on the popular vote. The constitution says the legislatures have power to decide in the second article. It was later expanded by the 14th amendment. In the Bush vs. Gore case it was over the re-count of the vote processes by county or district in Florida. If you recall the election of 2000 was too close to call because of Florida and their ‘hanging chads’. The controversy came from the fact that recount policies were different but the court didn’t find that the equal protection clause was being broken. The reason is that the Florida legislature had let the rules vary by county and district. Granted, Supreme court cases can be overturned. However, the point here is that the laws within our constitution and amendments actually do protect us from any sort corruption or problem that is purely systematic.

My last argument is one of simple logic. I have now presented two legitimizing reasons for the Electoral College. Here’s is my third one, that also doubles as a challenge to those nay-sayers. Let’s say we want to get rid of the Electoral College because it is not perfect by any means. What would you replace it with? My third argument is simply that I truly don’t think that the citizens of the United States would like the replacement. The replacement would be a similar system to almost every European and every other democracy or republic in the world. We would have to discard our two-party system. We would have to allow multiples of candidates on the ballot . The system that we would change to is called a “single vote majority” or a “plurality vote”. This means that the candidate with the largest majority of the vote would win. Straight up. In the case of this election between Clinton and Trump, neither of them would have won. We would have to have a re-vote. There was only three candidates in every state ballot for president. Clinton had 47 percent, Trump had 46, Johnson had 3 percent and Stein had 1 percent. The other 3 percent was for Harambe or Bernie I assume. Depending on the rules, the winner would either have to have 51 percent in our current system with two main candidates. If there was more than 2 candidates, then the winner would be the person who takes the most, in that case it would be a Hillary Clinton victory. It would certainly invite a wider range of candidates. I think its pretty stupid to ask for majority vote when reality is that this specific election might have had a different outcome with a majority vote. This doesn’t mean the future elections won’t also be negative outcomes with a majority vote. If another candidate similar to Trump comes along after getting rid of the Electoral College then we are at the mercy of majority. It’s odd that many of the same people who want to get rid of the Electoral College are in the minority. (Very strange to me?)

To wrap up my post and conclude my point, I want to finish my arguments by saying that the Electoral College actually levels the playing field in every election. The electoral college makes sure that every voice is heard. The states with the higher electoral votes are more populated, like California, New York, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The states with the lower electoral votes are less populated and it’s not surprising that there is more of them. I believe that if you think population shouldn’t matter then you probably don’t understand urbanization. America used to be a farming society and it has transitioned into a mostly urban society. The cities on each of the coasts and elsewhere hold nearly 50 percent of the United States populace.You can almost guarantee whoever the cities vote for will have a chance to win. If in the off-chance like this  year and in 2000, you can get a coalition of rural states and a few swing states to change color, that is when you get a President Trump. Let’s face the facts the electoral college isn’t to blame for Trump. Remember that Trump was elected in the primary. Trump was basically allowed the majority of Republican and non-Republican voters alike to run for President. If nothing else, Trump used the electoral college to his advantage better than Hillary. I could easily argue that Hillary had an easier path to victory. All she had to do was win either Ohio or Florida plus two other states like Michigan and Pennsylvania. Her coalition of Democrat states includes two of the biggest in New York and California.

So please next time you want to blame the Electoral College, don’t blame the system that was put in place and has worked for 227 years. Look at the voters, look at yourself. People vote for the president. People are responsible for the candidates that are put up to run for office. Thank you for reading and I hope this helps people understand why the Electoral College is necessary and proper!

“Though we cannot acquiesce in the political heresy of the poet who says: For forms of government let fools contest That which is best administered is best,” yet we may safely pronounce, that the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration.” — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 68

Citations:

Quotes From Sources in Bold or Italics.

Hamilton, Alexander. Federalist Paper 68: Mode of Electing the President, March 14th 1788. Lillian Goldman Law Library, 2008. Link Here

Denniston, Lyle. Constitution Check: Is winner take all Electoral College Voting in trouble?, Constitution Center. January 29, 2013. Link Here

Cornell University Law: Legal Information Institute: Bush vs. Gore, Supreme Court. December, 2000 Link Here

The featured picture is the electoral map of the US for the 2016 Election. The red represents where Trump won. The blue represents where Hillary won. Trump won mostly rural areas meanwhile Hillary won mostly urban. Population does matter.

Economic Series Part 1: To Raise or not to Raise the Minimum Wage?

Welcome to the first part of my three topic series on Economics. If you haven’t read this blog before then you should check out my last two posts that explain exactly what this series will be about. One post is here, and the introduction to this series is here. I would also suggest reading some of my previous posts, many of which cover this very topic of Minimum Wage. In particular, this post and this post among others. I have already prefaced this topic on multiple occasions so in this post, I will dive straight into the question that I want to present both arguments for and against. I will briefly explain what the minimum wage is, first. Then I will give you brief history of it. The bulk of this post will be my arguments, however, it will be up to you to decide what side you are on.

The title of post implies that my question is about raising the minimum wage. This has been in recent years, a hotly debated and controversial question. My question is: Should the government raise the minimum wage? Now it’s not a simple yes or no question. If you say yes, then you have to explain why you think that raising it is such a good idea. Or If you say no then why not raise it?  The principle of minimum wage is fairly simple to understand. Minimum wage is the base wage of all workers in the United States. Typically, the federal government sets a standard wage. However, the states also have the ability to set their own wage higher than the federal government if they choose. Right now, the federal wage is 7.25 an hour. There are 29 states that have minimum wages above the federal level.

The history of the minimum wage starts in the beginning of 20th century. The progressive movement that help develop labor laws and other regulations on business helped bring about the minimum wage. Before the minimum wage existed, workers were paid based on how much skill their job involved. They were also paid according to market value. Just like today, typically the less skilled your work, the less pay you received. According to the Department of Labor website, the minimum was officially brought into law on June 26, 1940. The name of the act bringing it to life was called Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Standards Under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It originally started out at 1 dollar then worked its up. In January 1980 it was $3.10 and by 2007 it had increased to $5.85. Now in 2016, we see movements to increase it even further from 7.25. This is where the controversy and debate starts.

There are two distinct sides, I want to present arguments for and against raising the minimum wage. I want to present it fairly. So I feel obligated to tell you that I am against raising the minimum wage. However, I’m not against raising a reasonable amount that is in accordance with the market value of labor. In other words, if the economy can handle a raise in the minimum wage then so be it. Let me first present the supposed arguments for raising it. This is even hotly debated among economists. So you can expect to be baffled by the contradictory arguments for each side.

For Raising the Minimum Wage:

The line of reasoning for raising the minimum wage is that it will help the poor and single parents. The various other reasons for raising it are that big corporations can afford it, CEO’s make too much and workers deserve it. Typically the Democrats champion these raises in Minimum wage. In recent years, there has been push to raise to 15 dollars an hour. You might hear about the rationale to raise it as a living wage. A living wage really means an increase that is adjusted for inflation. These are just some of the arguments made for the minimum wage to be raised. I want to quote some interesting pro-minimum wage Mythbusters facts from the Labor Department website. (I seriously couldn’t believe this government website sounds like a liberal Facebook page. Talk about propaganda) Without further or ado:

Myth: The federal minimum wage is higher today than it was when President Reagan took office.

Not true: While the federal minimum wage was only $3.35 per hour in 1981 and is currently $7.25 per hour in real dollars, when adjusted for inflation, the current federal minimum wage would need to be more than $8 per hour to equal its buying power of the early 1980s and more nearly $11 per hour to equal its buying power of the late 1960s. That’s why President Obama is urging Congress to increase the federal minimum wage and give low-wage workers a much-needed boost.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage lacks public support.

Not true: Raising the federal minimum wage is an issue with broad popular support. Polls conducted since February 2013 when President Obama first called on Congress to increase the minimum wage have consistently shown that an overwhelming majority of Americans support an increase.

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will result in job losses for newly hired and unskilled workers in what some call a “last-one-hired-equals-first-one-fired” scenario.

Not true: Minimum wage increases have little to no negative effect on employment as shown in independent studies from economists across the country. Academic research also has shown that higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover which can reduce employment and training costs.

Once again these are straight from the Department of Labor website. They tried to make the argument that the minimum wage being higher is actually good for the economy. I want to show just a few more for the sake argument. You might read all of this and say looks the minimum wage being 15 dollars an hour isn’t so bad?  If you believe the Department of Labor’s website then yes. Here those other myths before I move onto to the against argument:

Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.

Not true: In a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders urging a minimum wage increase, more than 600 economists, including 7 Nobel Prize winners wrote, “In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”

Myth: Small business owners can’t afford to pay their workers more, and therefore don’t support an increase in the minimum wage.

Not true: A July 2015 survey found that 3 out of 5 small business owners with employees support a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $12. The survey reports that small business owners say an increase “would immediately put more money in the pocket of low-wage workers who will then spend the money on things like housing, food, and gas. This boost in demand for goods and services will help stimulate the economy and help create opportunities.”

Let’s move onto why one might be against raising the minimum wage. The against argument will consist of a series of rebuttals. In my personal experience, I can rebuke quite a few of the arguments to raise minimum wage. Let’s start with the things I can agree with. I do agree that the public supports raising the minimum wage. More people are for it than against it. Its obvious why too, being paid more money is not something that most would have objections. However, I believe the Department of Labor website completely contradicts a different government agency report on raising minimum wage and the effects it would have on the economy. In order to keep this post from becoming a book, I will just list my rebuttals to the common Pro-minimum wage arguments:

  1. It’s true that minimum wage has not been adjusted for inflation, however, it’s not advisable to raise too quickly since businesses are used to the current level.
  2. It’s a false notion to say that minimum wage WILL NOT cause job losses because according to a Congressional Budget Office study done in 2014, a raise of the minimum wage to just 9 dollars an hour would lead to a short-term decrease in both employment and hiring of low skilled workers. In the long-term it would see the hiring of  higher-skilled workers. The effect would be a little more pronounced at 10.10 an hour and potentially more so at 15. However, the study only takes increases to 9 or 10.10 into account.
  3. The notion that people will won’t lose jobs once again is rebutted by the CBO study on minimum wage. (I will make sure to link the study to this post)  Also just based on a basic knowledge of economics you can make an argument. The way that businesses work and the economy works with the minimum wage is complicated but its a simple concept. Workers who make minimum wage are usually low skilled. Low skilled workers are needed in any capitalist market economy. They are typically the majority and typically short-term. Raising the minimum actually hurts them. Businesses are in business for profits. If they have to pay workers more than that hurts their bottom line. They either have to raise prices or cut workers. Which is different from a business raising their wages on their own.
  4. Small Business owners are for a minimum wage increase. This has to be bullshit because I work for a small business. I’ve worked in companies with low skilled workers. In fact, I am one of those such workers. Let me tell you that most employers in my experience would rather cut the hours or cut the workers than raise prices. A minimum wage increase would only cut employment for the majority of workers in low skilled positions.
  5. My last rebuttal, is that minimum wage will help the poor or single parents. This is the biggest lie ever told. Since the conception of minimum wage it has not helped anybody. Even if it was adjusted for inflation, money is always fluctuating in value according to the markets. Also if the minimum wage is let’s say 15 dollars an hour. That is the base wage for everybody in the country. If the base wage is higher than companies won’t keep their prices lower, they will increase their prices. Not only because they have to pay workers more, but also because people will have more money. So in the end, the rich get richer, the poor stay poor. Minimum wage can’t help poor people because when the government arbitrarily raises the price of labor it only hurts the workers and consumers.

There are my arugments for and against the minimum wage being raised. I know I said I am against it. However, I would be ok with a small increase because of inflation. According to the CBO study it would help a little bit at 9 dollars an hour. But I think there will adverse effects if we raise it to 15 dollars too soon. I also think that theres other options like Baisc Income. I would suggest you read my post on that. So consider my arguments and my sources. Look into some articles about minimum wage yourself. The problem is truly not that raising minimum wage is a bad thing, its only bad if the government is trying to force it on an economy that isn’t ready for it. Like I said if a business raises its own wages thats ok but because the business made that decision on its own. For example, Starbucks recently give all its workers a 5 to 10 percent raise. They also raised their prices. The cause and effect of minimum wage is more important than the amount of the wage itself.

Thank you for reading! Have a great day! My sources are linked below:

CBO Minimum Wage Study: 2014

Department of Labor Website Mythbusters

History of Minimum Wage; also DOL Website

General Election: Political Superbowl

As we approach June, the end of the primary season is near. There are two leading candidates whose nominations are in line without any major incidents. The primaries are always different than the general election. The primaries tend to sieve out issues in both parties. These headline issues then morph into the broader fights in the general election. On the Republican side, there is a lot of turbulence because of Donald Trump’s surprising run at the nomination. In some ways, the Republicans have splinter into different groups varying in support of Trump. It has revealed the establishment republicans haven’t been able to come to a consensus about any candidate. In the process, they have made room for a candidate like Trump. In an exact opposite reality, the Democrat’s have found their candidate in Hillary Clinton. Clinton has successfully talk down her baggage as Secretary of State. The Democratic establishment is firmly behind her despite the resurgent and popular Bernie Sanders.

(Pictured Above:By Abraham Lincoln, digital reproduction by George Chriss (GChriss). With prior publication, the Emancipation Proclamation, the most famous Executive Order became effective 1-January-1863. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1627541)

This is post is more of an introduction to general elections. I have in previous posts written about different aspects of general elections, like the Electoral College.  I enjoy minute details of elections because its an interesting statistical study of the American voter population. The way that different people vote of different socioeconomic background, origins and biological sex. There is even regional bias that show up in the voter data. The voter base has changed dramatically since beginning of America. George Washington was elected strictly by white, landowning, men. A war hero like Washington is actually an common feature among Presidents especially before the 20th century. (1900) Over the years, the voting process has changed dramatically. After the civil war, free blacks were allowed to vote, however, Jim Crow laws in the South prevent many from actually doing so. Then in 1919, women’s suffrage was achieved throughout the US. This dramatically changed the way that Americans voted. The 1920s and beyond saw women gain a voice in politics and in the workforce.

Forty some years later, Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Voting rights act which made Jim Crow laws illegal. Unfortunately, some of the Southern state courts have rejected parts of this act. Voter suppression is a real problem among black and minority voters in the south. The most common form is now through voter id. Recently, I believe in Alabama, they closed all but 4 DMV offices so that voters could not easily get IDs. This type of voter suppression and the change in population by ethnic origin creates an ever changing statistical analysis of the American people. For example, the increase of Hispanics via immigration has created a large Latino bloc of voters. This changes the dynamic of who becomes president.

In my title, I refer to the general election as the political Superbowl. The general election certainly holds the most gravity in the American political sphere. Not only does the leader of the Free World get elected, so does most of congress. I have often stressed that voting is so important as a civic duty. Part of the reason is that congress seats are just as important as the presidency if not more so! The general election may be the Superbowl because of the presidential candidates, but the playoffs would be the congressional elections. These state wide elections hold greater consequences for the American people than the president.

Let me explain why the Presidential election is overrated and why you should be concerned who your state’s senator or house of representatives are. Its actually an simple explanation because if you know how our government operates then you can see it. As you probably know, the legislative branch writes and passes the laws. The executive branch executes them and makes sure they are being imposed in every state. The Supreme Court makes sure the laws are followed correctly and thanks to Alex Hamilton and John Marshall are constitution visa via Judicial Review. The legislative branch or Congress makes everything that government does, happen. They approve the budgets, increase and decrease taxes, declare wars, confirm appointments and etc etc. The President’s job has expanded but it remains simply to sign laws, veto laws, push for new laws, and be the Commander and Chief.

So if you are worried that Hillary or Trump might be the worst President ever just remember that their presidential fortunes are tied to the ambitions of Congress. Now if you follow politics closely there has been some outrage about executive orders. I can’t say that I blame Obama because house republicans tend to block everything. However, executive orders are not like martial law or above the constitution. Executive orders can be challenged by the Supreme Court. You can rest easy knowing that no President has unlimited power. Checks and balances are a wonderful thing. Each branch of government can be checked by another. Now I realize that Trump and Clinton don’t strike many people as favorable candidates.

You can also bet that Congress will be the opposite party of the elected Presidential candidate. Its almost inevitable that if Hillary Clinton is elected that she will deal with an Republican controlled senate and house of representatives. The same is true for Trump, he will deal with a Democratic senate and house of representatives. In rare cases of overwhelming sentiment there has been a same party President and Congress. More importantly, my point is that Congress controls what laws are made and passed. So unless your like me and your voting for Gary Johnson, then remember to focus on those congresspeople.

Despite who you vote for, just remember that Congress has the power. They are the engine that makes our government go. The President is just an enforcer and voice for foreign relations. So my point is that the general election has the hype of a Superbowl because of the Presidential election but the Congressional elections are the playoffs that really count in the clutch. I want to quickly go back to foreign relations, I have not written a whole ton of foreign relations posts because usually its a general election issue. I have a quite in depth knowledge of international relations. In the future, I will definitely be looking at foreign relations and how the candidates should act as President. The wildcard will be Trump because we have not seen him in such a role. At least with Hillary her stint as Secretary of State can clue us into what her foreign relations might look like.

Stay tuned for more foreign relations and election analysis. Thanks for reading!

 

Abortion: Controversy over Life’s Beginning

Abortion is not a topic that I typically write about in much depth. I usually avoid it because it brings into contention some very strong opinions. It has religious and governmental impacts. Perhaps most importantly it involves a decision that could affect the potential life of a human. In this post, I will share my own personal view. Then I will share some alternate views of both sides. The recent comments made by Donald Trump have sparked a new outrage. In this post, I won’t be trying to be persuade you of either view but rather trying to convince you that the arguments for and against Abortion are largely flawed. Again this is my own personal view NOT necessary correct or right.

Personal View:

I consider myself to be pro-choice. I think that its reasonable for women to have a choice under certain circumstances. Those circumstances in my opinion are when a woman is raped or the woman has a serious medical  condition that could hurt her. I don’t believe that the government should pay for any abortions. I think that if you can’t afford it then adoption is a better option. In a perfect world, I think that adoption should be the first consideration then if one of the above circumstances exist then abortion should used as a last resort.

Pro-Choice: The belief that women have a choice of whether to have an abortion or not.

Pro-Life: The belief that women should not have abortions because life starts at conception.

The difference between two views is the idea of choice and no choice. The problem with the abortion argument is that Pro-Lifers will argue that life starts at conception and therefore any sort of abortion at any time is basically murder. Meanwhile, a pro-choicer will say that life starts after certain period of time usually as ruled in Roe V. Wade (1973) and that the woman has a right to choose. The argument and controversy has no stasis. Stasis is basically an equal argument with an opposite reasoning. For example, if I argue against a minimum wage and say that it will decrease jobs creation. Someone could argue that it puts more money in people’s pockets to spend. (assuming you don’t raise taxes too). Stasis is badly needed in the abortion argument.

The real controversy is over when life begins and the choice. These are two very different things. I believe that life does begin at conception, however I think that its unfair for a women to force to have a baby that she never wanted or asked for. Of course, being a man I won’t ever to go through that. I can empathize with all women in being forced to have a baby after going through a traumatic experience. I also think that science has pretty much settled that life begins at the fertilization of the egg. So I think the real argument is about choice. This is complicated by the morals of killing a potential life. I think its hard to argue on morality because morals are dictated by society and religion. When it comes down to choosing, I think it ultimately lies with the woman who is pregnant. Next time, you get in argument about Abortion just ask the person what they object to, the moral choice or the science. This way you can more effectively argue because science is easily proven.

Many times when talking about Abortion, I often hear people say that men have no say or men shouldn’t get an opinion. I get why some women might say this because it has always been men in government trying regulate abortion. But if there is a man who should have say its the man who gave you that baby. I also think that despite the problems with the morality of being pro-choice it seems like the best way to support equality for women’s rights. Like I explained earlier, there is only two circumstances when I would say an abortion is necessary. This is where I weigh the morals of killing potential life and forcing a poor victim of a evil crime like rape to be burdened by a child they didn’t want or can’t afford. I just think about how expensive the average child is, I read it can cost up to $250,000 to raise a child to age 18. I personally don’t find a justification in that case.

As for my mention about Donald Trump’s comments, all I will say is that he is right in line with the republican line of thinking on abortion. This is nothing new. For example, in Texas they shut down most of the abortion clinics so you actually have to leave the state to get one. One of the downsides to the republican ideology is that it puts religion before women’s rights. Unfortunately, the religion tends to be a little sexist. However, it shouldn’t be consider a sin to stand up for something like the right of making a choice.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think about Abortion!