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

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Basic Income–A replacement to Socalism?


I was browsing around fivethirtyeight.com, one my favorite websites right now. I came across an article discussing the idea of basic income. The article itself details the journey of a man who devoted his career to studying such a measure. I would definitely recommend that you read the original article, right NOW. Now before I explain what basic income is and why it may be a viable replacement to socialism, I want to say that there is no replacement for free market capitalism. No matter how you look at it, free market capitalism is the most successful type of economy. Also if you read this blog on any sort of regular basis you will often find me ripping and shooting holes through socialists ideas and policies. The only thing I have against socialism is that it just does NOT work. You may think after I explain that I’m proposing an socialist policy, but I’m not. I am merely suggesting a completely re-thought social welfare policy that could actually eliminate some of the problems that socialism presents.

Basic Income as explain by this article on fivethirtyeight is an no-strings attached, government funded check to each citizen of certain amount per month or annually. Now in the article they don’t get into many specifics on who actually receives this basic income check. They only say that whether your rich or poor, you get a check. Sounds really crazy right? Why the hell do people like Donald Trump need a free check from our government? Won’t it deter people from working? At first, I had come up with many questions like these. But then I started to think about it in a more realistic way. Now, if the government was cut a check each month for each citizen then we would obviously have to cut some other sources of spending. Naturally, when you think of a free check from the government you think: Welfare. So what counts as welfare?

So as defined by the article, welfare includes old age, health, family, disability, housing and a few random others like food stamps, government funded services. Let’s say the US government would cut all welfare which according to this chart made with data from OECD (To read more click on it). The chart is shown below:

flowers-ubi-21

So as you can see the US spends about 700 billion dollars on welfare related expenses per month per capita. This is all taxpayer funded money. So now the questions that I need to answer are who receives this check and how much should it be? The article does offer some light on how much. A proposed Swiss Basic Income law had the amount set around 1700 dollars a month. As you can see that the Swiss spend a similar 650 billion or so on welfare also. So let’s say the US will set it at 2000 dollars per month. And based on US census data from 2014, I have estimated that there 244 million people above the age of 18. I feel like once your 18 you should entitled to basic income. If your under then you’re probably not responsible enough, it should reasonably match with the voting age.

So here is my estimation by somewhat rough numbers:

Basic Income: $2000

Population over 18: 244 million

Monthly cost of Basic Income: $488,000,000,000 billion

Monthly cost of welfare: 700 Billion

Savings by Government:$212,000,000,000 Billion dollars.

I believe that my numbers although rough can easily justify a basic income as a cost cutting and effective way to reduce welfare costs. Now I could be wrong about any number of things in my calculations. However, let’s just take with a grain of salt and say that this is how it would be. Let’s be honest that the government has too much power over us through welfare. The government programs are usually poorly managed and very costly. Also who knows the best way to help you if your in poverty? The government? Or YOU! I think that people honestly know what they need to survive. Now many skeptics including myself will still call bullshit on this whole thing. This: Won’t this just deter people from working?

Honestly, I can say that it might deter some. But those same people are the ones who don’t work now and are on welfare. So in reality that problem can’t be fixed by an basic income. However, I think the war on poverty thus far has failed. Lyndon B. Johnson started it in the mid 1960s and we have been trying to fight it ever since. Unfortunately, the government is pretty ineffective at providing the poor help. So what makes me think that this measure could work? I think that this measure could work because it provides people the freedom to do what they will do. Let me give you two different situations that would probably occur across the country.

First situation: John Doe is a mid-level manager of a fortune 500 company. He makes a decent salary of about 90,000 dollars a year. When a basic income proposal is passed, his income increases to 114,000. John decides that instead of buying a fancy new car or going on a shopping spree with his wife, that he will invest the money and save some for retirement.

Second Situation: Paul Smith is a construction worker who has been in and out of work. He makes enough to get by, about 45,000 dollars a year. When a basic income proposal is passed his income increases to 69,000 dollars a year. Paul decides that instead of saving that extra he would rather go to the bar and party. He also decides that a fancy new car is in order.

Obviously, people of all incomes will do different things with their basic income. I don’t think its necessary wrong to go out and spend all your basic income on cars and drinks at the bar. I think its fiscally irresponsible and maybe immature. However, it still stimulating the economy. I believe the greatest asset of a basic income is that it allows people the freedom to do whatever they want. It allows you the freedom to quit a job you don’t like without losing all your income. Let’s face it 24,000 dollars isn’t a lot but its better than nothing. It may increase productivity because people would spend time searching or improving themselves for the jobs they want to do. Just imagine as a parent, if you that extra 24 thousand you can afford to pay for your kids college education. Of course, many will argue “it doesn’t close the wealth gap”. You are right, but the point is not to close that gap. The closure of the wealth gap is not really possible, sorry to break it to you.

My conclusion is that basic income may be a better alternative to socialism. Basic income is almost definitely better than our current welfare system. If you think our current system is unfair, then here you go, there is nothing more fair then everybody getting a piece. Now is basic income a realistic political idea in America? That I can’t tell you. However, I can tell you that basic income is a form of a welfare that could replace the costly and expensive welfare system currently in place without restraining our economy. I am also sure that if income is weighed right by inflation and standard of living, then it could save us billions in welfare each month, trillions a year. Our national debt isn’t getting any smaller.

I know I didn’t talk about how taxes would be effected. I would assume it would come with a small flat tax or more likely be added to your income tax. I think because of freeloaders you would have to tax it, otherwise you have many taxpayers disappearing off the tax roll.

Thank you for reading! Let me know what you think!

NY Primaries: The importance of your Vote.

I was very excited today at the possibility of voting for the first time in about 4 years. What I failed to realize is that primaries don’t work like regular general elections. Now I knew that you had to be registered for the party of your candidate in order to vote. However, when I went to the polling station, I found out that it was only for democratic and republican voters. I am a libertarian and registered as such under independent. I have written a few posts on being libertarian which you can find here and here. Now if Rand Paul who was running on the republican ticket hadn’t dropped out, I may have been able to change my registration in time to vote for him. More on this later. My point of this post is to encourage New Yorker’s and people from other states yet to hold primaries to vote. So instead of voting, they ironically give me a sticker that says “I Voted”. HA HA HA..the irony is killing me. (Picture above)

I came across an article about changing your party registration on my favorite site FiveThirtyEight. The article discusses how hard it is change your party registration in New York. Here is the link. Obviously, this causes problems with voter turnouts because if you’re registered as an independent you cannot vote in the election. I was mistaken in thinking that I could still vote for Gary Johnson because I was registered. I think that the fact that third party candidates are not allowed in primaries is a bad thing. More than being mad about not actually voting because I don’t like any of the Democratic or Republican candidates. I am more angry with how the system is set up. Not being able to vote in a primary for a third party candidate really shuts down their chances at an legitimate election process.

Now I know that in the general election that I will be able to vote for whoever I want even myself. However, I think point here is that we need more choices in our elections. There is no logical way that in America, a melting pot of diversity that just two points of view can be applied to all 330 million Americans. I believe elections might be much different if we at least one other candidate. Elections are usually decided by two factors, electoral college and the popular vote. The more important one is the electoral college. I’ve explained how the electoral college works and why we should get rid of it before. I believe that a third candidate would allow for better debates. A third party candidate like Gary Johnson, for example would offer an alternate platform that could be enticing to both left and right. Libertarians advocate similar fiscal responsibility as Republicans and also social equality like Democrats. Just imagine all the best qualities of Hillary Clinton and lets say Ted Cruz in one candidate. Just minus the corruption, religious tinge and overall craziness.

I think the obvious connection with more candidates, primaries and party registrations is the actual voting. If you have made the same mistake or false assumption that I did then at least you had good intentions. I’ve written before that voting is an important civic duty and everyone should exercise it. Voting gives you a voice and a say in your government. The founding fathers wrote the constitution for the people not for the government to ignore and exploit. America was set up to avoid the tyranny of a monarch. I really think that people and especially young people should start taking voting seriously. I cannot stress it enough. The links to my other posts are here and I would encourage you to read them.

Even if you are like me and cannot vote in a primary then at least you have to register to vote in the general election. I can tell you from experience in voting in general elections that its a gratifying feeling to know that you help decide who will run this country. I have vote in two general elections. Obviously when I was 18, I voted for John McCain. Granted, I know your probably saying really!?!?! Yes Really, but you must understand as high school senior in a small up state New York town that being conservative was almost standard. Even today, my parents are conservative republicans. I understand now that typically hard working middle class people in rural areas usually are conservatives.The reason is simple, they would like to keep their money. However, the downside is socially things like gay people and transgender are not as accepted. Once I went to college and discover there as many different types of people I started to realize maybe republican wasn’t my party.

In 2012, I thought about voting for Mitt Romney but decided that his business campaign wasn’t really working for me. Instead I decided to pick an libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. In that re-election year for Obama, Gary Johnson actually received 1 million votes. This is quite a milestone for a candidate whose party is suppressed by the mainstream media mostly and by the election laws. I say that mainstream media suppresses libertarians because most networks don’t cover the candidates with one exception. Fox News actually has one program that is libertarian. John Stossel is the host and the show’s namesake, Stossel.

So get out there and vote! Thanks for reading!

Super Tuesday; Super Opinions

Super Tuesday was the most thrilling and shocking Super Tuesday in a long time. The breakthrough of Donald Trump has taken the nation by storm. It has surprised pudits and bucked trends. There is no way to predict what might happen because this type of candidate has never been seen before. I was anxiously awaiting the results to see what would happen. I predicted with some accuracy to my facebook friends that Trump would previal in most states except Texas. I was correct because Trump won 8 states inculding close victories in Virginia and Vermont. Ted Cruz won Alaska, Texas and a shocking victory in Oklahoma. On the Democratic side, Clinton won 9 states sweeping Sanders’ 4 and increasing her delegate margin. I find both of the primary races on each side to be so interesting. In this article, I want to talk about my opinion of Super Tuesday and prehaps predict some what may happen next. I also want to link the coolest delegate and poll watcher interactive made by fivethirtyeight. This interactive shows you an indepth look at how the candidates are doingand in polls of primary states and their delegate count. I would recommend that you see this interactive and explore it. I will also be referring to fivethirtyeight’s interactive throughout this post. It works as a great guide to see what has happened and what may happen in the future.

Let’s start with the orange rich guy, Donald Trump. So like I previously stated that Trump had won 8 states which equaled to about 254 delegates to add to his total which now stands at 336. Trump’s success was not seen in the beginning and many have been skeptical including me. But now its legitimate. Trump has bucked the trends. Usually a non-political background dooms a presidency. Just look at Ben Carson, he peaked in November and now he won’t be in the next debate. The interesting thing about Trump is his tactics seem to be more savvy than the media reports. Everyone knows about his racist rants and insults against women. However, that narrative is why the media is always covering him. You never know what he will say next. But I realize in listening to his speech last night with a terrified Chris Christie behind him, that Trump is pursuing a general election strategy. An analyst on tv noted it first but it got me thinking about his actions of late and in the past. Depsite being heavily attacked by other candidates, Trump always responded with a worst insult. But in the last few debates, he has been focusing more on Hillary Clinton and taking down her policies and record. In this speech last night, he spent time doing that same thing. Trump is clearly smart enough to realize with a strong lead going into mid march that he needs to start working on Clinton now. Because its likely that he will face her in the election. I say strong lead, but in reality I think its a lot closer. Let me explain why.

The republican race is interesting because of Trump and the candidates that he’s running against. Ted Cruz has won 3 states and is considered to be the most conservative candidate left. Marco Rubio is the essisential establishment candidate that can appael to anyone and has won one state, Minnesota. You also might forget about Ben Carson and John Kaisch. The race as it stands right now actually favors Trump because the delegates and votes are split between five candidates. Meaning you need less votes to win. Obviously with Trump being so racist and sexist at times it means he may scare off some voters. There’s actually a new super pac that wants to stop Trump from getting the nomination but I think its a little late. The first thing is that they need to eliminate all candidates except the strongest one. That is going to be tough. I believe ideally the candidate to face off with Trump would be Cruz and with 3 states. The super pac needs to put all their weight on Cruz in order to beat Trump. I think its possible but it might be too late. With the next round of primaries next week, with the likes of Florida and Ohio. The problem is if Trump can win Florida, he gets 99 delegates and the second place winner gets nothing. So Florida could easily decide a nominee. I will be watching carefully to see if anything happens because it could be interesting.

On a short side note, there is a growing list of celebrities who say they will leave the country if Trump is elected. I wish them good luck and goodbye. Canada has different problems than here doesn’t mean its better. Plus I don’t understand because if Trump is elected then usually a democratic congress is elected. So President Trump won’t have much luck doing anything with Congress.

In democratic side, its pretty simple to breakdown. Clinton has a YUGE lead on Sanders. Try 596 to 399. Nearly two hundred delegates. The problem for Sanders, his social justice appael just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, Clinton can lie and cheat all she wants but is still trusted by minorities. Meanwhile Sanders who means well and doesn’t seem to be racist in anyway, can’t seem to connect with black voters. I have a few thoeries but my main one is that being a white male, socialist isn’t really what black voters are looking for. Hillary has a good record with black voters so by default she seems to edging Sanders out. As for the future, I don’t see Sanders ever really catching up because I think Hillary will win the biggest delegate states like New York, Ohio, and California.

So my take on Super Tuesday is that the general election will be Trump vs. Clinton. Probably one of the most unlikely presidential races to
ever occur. The first woman to ever be nominated for president in the US. Trump will be the first ever non-career politcian to be elected. Although a historic race, I feel like there should still be a third party candidate. If you have read any of my past posts you would find I don’t favor either of the candidates. I feel like there is a gray area in politics between left and right. That’s right, I want a libertarian candidate. I think the race would be much more interesting with another candidate up there. The problem for me and this country is that libertarians are unpopular among the media and voters. Many assume its just anarchy or fence sitting but its actually a fine line between the two extremes. Contrary to preception, a libertarian fire department where you put out your own fires or a libertarian intersection with no stop lights or signs is just a joke. There’s a point where there is too much regulation in government. Usually too much means advantages for the private sector. Libertarians want just enough regulation to keep special interests at bay and keep citizens free of government control. Everyone should consider the libertarian point of view.

Thanks for reading!

Republican Debate: The Media Bashing Monster

I regretfully did not watch the debate last night because I was watching the World Series. However, the good news I was able to record the debate and watch it this morning. Let’s talk about the World Series because during the conference series I said that I hoped the Blue Jays would win over the Royals. My reason was that the Blue Jays are power hitting team similar to the Cubs. The Mets’ strength is pitching especially their starters. The Royals even before seeing the two games already played versus the Mets, I saw they could be a potentially dangerous opponent. The Royals with their contact hitting and situational genius are the Mets worse nightmare. That is what we are seeing in the World Series. Unfortunately, as a Mets fan I have to concede to the Royals because the Mets have no answer.

I also have another reason for bringing up sports before going into the nitty gritty of politics. I was watching the Herd on fox sports 1 and he was talking about the similarities of sports and politics. It is a very similar world where winners and losers are created through a contest, both being of physical and mental in nature.  Both worlds are built on big money and big time publicity. Both drive the conversation of the media. Rarely ever do sports and politics mix but as an analogy I feel they work perfectly.

In this debate, we saw countless candidates bash the media especially coming from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Interestingly enough, these two stand to gain the most from doing so. Mr. Trump kept quiet because as I have written before, Trump has the media to thank for the success of his candidacy. Almost everyone including pundits and others feel that Cruz and Rubio are the hold the line establishment republicans. One could also include Jeb Bush in there due to his large amount of endorsements. I will come back to Bush later. I thought Cruz and Rubio both put on strong performances. They were able to grab a lot of air time. They also made their points and plans clear. The more I listen to Rubio the more I actually like him.  I that think Rubio sometimes makes sense. He also has a legitimate shot especially if Carson or Trump fall apart.

As for Jeb Bush, it seems the end is near. This article that I have linked is a very interesting one because it breaks down the performance of Bush compared to the other candidates. Bush just couldn’t seem to gain any traction or talk time. Foreign policy was not Bush’s biggest fault in this debate. (They barely touched it) Chris Christie was another surprising candidate to me. Christie helped push Bush near the edge with his blast about fantasy football. Christie literally told him, “Look, who cares about fantasy football, if they want to play let them” I thought Christie along with Mike Huckabee also put on a strong performance. Huckabee has never been my favorite candidate. He’s a little too much into religion and pushing it on others. The problem is not that he is religious but that he is willing to criticize and tried to convert anyone who isn’t. Let’s face it, Huckabee, this country is moving away from not towards to god. Fewer people attend church every Sunday now than ever in the history of this country!

Before I move on to Rand Paul’s performance, I want to rant and rave about this fantasy football thing. I believe each candidate nailed it when they said government should not be involved. However, I do believe that unregulated gambling is above the law. These daily fantasy companies definitely stretch the rules. I don’t care if people want to gamble all their money away. The problem I have is that they might actually just be blind robbing people. I read articles that their commercials which are annoying as hell, fleece the regular person who would want to play. The word ‘fleece’ means trick in this case. They show these people who are actually professional gamblers that win millions. Its not right. At least portray the reality of the game. I think that regulation to make sure there is no false advertising and there is no insider advantage. Also stop playing so many damn annoying commercials!

Pheww.

Ok then, Rand Paul’s debate performance was lackluster because he got very little air time. It seems like my man Rand always the shaft on air time. Either way, when he did get a chance to talk, he made it count. He set some things straight about taxes, the fed, and healthcare. I love how everyone says Dr. Carson is sooooo fucking great. Bullshit. I’d take Rand Paul as my doctor any day of the week. Excuse my french. For one thing, I do like Rand’s tax plan as I have written in previous posts.  I think Rand is a dark horse candidate. Despite the media ignoring him, he is still doing well. Also unlike other candidates, Rand is a class act and polite. I think its going to take more than no media attention to kill his campaign. Give me any candidate against Rand and I’ll take Rand’s view on the issues 80 percent of the time. Vote Rand.

Now let’s turn our attention to the two clowns in front. Dr. Jykell and Mr. Hyde. Aka Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump. I thought they both underperformed. I feel like Trump’s punch lines have gotten old and stale. He has been saying the same things about the same issues. Its boring. I know that they have worked in the past. I would also place the blame on the moderators who literally asked him the stupidest questions (fittingly). While Trump struggles to find a new tune to scream, Dr. Carson just finds new ways to look like a novice. I just can’t get over Dr. Carson’s inability to explain his views on issues. I also feel like  he has no clue what he is talking about. Seriously. Especially with foreign policy, I rather have Jeb Bush. (Rand Paul over anyone else) There is a big part of me that wants to see both of these candidates get lost. They might be outsiders but I don’t think they can run it properly.

The only two people whom I didn’t mention is the Ohio governor John Kasich. I felt like he did a lot of talking. Unfortunately it was always the same thing. “I have a proven record and a plan to fix Washington.” (Repeat 7 times) OK Mr. Kaisch WE GET IT. ugh. We know that you did it in OHIO. If Ohio is so great then why can’t Lebron James fix the Cavs? Riddle me that. I digress. And Carly Fiorina. Carly seem to do okay. My opinion about her hasn’t changed. The moderators went after her HP experience. The only thing I do want to say is that if her and Hillary Clinton got in a fight, a big cat fight. I think my money is on Hillary. Clinton probably beats the shit out of Bill Clinton all the time. After all, Monica kinda made them look bad. hahahaha

To bring this post full circle, I am going to use a little sports analogy. With so many candidates in the Republican field the candidates have a distinct disadvantage. Hillary Clinton has it pretty easy as a frontrunner because other than Bernie Sanders there is no other legitimate threats. (Let’s face it, Bernie is hardly an enemy basically supporting Clinton in that debate) Meanwhile the Republicans face a longer and tougher road. In sports, usually better tested teams tend to win. However, the game is a little different. The problem that Republicans face is divided support at this moment. Meanwhile Hillary enjoys a strong lead with most of the support split between her and Bernie. If Republicans want to go for the victory, they will need to focus on maybe two candidates to push behind. The two strongest candidates both outside and establishment. The more voters behind the Republican nominee the better. The nomination is like a goal line stand, your just trying to punch in the touchdown. But you don’t want to use all your energy there, because the election is a marathon with the game going into overtime. Regardless of sports or politics, there is only one thing that matters, winning.

Thanks for reading!

Democratic Debate: Sanders v. Clinton in Aftermath!

If you had watched the debate on Tuesday then you will definitely want to read this post. In my last post about the debate, I went over how all the candidates did in a brief summary. Some were shorter than others because air time. I have decided to narrow down the field to two candidates. The other three candidates were in the debate just to make it interesting but have no real impact in the election. A few things before we get started here. There is an article on FiveThirtyEight that you should go read right now. Its called “Did the Democratic Debate Change the Odds?” In this article, they breakdown how each candidate fared in the debate. They also weigh in on Joe Biden and his non-appearance. I feel that the article pretty accurate represents my own views on who won the debate. As you may or may not know that FiveThirtyEight is one of my favorite sites because of uber-interesting articles that deliver. I also want to point your attention to another site that is worth checking out. It is called open secrets. This website open secrets, shows all known data on money in government and elections. If you really want the truth on how bad the American people are being corrupted then I suggest going to this website. For example if you want see how Donald Trump’s campaign is doing financially, you can go right here. You can do this for almost any candidate. Even the untouchable Hillary Clinton.

Go ahead and check both of those out after reading this. Now I want to look into how the media has treated the debate. I think its a really interesting factor to look at in an election. The media influence is greater than ever. This means it cannot be ignored in its coverage. A quick google search of the debate itself brings up some news. Many of headlines about Hillary Clinton. This and This and This. The media seems to think that Hillary won. I want to expand my own views in my last post. I will be using some of what I read in the FiveThirtyEight article to help me out.

Let’s start by recapping what I thought of Hillary:

Hillary Clinton is a former senator of New York and Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton was able to stick it to everybody in this debate. She flatly denied the email scandal anymore attention than it had. Mr. Chaffe did throw a few jabs with his mention of no scandal. Clinton really stuck to her guns on foreign policy. Surprisingly she did make some sense by saying that a coalition to help in Syria was necessary. She was unapologetic about her decisions in the past. I could see that she was really trying to keep the focus on the issues and not her past. Unfortunately her past is so well known I think it played well for her. Clinton really pushed strong for rights and equality for women. However, Sanders also pushed hard. They both seem to think that smaller countries like Denmark and Norway were good models. The only problem is America is much larger in population. Once again, just like Sanders, Hillary could not answer how she might pay for anything. All I heard was increase taxes on rich.

Speaking of that, Republican bashing was Hillary’s leading role. Every opportunity that she got, she took to bash the republicans. Comparing the democratic debate as one that focused on issues instead of racism and women hating.  She was right about that. However, I feel like Clinton failed to really convince people that she won’t do the shady things of the past again. The mistrust of politicians is at an all time high. She is the poster child for bad politicians. This was brought out by the constant attack on her political flip flopping on issues. Anderson Cooper went directly for her saying any to get votes. I was not convince by her answers. Clinton seem to have strong performance by using other candidates positions to back her own. She was able to articulate many of her own positions because of the huge amount air time given to her. (Much to the dismay of Mr. Webb) I think that Clinton probably improved her polls by a few points. She’s a savvy politician.

So I have highlighted three different sections of my last post to talk about. (in bold) I felt like Clinton definitely reaffirmed to women everywhere that she has their back. I saw in another article on 538 about how her support with women keeps increasing. I think that her push for women and family probably drove up her stock. However, Mr. Sanders keep up for the most part with many issues including minimum wage and family leave. For me, these issues are nonsensical and very controversial. While I understand why Democrats support these types of policies, I just think they are misguided. (More on that with Sanders)

Moving on to the next bold part, is the republican bashing. Hilary seem to lead the charge in bashing them. I take no offense even though I do support Rand Paul. The republicans tend to write the headlines and jokes themselves. According to 538 there was a stat that Hillary actually bashed more than any other candidate. I feel like this political mudslinging almost ALWAYS works in favor of the thrower. Its an odd dynamic but negative press can hurt a campaign. (Again, Sanders seem to be positive, more on that later!) It was actually a pretty boring debate. However I have to commend the candidates for staying on the issues. Even though much of conversation about minimum wage and immigration seem to be a little misguided.

Overall though for Hillary’s sake I thought her air time and articulation of views put her as a true front runner. This comes despite the email scandal. I don’t see the appeal of her on a personal level. I believe that media is somewhat correct in saying that she won the debate. She has solidified her voter base. (Against my preferences)

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Here is what I wrote about Bernie Sanders debate performance:

Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont. Sanders had a very strong showing despite being attacked early and often. One of the questions that kept him on the defensive was his record on guns. I have mentioned this in previous posts that Sanders hails from Vermont a gun loving state. Sanders was able to say that he is changing his position after all the mass shooting. He also tried to frame it in the sense of “Urban vs. Rural” states. Noting that rural areas tend to have lax gun laws. O’Malley smartly shot him down on this narrative because of his record in Maryland. (Pun not Intended/ Notwithstanding the failures in Baltimore) Sanders was also successful pushing for the usual minimum wage hike and paid family leave. I think that the question in my mind, and many others is how will you pay for all these expensive actions. He did mention that he would put a tax on the rich hedge managers or something like that. The thing about Sanders is that his plans all sound great. The problem is where is all this money coming from? All the rich people are moving out already so I don’t think taxing them more will make them stay. Overall though, I thought that Bernie stuck to his platform pretty closely and was able to separate himself from Clinton. I have to believe that Sanders will keep building up his support.

Mr. Sanders was surprisingly rough around the edges. He was not as polished as Hillary in the debate. However, Bernie came prepared and fought off an intense gun issue battle. I feel like Bernie struggled to keep it together during the questions about guns. I could see that his argument about rural vs. urban states was a good argument. I can’t fault him for framing it like that. There is really a lot of gray area in the issue. Sanders also did some strange and good things during the debate. One of the strangest things was his positive toward Clinton. Rarely if ever, do candidates show kindness to each other. Politics tends to be a bitter sport.  Personal attacks are the norm. (HIs behavior strangely markets his campaign of being out of the normal) I felt like his allying with Clinton definitely hurt his chances of increasing his votes. (538 says as much)  I feel like if he really want to rally his voters, he should have attacked Clinton. There is no shortage of ammo (no pun intended).

One of my personal bones to pick with Sanders as candidate is his over the top socialist economic policies. I know that he means well and everything. However, the logic behind his plans just is not there. He using an emotional argument to push something that has very little to do with emotions. Economists agree that increasing minimum wage only hurts the middle wage earners and it does not help lower wage earners. Everybody’s wages are tied together with the exception of the super rich. (This is who Sanders is attempting to hurt) Unfortunately for Sanders you can’t fix wages from bottom to top. It has to be done naturally through smart economic moves. Yes, Republicans and Bush Tax cuts also don’t help the lower wage earners. Suffice to say, this issue is totally misguided. In order to help people who are struggling to get by, we need to help businesses hire more people. Quite simply, less taxes for businesses. I’m not talking about major corporations like Walmart either. We need our 95 percent small business economy to hire.

Overall I thought Sanders perform very well in the debate. His handling of black lives matter was good enough. Its been clear through different polls that Sanders does lack the color voters. This is a tricky issue for him and other candidates. In my opinion, I think Sanders could further endorse this movement to help get more colored voters. Unfortunately, Sanders biggest downfall was his kindness to Clinton.

There you have it. I believe that Clinton really boosted her support while Bernie keep afloat. I am looking forward to the next debate. The next democratic debate will be in November on the 14th. Meanwhile the next Republican debate will be on October 28th. Once again, it should an interesting battle of the candidates.

Thanks for reading!

Bag of Opinions—Pope Francis, Rand Paul and 538?

The republican debate has been an interesting topic of discussion going forward. The candidates have been jockeying for position. The newsreel has been flooded with post-debate opinions and discussion about who will win. This post is meant for me to vent or give my two cents on some political happenings. Currently the pope is on his way to New York City. Pope Francis is a center of controversy in terms of politics. I also want to give an awesome review to what might be my favorite new website. I also want to discuss my experience since joining one of my favorite candidates campaign. There is one candidate who I feel that if put as the nominee I would vote for. I’ve spent the past few days trying to think up a good post. I’ve managed to come up a with few ideas and feel that none could fill a whole post.

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If you haven’t heard yet, Pope Francis was in Washington DC yesterday. He flew to America to be greeted by President Obama and family. The pope was treated as esteemed diplomat. I can say that being religious I respect the Pope and his role as leader of the Catholic Church. Let’s put his religious roles aside. The Pope does have a strong following around the world. The Pope wisely uses it to help the various causes that the church supports. Pope Francis is unlike past popes because he is educated with degrees in Chemistry. The Argentina born Pope is quite accomplished. His political views are a little scary and a little unsurprising. He spoke to congress today. If the Pope could get congress to do something productive it would truly be a miracle. I’m only half-joking. Seriously, Pope Francis is against capitalism and consumerism. Thankfully he is still against marxism and communism.

Pope Francis is a smart man. A smart man who should realize that consumerism and capitalism make the world go round. I’m not entirely sure what his economic plan would look like. However, my speculation is that he is likes government controlled economies similar to Russia. This would make sense because the Church actively ruled economic conditions during the dark ages. This scares me because the dark ages didn’t work so good. Also Russia economic record isn’t exactly stellar.  Unfortunately, there is no substitute for free market capitalism. It does have its ups and downs but I think that the benefits far outweigh the costs. Besides the US government has a welfare system in place its just corrupted and not used correctly. President Obama has done his best to help job growth and the economy. I applaud his efforts but its falling short. What needs to be done to help the poor is not more welfare, not more government programs  and not more government intervention.

Pope Francis has a noble cause for being against consumerism and capitalism because he cares about the poor. He cares about people. The Catholic Church does a great job helping people. Now he is calling on congress to act. Unfortunately, both parties in congress on hung up on other issues. Planned Parenthood…. ISIS….. you name it. (Pope Francis would be on republicans side in the planned parenthood issue.) What Pope Francis should be urging congress and President Obama to do is to cut taxes for those in the lower brackets. Instead increasing taxes on the rich or tax cuts for the rich, the lower tax brackets should be cut. Welfare can only help so much. Imagine this: A family of four making less than 50,000 a year with no federal income tax. That would do wonders. Plus with the addition of a few select government programs being overseen correctly, it could help the poor and middle class more than ever. Not to insult Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton but raising minimum wage to 9 or 10 dollars nationwide might not hurt. The small increases will still allow businesses to hire.

I still really don’t know how to feel about Pope Francis meddling in politics. But I think if he is going to jump off the deep end that is what he should take aim at.

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So there is a really cool website called FiveThirtyEight. It covers everything from sports to politics. Amazing articles and analysis on different topics.  FiveThirtyEight is one of those sites that does everything. Its so interesting too. I recommend reading a few articles. All of them are worth it. Their analysis on Scott Walker dropping out of the race are fantastic.  I even read an article on Jeb Bush and his tax plan. You can read here. It was really good.  This site is totally worth spending an hour to check it out. If you like football like me, I’m a huge New York Jets fan. Check out their predictions. Seriously cool stuff. I’m not known as a big math person but let me tell you that statistics becomes a hundred fold more interesting with sports.

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A few days ago, I decided to sign up for Rand Paul’s campaign. In addition to signing up, I also inquired about any jobs because I’m interested in doing some campaign work. (If you happen to have connections with a campaign I’d be happy to know) So far I have received many emails urging me to donate. Which is to be expected. I did a review of Rand Paul’s application he made for his campaign so check that out. In that post, I noted that Rand is one of my favorite candidates because of political views. Rand is not your average republican. Rand is a conservative libertarian. So his views most closely resemble my own. However, Rand is not doing so well in the polls.  Unfortunately for me and a few million people the libertarian view is not popular. I urge you to check Rand’s website because I think he is a worthy candidate.

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So thats all of my opinions for today. My next post will be either on an issue or a candidate. Most likely going to focus on a democratic candidate because obviously it will make for an interesting argument. I cannot wait for the democratic debate. It should be even more interesting than the republicans. Just a reminder that the democratic debate is October 13th. Thanks for reading!