Libertarians United: Individual Rights

Everyone makes a joke now and again. In fact, I probably make way too many. Many of them cross them line of commonly socially acceptable topics. Joking is fine but I think there is something to be said for serious discussion. Often lost in the laughter is the actual points of my joke. I only use parody or satire because it gets the point across much quicker than frank discussion. You probably read title and thought you got rick-rolled? Don’t worry. I’m getting there. My last blog post was about the names that libertarians call themselves. Click here. I want libertarians, anarchists, ancaps to all unite. I believe that we can. I don’t mean in a collectivist way but in a united front. We are ALL natural allies. I think there is many things that we all agree on to some degree. But one of the things that we all agree on without much debate is individual rights.

Why Individual Rights?

If there is one thing the founders got right, it was individual rights. Thomas Jefferson wrote it in the declaration of independence, however, he meant white land owning men.  The constitution had it amended in the Bill of Rights which outline 10 specific individual rights. We all know that individual rights go much further than just the 10 in our constitution. Individuals are the smallest minority. Individuals make up groups. Individuals determine their own path in life. Of course, you have influences and different societal restrictions. But in the end, its the individual that decides who they want to be associated with and what they want to do. Individual rights isn’t divine. It stems from property.

Property Rights are the basis of individual freedom

The right to own property is the basis of individual rights. Why? The answer is simple its because when you own property it allows you to do whatever you want on that property. Its your own private island. Let’s face reality though, government today controls much of what we do on our private property. Its wrong. This is why when Anarcho-Communists argue for public property what they actually mean is, I want the government to own everything. If everything is owned by everybody, then taking whatever you please is not considered theft. But the reality is if you take somebody else’s things then its theft whether or not they actually own it or not. You didn’t ask permission. An-coms brings to another important point, the NAP.

Non-Aggression Principle

Whenever you try to argue with someone about a society with no government they always try to bring up some magical power void. My response is, well I see a giant power void in your brain. In a voluntary society, there won’t be government however, there will be one rule. NAP. The non-aggression principle basically means do whatever you want without violating the individual rights or freedoms of others. It means that you won’t do anything that could be a crime today. Many crimes like murder, burglary, extortion are crimes against others. Other victim-less crimes like selling drugs wouldn’t be a violation. The reason there won’t be a power void is because NAP doesn’t just say you have rights. You also have the right to enforce those rights with guns. This is why there is no power void because each individual is empowered.

OK Genius but I disagree.

Hold on, I got one point to make! Minarchists seem like a friendly ally but beware. I’ve recently learned that they actually tend to lean into statism more than I like. I can’t blame them it took me awhile to go full no government. But the more I look at the government in the US and UK fuck up everything, the more I think to myself imagine what life could be without it.  Minarchists believe in a limited government. Just the basic level services. But the problem with it is that government can’t help but grow itself. The problem is that human beings are self interested and greedy. Government is the avenue of power on the road to corruption. It masks itself in goodwill, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We can’t possibly trust government, it’s like trusting your spend-happy spouse with an American Express Black Card. You know your wife can’t help herself in a Louis Vutton store. Government is worse, 21 trillion dollars in national debt.

My Point: Lets rally around Individual rights

If there is one thing that we (Libertarians, Anarchists, Ancaps) can argue for as united front, it is individual rights. We don’t always have to agree on everything. In fact, I’m a big proponent of debate. I thrive on argument. Granted, changing my mind is hard but if you present a persuasive fact-based argument, then I’ll agree. Anyway, if libertarians want to be taken seriously unlike the LP then we have to present some form of consistency. Our ideologies are very similar. We have to give up our stubbornness and actually try work toward a common end. The means of getting there is up for debate. But the common goal is to achieve a voluntary society.  If you don’t believe in the ends then you might not belong, which is OK. We’re supposed to tolerate everyone except Communists. Be focused on principles of libertarianism and there is no disagreement that can separate us.

Taxation is Theft. Thanks for reading.

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Benefits of Intervention: Syria?

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Trump has recently organized an response to an alleged chemical attack in Syria. The United States along with England and France have come together to missile some targets of known chemical weapon storage and research. This post will be about this newest Syrian Intervention but it will also generally cover the track record of failure with interventions. I have actually written about this in December 2016, when under President Obama decided not to get involved in Syria despite the humanitarian crisis. (Post is linked here)

Allies: Syria and Russia

The bombing of targets in Syria in response to a alleged chemical attack comes with more controversy than usual.  The Russia President, Vladimir Putin warned against the US trying to take action against Syrian President Assad. The reason is that Syria and Russia are allies. Russia has been helping the embattled Syrian President fight against the rebels in their seven year civil war. This means that Russia is very territorial about who intervenes with the civil war. I think Russian goals in Syria are pretty clear, they want to expand their hegemony in the middle east. Putin probably has no real humanitarian interest in the Syrian people. Similar to Russia invasion and annexation of the Crimea, the nature of their allied relationship with Syria is to project power on the world stage.

False Flag Attack: Did it actually happen? 

Another interesting aspect of this particular situation is that reports came out that the chemical attack was a false flag. This means that no chemicals or possibly no attack ever occurred. Interestingly enough there is still a question about the legitimacy of the attack. Of course, Syrian President Assad has a history using chemical weapons against his own people. This alone is a serious offense especially if you consider the Geneva Convention protocol. Geneva Convention refers to the rules of engagement and genocide. The murky nature of the civil war with many different factions makes it a complex situation. Its not clear to me or to experts that there is a genocide occurring in Syria.

Another point about false flags is that many wars have started because of false pretenses. I think that this is a theme which can found throughout history especially in United States since 1917.

Precedent False Flags in US History

I believe that the intervention in the Syrian conflict is not unprecedented. The US has a history of going in on wars with the basis of a lie. For the sake of length, I want to start with the Vietnam war. The Tonkin Gulf incident occurred in 1964, it was a false attack on US ships. It led to the escalation of the Vietnam war. Moving on to the Gulf War, which had rumors about Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait. More recently, we invade Afghanistan under the pretense of fighting terror. Ironically, the terrorists main goal was have to us overreact and spend trillions upon trillions of dollars and nearly 3000 lives to kill an enemy so small.  Then we got the Iraq war, which was started over the rumor that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We still never found any weapons. Then you have Libya, where an NATO coalition decided the Muammar Gaddafi had to go, not for any particular reason but oil. Obviously, there are numerous examples, but the point is that lies are a great pretense for war.

Benefits of Intervention

I believe that history would tell us that intervention doesn’t work out as intended. Just look at Vietnam for example. The US mission in Vietnam was to keep the communist North Vietnam from invading the south and turning it communist. The US lost the war by a lot. The US had superior military power, bombs, 500,000 troops and state of the ark equipment. The US lost to a bunch of farmers in the jungle. Sad life. (Note that Gun Control advocates ignore this fact, farmers with guns can defeat the US military)  I think that Vietnam and others beg the question: Is there any benefit to intervention?

The answer is both yes and no. Let’s start with no. There is no benefit to the American public. War is very costly, if you add up the cost of the wars since the Korean War, the total cost is nearly equal to our national debt of 21 trillion dollars! The other costs include military causalities, lots of injured veterans, and instability in the region of conflict. There is no benefit to the American People. So you may ask who DOES benefit? I am glad you didn’t forget because ironically, the government and military contractors benefit the most. The government benefits because its a justification to raise taxes and spend more of your money! Military contractors are corporations who are given (usually awarded them) contracts to produce military equipment and research. The Department of Defense is responsible for this process of handing military contracts. Unfortunately, the DoD does a horrible job of holding these companies accountable. Many times the military contracts are exploited, because companies spend more money and take longer than they are supposed to. This lack of accountability wastes TRILLIONS of dollars. Its a big problem and a big topic for another post!

Conclusion: Intervention Sucks

Ultimately this intervention into the Syrian conflict will come back to haunt us. President Trump has shown himself to be no different than his peers (past presidents). Its a shame that the America people don’t hold the government accountable. One of the reasons for the sudden explosion of intervention is the President’s ability to declare war without Congressional approval. This needs to change. The founding fathers gave Congress the power to declare war for a reason. A President with the power to declare will eventually become a tyrant. Its a dangerous precedent. The benefits of giving congress war powers back is that Congress can’t agree on anything and therefore it will prevent 99 percent of new interventions. A great victory for the American people!

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Part 2: Monetary policy and Trump’s Tariff debacle

Before you start reading this post you should go to part 1 if you aren’t familiar with supply/demand curve and “dead weight loss”. 

In the first part of this post, I will be discussing Trump’s tariff debacle. It is a little misleading but enacting tariffs can only end in a debacle. In today’s world, we have globalization and free trade around the world. The world is much too interconnected to put protectionists policies in place is like moving backwards. I want to re-highlight these points even though I mentioned them in my other tariffs post here.  In the second part of this post, I will go over one or maybe two common monetary policies utilized by the Federal Reserve (Central Bank). The policies will be in relation to tariffs because they have to do with the actual money supply. I won’t go too far into detail, lets get right to Trump.

Globalization and Free Trade are the New Norm:

If you haven’t read the tariff post linked above then here is a brief recap about globalization and free trade. Globalization is spread of goods, people and cultures all over the world. In today’s world, if you look at how the internet let’s people access information instantly, and how you can literally go anywhere by plane, boat or car. This is globalization. The exchanging of information with people from all over world, it has us more interconnected than anytime in human history!

This connection has lead multiple free trade agreements. There are many more pending. My point is that Trump cannot possibly ignore this. Trump’s problem is, as I see it, he is thinking like the US is his business. So in order to get his business (USA) ahead he wants to cut off the competitors by pricing them out. However, there is a YUGE problem! The problem is that consumer markets are now worldwide. The USA has a population of only 320 million out of 7 billion people in the world! Clearly, the US is lucrative market but its not the only one!

Protectionism: Moving the Economy backwards:

This is painfully simple to explain. The US used to be a protectionist economy from its birth in 1776 to about 1913. The federal government collect the majority of its income from tariffs on imports and exports. In 1913, the federal income tax  started raking in more than tariffs. It has ever since. After the world wars, the world started to rapidly globalize. The US lead the way. Now the US is in a tedious position with countries like China chopping at the bit to take first place. The point is that if the US wants to go back to pre-1913, before we were considered the world’s number one economy then we should enact tariffs. Speaking of China, that brings me to my next point.

Trump will eventually lose the trade war with China:

Recently I was able to acquire membership to the Wall Street Journal. (I got connections, kidding) I came across an article that caught my eye. Let me preface it with this: Trump has already approved 50 billion dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese goods. Now Trump is threatening to raise it to 100 billion dollars worth. The Chinese have responded that they will fight back if he does it. Here is the link to the article, its called Trump Weighs Tariffs on $100 Billion More of Chinese Goods by Bob Davis. (I believe they allow a few free reads if you haven’t gotten a subscription) Davis goes into detail about the possible effects of the tariffs. He also writes about Trump’s possible plans to protect industries like agriculture. I would encourage everyone to read since it gives a decent background on the situation.

My point here is that Trump cannot win against China. The Chinese hold a ton of our debt. In other words, they buy American dollar backed government bonds. (China also cheats on its exchange rate by basing it off these debt bonds) China holds leverage because of the holding of American debt and they import more to us than we export to them. Trump will lose because China doesn’t need US goods. The US is more dependent on China. Now you can how monetary policy plays a role in the contexts of tariffs and the economy.

Exchange Rate

One of the most important aspects that any government can control is the exchange rate. The exchange rate or currency exchange rate is the value of one currency in relation to another. For example: 1 US dollar is equal to .81 Euro. Currency exchanges can done in every currency. One of the ways that the exchange rate help with Trump’s trade war is through making our money more valuable or less valuable. Unfortunately, its a great tactic because it can backfire. In a circumstance, where Trump decides to have the US Treasury take money out of the money supply or circulation. A common used is called deflation. Which refers to increase of purchasing power of money.  This usually helps everyone because less money is worth more. However, in regard to China, it would probably strengthen the Chinese position.

make the dollar worth less, it would help devalue the debt held by the Chinese. Trump would simply tell the US Treasury to print more money. However, the drawback is that it would cost more to pay back debt. It would also decrease the buying power affecting nearly everyone except the super rich. Its also called Inflation which is my next topic.

Inflation

Inflation is often seen as a bad word. Its often used to describe the fall of prices and purchasing power. There is some controversy about how its calculating using CPI or Consumer Price Index, which is explained here. Now the important thing about inflation is that it can have serious consequences.  One consequence I mentioned was decreased purchasing power. Purchasing power is very important especially everyday people like me and you. Many of my anti-minimum wage arguments on center on this exact principle. Having money be worth less means that you have work harder to make more to buy less. For example, inflation might bring your regular grocery bill from 100 dollars  a week to 150 dollars a week even if the prices of food remain about the same. The reason is because each dollar may lose 10 cents in value. (The math is a little complex)

What does inflation mean for Trump’s trade war? There is good and bad news. The good news is that Trump could try to deflate the value of the Chinese held US debt. The consequences would be as mentioned above. This method would disallow the Chinese to sell off the debt without losing value. The bad news is that even if the Chinese are forced to keep it, America would have a harder time paying it back. Trump also has to be careful not to print too much money.  The problems that arise can be dangerous for the domestic economy. Money circulation works in a supply and demand curve. If the value of money is too high or too valuable than one can print more bills to help lower it. This is rarely a problem, except when considering exchange rates, imports and exports. If the value of money is too low than one could take money of the supply to help increase its value. So really its a supply/ value curve.

To conclude: Trump’s Trade War is not easily winnable. He obviously has some tools to work with. I also read recently that he is rethinking the Transpacific Trade partnership or TPP. I think its interesting because if the countries currently in the agreement allow Trump re-join and set the rules for trade than it will the US control over trade especially in regard to China. The TPP is a trade agreement that actually just regulates trade in certain industries. Trump withdrew because of global warming clauses and “unfair” regulations.

I can write more on TPP soon because I find it interesting. Also a Syrian Bombing post is coming soon.

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Lesson on Economics: Protectionist vs. Free Trade

I know. I know. I know what your probably saying to yourself. “Not another economics lesson, you nerd!” “Haven’t you already covered everything economics?” Thank you, I am a nerd and also yes I’m thorough in my coverage of topics. I promise I’ll try to not to drone on for 2000 words this time. I need to explain something that President Trump has recently brought up as a potential policy. I don’t think people really understand how import and export tariffs work.

On the surface, in simplest terms a tariff doesn’t sound like a bad thing. A tariff is a tax on a imported or exported good. A tariff can increase of the price of a foreign good to make the domestic goods more “competitive”. Now I put that quotes because the reality is quite different. I think most people would say that there seems to be nothing wrong that. History would even agree that tariffs are a commonly used tool by governments to help guide trading between nations. Here is the problem.

Tariffs are antiquated. The US government used tariffs from its inception thanks to Alexander Hamilton’s brilliant mind to about 1913. After 1913 and in the 105 years since tariffs have fallen out of favor as economic tool. This isn’t to say that no country uses them but the US government only takes about 1-2 percent of its income from tariffs today. Before 1913, the tariff brought in nearly 90 percent of the governments income at its peak.

Economists agree that tariffs hurt an economy. I’ll get to why after I explain that globalization and free trade have changed the world economy. Globalization is the free movement of people, cultural and products. The world is more accessible than ever, with cheap flights to almost anywhere in the world. The internet has an untold wealth of information that was never available til about 25 years ago. We live in a world where everyone is connected. There are multiple free trade agreements between countries that allow a flow of goods and services between them. Free Trade encourages competition in the market. It allows every participant country’s economy to benefit.

Meanwhile, Protectionist economies or countries that use tariffs extensively are actually hinder. The simple explanation through some graphs and pictures. E-tariffntrade2

This graph is basically a supply and demand curve with some with other lines. (Charts reads likes this: As supply goes up, Demand goes down OR As demand goes up, supply goes down). The bold line is the price of goods before the tariff on imports, its label WS. The line above that labeled WS+ Tariff is price of imports after the tariff.  The implication is obvious: A tariff will increase price of an imported good. Here is another chart to show the impact of this:

taxes

This particular chart shows the “Dead weight” or loss of value. This chart reads like this: As quantity goes up, the price goes down.  You can see the supplier has to pay the tariff and therefore it increase the cost to the customer. The loss of value is where the maker increases the price of their product to cover the cost of the tariff. The money is lost because the supplier has to either stick with that supplier or go to another one which obvious wasn’t cheaper before the tariff.

Here’s an example:

Before Tariff:

Company A: Product cost: 25 dollars

Foreign Supplier 1: Material cost: 5 dollars

Domestic Supplier 2 Material cost: 13 dollars

After Tariff:

Company A: Product cost: $25+ $10 tariff = $35

Foreign Supplier 1: Material Cost: $5 + $10 tariff = 15 dollars

Domestic Supplier 2: Material Cost: 13 dollars (No added Tariff)

You can see the dead weight  or loss value. The tariff raises the price of the foreign competitor’s material cost artificially. The extra 10 dollars that it cost to buy from that foreign supplier is lost. This is because the domestic supplier’s cost is 13 dollars compared to the foreign supplier’s 5 dollars before tax. The loss of value is 8 dollars. Therefore the Company A has to raise it prices because its cost have increased.

I’ll put a picture in the preview that help explain even more. (Credit to marketbusinessnews.com)

My conclusion is basically that protectionist policies don’t benefit an economy in the long run. The government is once again interfering in the market where it doesn’t need to be. As usual, the best solution to fix the problem with tariffs is to not have any. We have to take the government out of the market that includes all varies regulations that just raise prices and don’t involve health and safety.

President Trump should tread carefully because the long term implications will be worse than the short term benefits. I think that because of globalization, free trade is the new way to do business. Although the US has historically been a protectionist country, the future is going the exact opposite way. The world economy has undergone globalization and free trade is the new normal.

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Relevant articles on Tariffs,  Historical Tariffs, Economics Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

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!

 

Beating A Dead Horse: Fallacy of Minimum Wage and Rise of Welfare

The topic of minimum wage seems to really boil my blood. I write about it constantly. I don’t know if I can link all the posts its in without making a paragraph of it. In this post, I want to reiterate some of my usual arguments about minimum wage. However, I want to connect two things that are eerily related. Many people who think that McDonald’s and other workers of low skill level jobs need a living wage are the same people who say welfare is necessary because of the low wages. The liberal mission of a living wage is a misguided pipe-dream. The conservative theory that cutting all welfare at once is a solution that also will not work. Ever since the mid 1960s, the United States has been nothing short of obsessed with welfare and minimum wage. We depend it, like a cigarette addict who depends on cigarettes for nicotine. You can try to quit cold turkey or you can say fuck it and smoke more cigarettes because why quit when you’ve already damaged your lungs. I want to present something similar to what the e-cigarette has done for smokers. A new innovative way for the United States to free itself from this trap of living wages and welfare.

Recently, I came across these articles claiming that Minnesota had fix their state economy while Kansas had wrecked it. Minnesota elected a new democratic governor who raised taxes and increased minimum wage and saw a positive effect on the economy. Meanwhile in Kansas, they elected a tea party candidate. The governor of Kansas proceeded to cut four government departments and Medicaid. He cut the department of education and others. He lowered taxes for the rich. Kansas nearly went bankrupt.  It’s interesting that the total population of Kansas and Minnesota is about 7 or 8 million people. Kings County or otherwise known as Brooklyn has 2.6 million people, about same number of people as Kansas. New York City has a total of 8.6 million people as much both of those states combined. Just for some scale. I think when you look at tax plans and government philosophies, you can’t just look at results like “Oh the democratic way is definitely better because of Minnesota and the conservative technique sucks because look at Kansas!”

I believe that you have to take into account how many people are in the state and the unique-ness of that state. Kansas and Minnesota have completely different populations. They have different income per capita. They are in different geographic locations. Now I think that there are flaws with both GOP and Liberal ways of taxation and spending. As a libertarian, I can appreciate what the Kansas governor was trying to do. But he was too hasty, and didn’t have clear alternative that actually worked. I think the flaws with liberal system really tell you all about why minimum wage doesn’t work. The first flaw is that minimum wage can’t possibly help the worker as they claim it will. You have to realize that a minimum or base wage means it’s the least any worker can make. When you raise the base wage that means you raise the production costs of every company in the country, state or county. It affects all businesses. Businesses don’t just pay out wages. They have to pay taxes, regulatory fees, stock, transportation, supplies, retirement. Its bad enough that workers wages already take up to 50 or 60 percent of the profits in most businesses.

The worst effect of rasing minimum wage is felt by small business or franchised businesses. I have worked in franchised businesses for about 6 years now. A franchised is a separately owned business that pays to have the corporations name on it. The corporation sets the rules and standards and the franchisee is responsible for turning a profit. When you raise minimum wage you really hurt any small business or franchisee. I can personally tell you that at some McDonald’s they don’t even make a million dollars in a year. The one I worked at, only made about 500,000 in profit. Minimum wage is a small business killer, it’s not fair. Big corporations don’t care if you raise the minimum wage because they can take it. They are multinational corporations that make millions worldwide. You may say ok but low wages means we need more welfare right?  What we need is to keep the government out of the price setting business. Minimum wage increases the costs of everything. A lower wage would go further because production cost are lower. That is why other countries take our businesses, you can pay their workers less.

I’ll admit that we need some type of welfare. We cannot just cut medicare and Medicaid. We can’t just collapse social security. We need to help anyone who can’t work because of a mental or physical condition. We need to help people save for retirement. We need to support to the unemployed. The question is how to do all that without raising our debt even more. Currently, the welfare system in the United States cost about 700 billion dollars each year. This 700 billion on the taxpayer’s dime, aka you and me. It’s a complex and complicated system with multiple government agencies. The bureaucracy is ridiculous. I have written about basic income before and I strongly recommending read it. In that post about Basic Income, I propose a simple solution to the problem of welfare. Although it may not be as simple as I explain it. My central argument is that if 700 billion is spent on welfare each year then we install a basic income of about 2000 dollars to each resident over 18. The cost is about 500 billion for a basic income. We then replace our current welfare system with this basic income. Obviously there are kinks and certain regulations that would necessary especially when it comes to the unemployed and taxation. In my estimation, I believe that we could save 200 billion a year.

Here is my original post:

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.

My point is that minimum wage doesn’t pull anybody out of poverty and neither does welfare. However, it is necessary to have both because we are a first world country. I believe that our government just doesn’t run anything that efficiently. I think that a ton of money is wasted on government programs that could be done by the private sector. I also believe that basic income is the solution between tea party economics and a full-fledged socialist economy. In beginning I used the analogy of a smoker trying to quit. I believe if keep minimum wage reasonably low, and we install basic income to replace our current welfare system, the United States could start to fix the other problems that plague our nation. I think that both parties and libertarians can get behind this idea. For liberals, it maintains the idea that people should be helped by the government and it would be taxpayer money paying for basic income.  For conservatives and libertarians, it keeps the government reach out of people’s lives. It eliminates a large of chunk of government-run services. It also could help bring our national debt down or pay for other projects.

I hope that this was an informative and though provoking piece. Feel free to research anything I have said. I won’t say that I was right about everything and I left out exact details. However, I think my argument is a viable one that should be considered by everyone.

Thank you for reading!

Illegal Search and Seizure: Finds Fourth Amendment cases.

In my last post which you can read here, I wrote about flag burning and how it is protected by the first amendment. I also mentioned that I love constitutional law and it’s because of my affinity I am back with another Supreme Court related post. The nitty-gritty of the constitution really excites me. Don’t ask me if that is good or bad because I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that I think constitutional law is rarely considered in every day conversation unless you are a lawyer, judge, paralegal or politician. So I am hoping to make it a topic of interest. Today I want to present to you the fourth amendment. I find the fourth amendment to be an interesting one. It becomes especially interesting in the light of protests against police violence. Before I introduce the two cases which I believe every citizen needs to know about; I want to (hopefully) re-introduce the fourth amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The fourth amendment sounds pretty straightforward. It’s wording is less vague than some of the other amendments. The amendment covers two main areas in criminal law, search and seizure. The problem with the amendment is that since 1789, the technology boom has dramatically changed the meaning of search and seizure as it pertains to the constitution. The video camera’s evolution from a huge solid brick on someones shoulder to something microscopic enough to fit in a phone that goes in your pocket. The constant stream of live video has forever altered the fourth amendment. I believe that like the first amendment, the fourth amendment protects some necessary rights even if those rights lead to objectionable or even offensive things.

With that being said, this post sets out to define two baseline Supreme Court cases that have been heard by the Supreme Court. I think the best way to understand Supreme Court cases and constitutional law is to actually look at and try to analyze the court cases. I believe it gives you a much deeper understanding of the law. I’m a firm believer that hearing two sides or more of an argument can be helpful in educating a person on any given subject. This post and others like it, are for me a test of my own knowledge. Like I said before I had only one class of constitutional law. I never took criminal justice or law classes. However, I do have a pretty good understanding because I have self-educated on this subject. Rare I know. So I’d like to present the two cases of Mapp vs. Ohio and Weeks vs. United States.

I want to start with Weeks vs. the United States which handed their decision in 1914. The Weeks case holds origin of the Exclusionary Rule which I will explain after this. In this case, the Court had to decide this basic question about the fourth amendment: What use can be made of evidence gained in an illegal search? This was one of many questions but it is the most important. The Court was seeking to use the fourth amendment as protection. This case was about a man who was arrested and brought to trial on evidence obtained illegally. You can read all the background here. The Court decided that Weeks who had his office and home searched without a warrant was unfairly tried. The Court overturned Weeks’ case because of the evidence was gained by illegal which means obtain without a warrant.

The most important opinion from the Weeks v. United States is one delivered by Justice Day who writes that “illegally gained evidence “fruit of the poison tree” and ordered that illegally gained evidence be excluded in the future from any federal court.” The court decided unanimously to overturned the case and establish an important constitutional law called the Exclusionary Rule. The Exclusionary rule as set by the Week’s case says that in federal court, any evidence obtained without a warrant is inadimissible in court. The Exclusionary Rule protects people from illegal searches. This is exactly what the court set out to do. The Supreme Court wasn’t done with the Exclusionary as some years later another case came along called Mapp vs. Ohio. The Mapp case would expand the rule even further.

The Mapp vs. Ohio came to the Supreme Court in 1961. It was a decision that cited Weeks vs. United States as a precedent. It also expanded the Exclusionary Rule to the state courts as well as the federal courts. You can read the background of the case right here. The court decided in a 5-4 vote that the evidence against Mapp was obtained illegally or without a warrant. It was a different set of cirumstances than Weeks however, it applied to the same constitutional fourth amendment rights. Justice Clark gave this conclusion near the end of his opinion. It will sum up the case in better terms than I could put it myself.

Having once recognized that the right to privacy embodied in the Fourth Amendment is enforceable against the States, and that the right to be secure against rude invasions of privacy by state officers is, therefore, constitutional in origin, we can no longer permit that right to remain an empty promise. Because it is enforceable in the same manner and to like effect as other basic rights secured by the Due Process Clause, we can no longer permit it to be revocable at the whim of any police officer who, in the name of law enforcement itself, chooses to suspend its enjoyment. Our decision, founded on reason and truth, gives to the individual no more than that which the Constitution guarantees him, to the police officer no less than that to which honest law enforcement is entitled, and, to the courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the true administration of justice.

I believe that the fourth amendment is even important today. I know that these cases are now very old. The Weeks vs. United States case was decided over 100 years ago. The Mapp vs. Ohio case was decided nearly 55 years ago. But I think that Court need to make a general rule especially considering the ever expanding technology boom. The Exclusionary Rule will protect people from being tried on illegally obtain evidence. I think that alone ensures a fair trial. Not to mention all the other rights that guarentee a fair trial.

Of course, unless you have committed a crime there’s not much applicable to this amendment. However, I do find interesting with the NSA and the spying on everyday citizens. One has to think that some day there will be case filled against the federal government for spying and violating the fourth amendment. That isn’t say that it won’t happen  but I believe there probably are few cases making their way. It would be ground breaking if the court ruled on a decision that made the government’s spying on people without a warrant or reason illegal. I don’t know of any cases of people actually being tried for potential crimes based on the NSA spying. But I imagine one of the defenses would be the fourth amendment.

To wrap up this blog post, I just want to say that its important to know your constitutional rights because you never know when you might need them. This is also part of the reason why I write about them. I realize its not the most exhilrating subject. I hope you enjoyed this, there will definitely be more coming soon!

Thank You!