Friday, October 18, 2013

Things that bug me lately

The following is not an essay, it is a list of gripes supported by my own research and reading. Feel free to disagree, but do not take the following as arguments in and of themselves, or their permanence in my brain. Sometimes we just need to let loose. That's this.

So, things that bug me lately:

Argument by history. The Constitution is a living document and "government for the people, of the people, and by the people" tends to favor the living voice. An argument cannot stand purely on the backs of our forefathers who held many and varied positions. Some of them quite terrible in a modern setting; things like: slavery is good for the economy, Britain sucks, the Spanish and French can fund our war, women shouldn't vote, quartering troops in civilian homes is going to be a big issue, central banking will never catch-on, the gold standard is forever, and Canada might like to be a state.

Gun debates. Or the failure to even have them. Look, the proposals set out, be they large or small, would do many things to address gun violence without unduly curbing our liberties. I have the numbers to back it up, a great big list. Or let me put it this way, if the proposals thus far are so obviously unconstitutional then you could be assured that the laws would fail in the courts, right? Especially the conservative majority Supreme Court. But from a legal perspective the arguments used are esoteric and off-topic to say the least. The 'self-evident' argument is problematic because it isn't at all, leaving a pragmatic policy fight that has the numbers stacked against current gun policy. Gun control--more of it along with better enforcement--is totally reasonable.

Poverty. We just cut food stamps by $40 billion. Why? Unclear. Even if you allow for unreasonably large amounts of fraud in the system, it is still a vital service to the poor. We could pretend that 50% of cases are fraudulent ($20 billion) and we still wouldn't be looking at the same amount spent 'legitimately' in a military context that could be considered unnecessary. Period. And that's not including the dubious choice to saddle ourselves with the costs of the Iraq war, which had a minimal cost-benefit ratio.

Government shutdowns. Ridiculous. Don't hold the government hostage over a Red Herring. What's that? Attempts to repeal Obamacare have been rebuffed over 40 times? It is not technically or philosophically democratic to force unrelated things to be voted on at the same time as another item. Besides the political grenade is going to blow up in Republicans' faces anyway--at least according to polls. It's unnecessary brinkmanship.

Obamacare haters. It's not going to benefit everyone. No law can. But it's certainly better than our current system. I have already checked with my provider and I'm getting some major benefits. As someone who can barely afford healthcare now, I am stoked. Also, don't make me defend the law. Remember, the Republicans effectively got their original proposal AND voted against it. The Dems took the political hit while also being stuck defending it. It's a middle right law. I would have wanted single-payer coverage, but apparently our fears of socialism outweigh my need to be economically stable and physically healthy.

Syria. We avoided war. Why is that bad? Look, we would effectively be a third side in the current conflict because the rebels are extreme and Assad is a jerk. So we would be left with the unsavory position of an extended occupation as well as ANOTHER nation-building exercise. We can't afford it, especially if the Tea Party gets their wish of a shut-down government. I definitely don't want more dying people, but our guns and ammo are poor diplomatic tools in this fight.

Vaccine alarmists. The doctor was stripped of his medical license the study was so bad. Vaccinate your children.

Global warming deniers. It's happening and continuing to deny it is hurting our disaster preparedness.

Evolution deniers. It's real. 100% and we can prove it.

The 49ers. Come on. What a disappointing season opener.

Some other things to remember. Gold will decline as the economy gets stronger. Americans are buying more American debt--not the Chinese (who are selling it BTW). Rampant inflation has failed to occur since 2007, the Fed's Quantitative Easing is great, but real fiscal policy would be better. The 1% continue to gain wealth as a percentage of the economy--further squeezing out the rest of Americans, especially the lowest earning 2/5ths. It is a fallacy to argue in the negative (example: you can't prove unicorns don't exist, therefore unicorns do exist and anti-unicorn fences must be constructed).

Thursday, October 17, 2013