It looks like a slow night at work, so I
Allow me to introduce myself.
I am a renowned world-traveller, writer, bon-vivant and some-time critic of the Taiwan scene. My talents are well recognised among Taiwan’s expatriate community. Coming from the midwest, I have developed a passion for the good-life that many envy but few can match.
Armed only with my good looks, quick wit and penchant for detail (particularly when it comes to the selection of good food, good wine and good company) I have set out to conquer the world.
Even though I lead an envious lifestyle, my conscience leads me to donate a large portion of my personal fortune and assets to the Democratic Party.
Contradiction? I think not.
While my lifestyle may lead some to believe I am without excogiative compassion for my fellow man, in my spare time I’ve been known as a champion for marginalized peoples regardless of IQ (and other factors).
If only all civilized people had my tenets, the world would be a better place.
Thanks for the detailed response. It is much more interesting and helpful when the premises behind people’s positions are revealed. Makes for a more fruitful discussion and I appreciate your effort.
First, regarding the inflation link to minimum wage, I personally have never heard that argued as a factor AGAINST minimum wages. Again, I would strongly stress the link to raising costs to the small mom and pop shop owner who does not benefit from the economies of scale that a large corporation like Starbuck’s does. In fact, it is somewhat ironic in my view that so many anti-corporatists who scream about Starbuck’s taking over the neighborhood coffee shop or Barnes and Noble taking over the local bookstore fail to realize that the costs of providing health insurance and social security contributions etc for such places of business are a major reason why so many are going out of business.
Also, while “liberals” have been very concerned about protecting jobs, the end result of their actions if far more costly than they imagine. Take a look at the decline of the one of the world’s largest ports “Liverpool.” To a large extent, this was due to very strong labor unions which would not allow mechanization or other forms of efficiency because it would result in job losses. The result, a gradual decline and then total replacement (or displacement) of Liverpool as a port when rivals set up container shipping facilities on the southeast coast of England. ALL the jobs were eventually lost and the port would have a very hard time regaining its former pre-eminent role even if it benefited from enlightened management over 20 years. The “cluster” of industries and businesses that fed off and fed into it are simply gone as well.
As to the conservatives being against progress for workers or “progressive” initiatives, I would say that perhaps you have spent too much time listening to one side of this debate. That is like Republicans saying they are the only ones who have morals and care about “God.”
Take family farms, many of the children work and are expected to work hard. Is this child labor or inculcating the right kind of values? Should children be allowed to have part time jobs after school when they are 14 or 15? Where do you draw the line here. I personally have no problem with child labor as long as it does not affect the education of the child in question. What is wrong with mowing lawns or cleaning garages or having a newspaper route? So there is child labor and then there is child labor. Also, for Third World nations, I would question whether this can be avoided entirely. Seems like a lot of good intentions from some very well meaning people who fail to take into account that many of these families simply do not have the luxury or state-sponsored benefits to enable them to allow their children to remain at home doing nothing. The issue is a complex one and should not be oversimplified to this extent.
As to the threat of rogue nations, I would say the threat is hardly exaggerated. Otherwise, why would nations such as Japan and South Korea and to a large extent Russia and China be fretting so much over North Korea developing nuclear weapons. It has never been a question of North Korea defending itself against anyone. Rather it has been about North Korea’s threats of violence to extort money from its neighbors. Really, there is very little difference in my opinion between Pyongyang and some local tough who goes around collecting protection money every month.
As to the other issues, I will beg off since those were not my primary area of interest. I will refer you back to coldfront on those.
Vay, that’s a very considered response and I will be responding to it within the next couple of days.
In that case, would you kindly donate your 4 guanxi points to me? I’m an IQ-challenged, oppressed prol whose only wish in life is to be able to buy a cool Avatar…
Great post. Have some guanxi from me! Don’t spend it all on one thing
Sweet - thanks!
Somebody whose name I can’t remember once said
Unless I’m mistaken, once you buy the right to have an avatar, you can change the same at your whim…
[quote]shooting my mouth off without having some inkling of what I was talking about!
Don’t worry about that Vay. The regulars do shoot their mouths constantly, though they attempt to appear as if they have far more than an incling of knowldege. They also demonise those in disagreement and label them as “lefties, pinkos etc.” and other such sparrow-necked attemps at thuggery.
I enjoyed reading your post and it is always interesting to see how those seduced by laissez-faire economics fail to see the long-term effects of such policies. Given that many of the posters demonstrate individualistic traits, this is hardly surprising.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (commie, pinkos, eh?)
PS. If the United States’ “intelligence” knew that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the United States would never have set foot in Iraq.
There was no such danger from Iraq. Bush and his cronies participated in “soft deception” (AKA: Lies). So when Tigerman so rightly claims, “Bush never said that the threat was imminent,” he is so so correct, but he fails to tell the whole story: the administration certainly implied that there was a threat to the extent that Joe Bloggs in the United States and the grunts sent over to Iraq believed it.
What a sly fox!
[quote=“Big Dunc”]So when Tigerman so rightly claims, “Bush never said that the threat was imminent,” he is so so correct, but he fails to tell the whole story: the administration certainly implied that there was a threat to the extent that Joe Bloggs in the United States believed it.
What a sly fox![/quote]
I thought Bush is stupid? Which is it… is he a “sly fox” or an “idiot”?
You can infer anything you want. I’ll stick to what has actually been stated.
I guess the answer to that question would be similar to answering the question:
Do the neocons seek to remove despots or support despots?
Sorry for the delay in responding. Part of the reason I’ve been late in replying to your post is that you’ve thrown quite a few different topics out for discussion. Your most fundamental belief is, of course, Republican doublespeak, but to support this general notion, you’ve brought up the minimum wage, the appropriate level of taxes on the rich, WMD, air pollution, oil drilling, and international treaties. For clarity’s sake, I suggest we discuss these topics one at a time or else this thread will lapse into incoherence.
You first bring up the minimum wage as proof of Republican doublespeak. This is an odd tack to take. Republicans today aren’t looking to do away with the minimum wage nor have they been for some time. Its abolishment is more of a Libertarian or intellectual fringe conceit than Republican policy. To the best of my knowledge, the Bush administration hasn’t even mentioned the minimum wage since taking office. Nor is the minimum wage mentioned in the Republican platform for 2000. Plainly, if you are going to accuse someone of doublespeak on an issue, you need to first provide proof they are – at the very least – speaking out on it.
Perhaps the abolishment of the minimum wage should be Republican policy. There are good reasons for thinking it significantly adds to unemployment in some key demographic groups. But for most U.S. workers, it’s simply irrelevant. More than 95% of all workers earn more than the minimum wage. And among those who work at full-time jobs on the minimum wage supporting families as the primary wage-earner, it’s less than 1%. Most people who work at minimum wage jobs are either temporary workers, students, or part-time employees looking to supplement their incomes rather than support famillies. In any case, states and cities can, and sometimes do, enact minimum wages that are higher than the federal minimum wage.
I’m bringing this thread back from the dead for two reasons. One is to try to get more people to read it than originally did prior to the upcoming election. The other is to add a little post-script.
But first, I should guiltily respond to Fred Smith and Cold Front’s rejoinders. I haven’t done that previously because, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a flagrant perpetrator of a major discussion forum faux paus: I put up big, imflammatory posts, and then don’t bother to participate in the follow up discussion. I rationalize this behavior by saying that political debate is to opinion-forming as gum chewing is to digestion, or as masturbation is to procreation. If that made sense to no one but me, what I mean is that the act would seem to lead to the desired end, but never actually gets you there.
Actually, although this is a rationalization, I pretty much believe it. To be frank, as far as I’ve noticed, I’m the only one on here who’s ever actually admitted having had his/her opinion changed by hearing an opposing argument, and that’s probably just because I’m an intellectual pussy!
On the other hand, you’re also free to infer that the real reason for my insidious and slovenly behavior is that I’m too craven to defend my own intellectual positions (but I’ve already beaten you to the punch on that one, since I just called myself an intellectual pussy!) - or perhaps I’m just tacitly admitting defeat. As you like. (Incidentally, you’re also free to infer that I’m pretty self-obsessed to be writing so much on this topic, as if it mattered to anyone but me!)
Oh, I was going to respond. Ok, Fred, on the topic of “child labor”: just so you know, when I was 12, I complained to my dad that my $3 a week allowance was chincy compared to that of my friends (especially since unlike most of them I had to do household chores like picking our 12 orange trees and juicing the resulting 30-odd bags of oranges.) His response was, “Well, if that’s how you feel, it’s about time to supplement your meager income by getting a job.” And I’ve been working ever since. What’s more, if I ever have kids, I’ll probably do the same to them!
To Cold Front: sorry if I over-generalized the Republic position on minimum wages. Quite frankly, before I wrote that rant I had just been looking through a conservative website I had linked to through a Libertarian website. I’m sorry I can’t identify the site, but it’s an honest memory lapse - all I can say is they had some sort of eaglish symbol at the top of their homepage, a quote from Adam Smith, and these little bullet URLs that said, “Fact:” and then some political opinion. The bullet that got me fired up was, surprise surprise, the one that read, “Fact: Minimum wages are bad for workers.” Therein was an essay which outlined the argument I subsequently attacked in my above post. Regardless, in retrospect I think the section I wrote on taxation and social spending was the better part of my original post!
Now to my original purpose, which was to write a post-script regarding Republican Doublespeak. (That is, after all, the topic of this thread!) Well, killing time in an airport recently, I browsed through The Way Things Out to Be by Mr. Limbaugh. Numerous times in this text, he asserts to his “dear readers” that the “common sense” expressed in his book will prevail. Common sense? Talk about trying to make something true simply by repeating it! There’s your ultimate example of doublespeak
Regarding your statistics on wealth…
The study and figures you have given are somewhat disingenuous. First, your parents probably have more wealth than you mostly in the form of a paid off house and retirement, stocks etc while you do not. Therefore under this study, you would be unfairly poor while your parents who have worked and saved for 40 years would be unfairly wealthy even though they have to support themselves during their retirement no? So go back to the drawing board once again and realize that there is far more to these issues than meets the eye.
Err… no. Iinflation pretty much depends on what the monetary authorities do. The minimum wage has just about no relevance to the issue.
(So, its a waste of time listing those figures, 'cos the main determinant is what the FED was doing, not what happened to the minimum wage)
You mean JOB LOSSES. The theory is that there is a market-clearing wage. If the minimum is set above this wage, people will be unwilling to hire workers at the new higher wage.
Most studies suggest there is an effect - but at low levels, a minumum wage doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on overall employment. And again, when you are looking at the overall level of employment in the economy as a whole, monetary policy will have a much bigger impact, so your empirical work is unusable. (Nevertheless, the minimum wage can cause hardship in those forced out of the lowest-paying jobs. And often they decide to give up looking for an official job and fall out of the statistics altogether. its fraught with measurement problems.)
this next bit is starting to sound daft:
You suggest that we can create an economic boom by simply raising wages?
You forget that if you raise my wages you raise my income, but you also raise someone else’s cost!
you might also pay a little attention to the literature on business cycles that suggests that “sticky” wage levels, i.e., wages that do not fall quickly enough during slack demand, are a major irritant in recessions. Too high a minimum wage might also impact the economy’s flexibility.
(And by the way, the economic boom in the 60s was caused by technology - one example, aircraft. The Boeing 747 hasn’t really changed so much since then…)
Been a long time and I’ve been way too busy to do anything but scan the (obviously) well thought out responses to Vay’s thread.
Please allow me the indulgence to drop something from George Soros.
[quote]Soros, a Hungarian emigre to the US, concedes that he is open to such accusations. "I can be seen as a traitor to my class and my adopted country, but I am proud to take that role. I think there are values which transcend class and country. I think my country can be wrong and that’s the value of an open society and that is the value which has made America great.
"I do think the open society and democracy is now in danger because the ultimate guarantor of an open society is a well-informed electorate that has a commitment to or values the truth.
"We now have a largely or partially misinformed electorate. But more to the point is that people are not concerned about the truth. In America, success counts more than the truth.
“You can see it in the [most recent] stockmarket bubble where entrepreneurs and various professionals used whatever means were needed to be successful. It got off the rails there, but that bubble did burst and you now have a lot of new regulations about corporate disclosure. But in the political area it reigns unconstrained and hasn’t burst.”[/quote]
Oddly I know little of the man other than him once trying to bring down the Malaysian Ringgit for some reason, but I do like what he says in this article.
Bestest to all.
PS: I’m packing the bags. Honkers and a new job next week. My wife will remain here so I’ll be back regularly enough.
Yes. I think many people can agree with this.
Translation: I do think the open society and democracy is now in danger because the ultimate guarantor of an open society is a well-informed electorate that has a commitment to or values the same truth that I value.
Yawn… the US electorate is not significantly, if at all, more or less misinformed now than it was when Clinton was elected, or when Bush 1 was elected, or when Reagan was elected… etc… What he’s pissed about is that not everyone agrees with his “truth”.
So we can visit you in HK, eh?
I wish you the best with the new job.
Here is a site that you might find useful:
i wonder if any of the liberals who are always talking about how bush is bought and paid for by oil companies has said a peep about one person trying to personally buy the election himself.
i admire the guy and his accomplishments and i have no problem with him spending that kind of money though i don’t share his opinions. as long as you know who’s funding the ad, i think it’s free speech.
what strikes me is the lack of any outcry from the class warfare crowd about a rich person(someone who has been blamed, i would say unfairly, for singlehandedly screwing up 3rd world economies with currency manipulation) who buys so much influence.
then again, consistency has never really been a strong point of the nobless oblige crowd.
It amazes me when I read comments such as “Yawn” in response to comments made by a gentleman famous for having made $1bn by betting on the devaluation of the pound sterling in 1992. And almost bringing the Bank of England to its knees.
I, for one, agree with many of his points. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was introduced to counter the very things Soros discusses as problematic in a laissez-faire economy gone wild. Astonishing level of arrogance by dimissing his comments as “yawn.”
Of the many American’s I have met both in my travels and over there, I would say that the U.S. electorate is far more misinformed rather than being equally misinformed as Tigerman asserts – or in other words, patriotically deluded.