Guaranteed Basic Income

February 16, 2017

Guaranteed Basic Income is becoming a popular topic of conversation in the news.  It is the idea that everyone, regardless of what he or she is doing (working, unemployed, etc.) is given a basic salary, just for breathing air.  The idea is that this system could replace our broken welfare system and cut out some of the overhead associated with fraud detection, and perhaps get more money to people who need it the most.

It doesn’t take a lot to see how this is just another socialist scheme.  Where does this money come from?  The government, through your taxes.  Before, we had to give the benefit of the doubt to welfare recipients, and assume that they were working or trying to find work.  Under Guaranteed Basic Income, no such assumption can be made.  You can literally be taxed to support those who do NOTHING.

Some of the smartest advocates of Guaranteed Basic Income argue that automation, not foreign competition has taken away jobs.  True, many of the manufacturing job s that have been lost over the last few years will never come back, as a machine is performing the task.  These same people argue that nearly half of all people risk losing their jobs to machines in the next ten years.  It sounds like we will all be at risk for being unemployed, and had better come up with a plan.

There are two flaws in this logic.

First, consumer goods can only sell for the price that someone is willing to pay for them.  If the entire nation is unemployed, there will be no purchasing of consumer goods, and the prices will drop. Under this doomsday scenario, eventually, people will have to produce their own goods, or at some point, it will be cheaper to hire labor again than to invest in machinery.  At least under the free market.

Also, the assumption that all things will be created entirely by machine, and, that there is nothing left to create.  The flaw is that human beings are creative, and machines are only as creative as their programmer allows.  If people have creaed machines to handle their mundane tasks, it frees up more time to be creative and invent even newer things.  Once the production of that new idea has been automated, they can move onto something else.

A guaranteed basic income’s only actual purpose is to allow folks to do nothing except consume resources, and somehow collect a paycheck.

The State of Education

February 10, 2017

At the local, state and federal levels, I think everyone in education is freaking out over the new president.  Between the executive orders and the budget cuts, the fear is that many programs are on the chopping block.

There are so many little grants to help the students, and some of them actually do.
Some of the programs benefit students, but is that important?

It is a little calloused, I realize, but I have been watching the waste in the schools for some time.  One school buys all of the students back packs filled with school supplies each school year.  At first glance, this seems like a great idea.  Students who may come from financially disadvantaged homes will now have school supplies at no cost. Yet, by week 2, the pencils are all broken, the paper turned to spit wads, and the  calculators missing.  The backpacks end up being left in the hallways.  By week 3, it’s all gone.

I have been a tutor for quite some time.  As a tutor, I can hep the students on their math homework.  Instead, most kids don’t bother to ask for help.  They don’t keep their old tests to study what was missed, they often skip their homework.

The best thing about these budget cuts is that students will have to learn to be more independent and responsible for their own education.

Students will have to keep track of their pencil, or they won’t have one.  Students will need to learn to take advantage of the opportunities they get- as they will have fewer of them.

 

Lone Survivor

February 3, 2017

I just finished reading Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson.  This is a first person account of Operation Redwing, the deadliest of Navy SEAL operations, where 19 SEALs were killed.

Luttrell tells of trying to stay alive in a hostile country, while wounded, with no hope of rescue.  When you think you are having a bad day, read about his time in Afganistan.

The book is very well written; you feel alone as you read about his struggles.  There is no where to go, but staying where he was was not safe, either.

He also comments about his philosophy on war and what problems there are with the way we fight wars today.  He says we don’t fight them anymore.  He says that we are in a place where SEALs are afraid, not of the enemy, but of being tried as war criminals for doing their jobs.  In a confusing place, such as a war zone, is the teenager running towards you a threat or not?   You don’t have long to decide.

I highly recommend this book.

Thank you for reading my post.

Censorship and the 1st Amendment

January 27, 2017

As many of you have heard, President Donald Trump wrote Executive Orders to keep the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and several other organizations from making press releases and social media posts.

Many on the left are calling this censorship and a violation of free speech.  Neither of these is true.

Basically, one part of the government has told another part of the government to shut up.  That’s it.  It is no different than what they’ve told folks with a security clearance for years.

Censorship is the act of a government forbidding its citizens from speaking freely.  Like, say, this.

It isn’t a war on science, either.  You can still get these articles from peer-reviwed sources, same as always.  The only difference is that, for the time being, people working for the federal government cannot publish press releases designed to alarm citizens in an effort to get more funding.

As a scientist/engineer, I am sick of seeing awful science published in regular media outlets.   So many of the press releases are done so poorly, they can hardly be called science.  From CNN articles about hurricanes in the Dakotas and blaming every weather disaster on climate change to exaggerated claims about new technological advances, the real science is not featured.

In the end, I really don’t care if the government can’t toot its own horn any more and exaggerate its contributions to science.  How many climate scientists believe in climate change?  How much funding would they receive if they disagreed?  How much would they receive if anthropological climate change wasn’t blamed every time the wind blew?

This isn’t to say that climate change isn’t happening or that government funded research hasn’t led to great discoveries.

I’m done ranting for the evening.  Thank you for reading my post.

Inauguration

January 20, 2017

I have no idea what to make of the next four years.  All I know is that this has been the ugliest election cycle I have ever seen.  I can’t bear to go on Facebook and see
what my friends have to say about each other.

Everyone is so wound up and hostile towards each other.

I don’t know what is next.

EpiPen Controversy

December 16, 2016

I will preface this post by saying that I have not actually kept up with this controversy at all.  I know that the prices of EpiPens went up significantly and that the CEO was brought before a congressional hearing over the matter.

Here is the link to the CEO’s testimony.  What strikes me about this is that she actually apologizes for the high cost, and clarifies that the company makes only a fraction of the cost as a profit.

How dare them make any profit?  After all, their company only developed a reliable, safe method for dealing with severe allergies- something that killed around 1500 people annually.  That’s nothing, right?  They should give it away, after investing all of the time and money into research, development, testing, marketing and patenting this.

You can also watch the video here.  What is interesting about this is the CEO says they will make a generic; they get more of the profit (versus the named product), but the price will cut in half.  Congress Critter Chaffetz complains that the company is going to make a mere $25 extra profit, even though the consumer will pay HALF AS MUCH.  This proves that this entire fiasco was more about CEO pay than it was about any sort of humanitarian effort.

This video is also infuriating.  Congress Critter Watson gets all uppity about the CEO using a company jet.  *GASP*

Finally, this article sums up this entire witch hunt.  Congress Critter Norton asks, “What have you done to earn this 671% [compensation] increase?”

Well, for starters, she runs a company that saves lives every day.  What is it you do, Congress Critter Norton, besides stand in the way?  What do YOU do to earn your pay?

 

Not Much To Say

November 18, 2016

We dodged a huge problem by keeping Hillary out of office.  I was hoping that the American people  would stand against her brand of socialism.

Let’s now hope we didn’t just elect a different brand of socialism instead.

Thank you for reading my post.

Why Baseball is Awesome

November 4, 2016

Baseball is a great sport.  I enjoyed the last game of the World Series, even though my team lost.

The neat part about baseball is while you are on defense, you learn the power of teamwork towards a common goal.  However, defense doesn’t win the game by itself.

Once on offense, you must stand alone, against nine defensive players. Nobody can help you.

It is the ultimate combination between teamwork and individual achievement.

Thank you for reading my post.

When You Can’t Say Something Nice…

October 21, 2016

I dislike both candidates.  And I think deep down, we all do in some ways.  I could write yet another article on how awful either candidate is and how anyone who votes for either of them is a terrible person.  We’ve run out of negative things to say- we have called Clinton a compulsive liar (which is likely true) and called Trump “Hitler” (not quite accurate).  We’ve defriended longtime friends and sworn off speaking to relatives over it.

I’m done with it all.  They are neither one a great choice.  Trump’s “Stop and Frisk” is a gross violation of freedom and his wall is a financial disaster in the making.  Clinton’s socialist policies, shady track record of associates, and anti-gun statements make me want to puke.

Instead of writing another article about it, I will instead answer the debate question that they both sucked at answering.  “What is one thing you admire about the other candidate?”

Trump:   Trump has a certain financial genius.  He borrowed his father’s money and turned it into more money.  Plenty of folks think this was an easy task, and yet there are thousands of lottery winners, and probably millions of folks with large inheritances, and yet, we don’t have millions of Donald Trumps.

Trump also appears unfazed by public opinion.  On one hand you want someone who speaks for the will of the people- but you also want someone who does what is right in any situation, versus someone who bends to whatever popular whim is en vogue at the time.

Both of these qualities are things I’d like to see in a president.

Clinton:  Clinton is tough.  Tough as nails.  This woman went from being first lady, to woman scorned, to thrown under the bus by the press and Obama, only to stand back up and fight again.  Plenty of folks would slip away into a quiet retirement after finding out that their significant other cheated on them with an intern.  Instead, Clinton played on.  When she ran for president in the 2008 primaries, the media and Obama (who was a virtual nobody) had nothing nice to say.  I figured here career was over after she was stepped over for the 2008 Democratic Nominee.  Instead, she dusted herself off, accepted the Secretary of State position with no hard feelings and now runs for president, in spite of it all.

In a world where terrorist acts are becoming the norm, rather than the exception, we do need a leader who is in the fight for the long haul. One who won’t give up when things get tough, and Clinton is certainly tough.

Anyway, both candidates are abominable. I dislike Trump slightly less than Clinton.  I just thought it was time someone had something nice to say about people they didn’t like for a change.

You may resume your circus- er um, debates.

Lousy Comedians

October 14, 2016

I went to a comedy night tonight, supposedly the best female comedian in New York.

I found her dull.

I’m not one to be offended, though she tried her best.  Every other word was “f” this or that.  All of her jokes were predictable and racist.  I’m not offended- it just wasn’t funny.

This comedian relied on 1) using foul language in the same way a 10 year old does when he’s learned a new naughty word, 2) constantly plugging that she’s doing a movie with Robert DeNiro, and 3) constantly referring to herself as funny, and people who don’t laugh as up tight and scared to laugh.

This comedian is unimportant, but perhaps a sign of what has become of the art of comedy.  As well respected of a comedian as this person is, it goes to show that comedy is pretty much some shock value nonsense and worn out jokes.

Anyway, I am not going to work through all of the philosophy of this, but I am tired from from a mediocre performace.

Thank you for reading my post.