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Thread: The US fragile democracy Exposed

  1. #481
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    You don't have to be very far out of date to be totally wrong in this area. Ten years, or so, back, there were articles in...either Scientific American or Popular Science, about how this level of wind generation would take several decades, and might not be realistic this century.

    Predicting the future is difficult.
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  2. #482
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by NeedSomeAnswers View Post
    I so I have read some of the report you posted and what you have managed to do is take 1 graph out of context.
    Er, that's exactly what you have done. I showed the total energy production from low-carbon sources while you cherrypicked.

    An economy does not run on electricity alone. The UK remans a big smokestack.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    I don't really have an ox to gore any more, and very little axe to grind.

    Now that it has become clear that the die has been cast, and the fact that I've been retired nearly 10 years, politics is dying down to the drone of a mosquito somewhere in the room. I just won't be around in another 40 years when neoliberalism rises up again.

    If there is any doubt about the course we are on, just look around you. Even people in places like India are pushing back:



    So feel free to live in denial while it lasts. But when change finally bursts your bubble just remember you were given a glimpse of the future.

  4. #484
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    If your predictions come to pass, I'll console myself by reviewing your predictions about the demise of .NET with each new version of VS, and realize that your crystal ball was no better than that of anybody else.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Hmm? I admitted I've been wrong. I've ceased worrying about the damage Biden can do, at least the scale of that damage.

  6. #486
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Er, that's exactly what you have done. I showed the total energy production from low-carbon sources while you cherrypicked.

    An economy does not run on electricity alone. The UK remains a big smokestack.
    Err wow your negativity knows no bounds, as does your ability to ignore reality and ignore trends.

    Low carbon power sources are new and have faced fierce opposition from vested interest, it is only really in the last few years as they evolved enough that power produced by wind for instance is now cheaper to add to the grid than coal or gas that there is a big push to add real capacity to the grid.

    Within the next 10 years we will see a big shift again, especially as more and more countries ban the production of new petrol cars.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    The sun was in your eyes, the ground was wet, the gods were angry, Russia did it, etc. But you actually won if you squint just so and besides you'll get 'em next season!

  8. #488
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    It all could change radically. Energy storage is probably the biggest problem facing the sector these days, but it is a problem that has a variety of solutions on the horizon, some better some worse. Batteries are the obvious one, but they probably have a larger negative impact (due to the mining and manufacturing required to make them) than some of the others. Pumped hydro is relatively benign, but can only be used in certain places. The same is true with pumped air. More interesting options are being developed, such as hot sand and perhaps flywheels. We'll see.

    There are also new technologies that are on the horizon. Solar cells are not terribly efficient, and have stayed that way for a long time. In the case of fusion, it may always be ten years out because it isn't clear that it ever COULD work in a contained area, but in the case of solar, it is abundantly clear that more efficient solar collecting is possible. Partly, it is clear because it has been thoroughly demonstrated, and not just in laboratories. Plants are more efficient and thoroughly biodegradable, so our solar cells are certainly not the pinnacle of development. What happens going forwards? We'll see.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Tesla Supercharger:


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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    It seems like a no brainer to me. Energy sources like gas and coal are going to run out, so renewable energy source have to be developed. These types of things take many years so to we can't just wait to the bitter end of the gas/coal supply. It would cause a complete collapse, frightening to even think it. So to me the fact that at this time renewable energy is probably more expensive is just and investment for the future. The great thing about starting the conversion now is we have gas/coal in abundant enough supply that we wont have to worry about shortages or horrendous price hikes during the conversion. Plus we can do it in such a way is to improve the environmental effects.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Long-term projections predict that the growth rate of the human population of this planet will continue to decline, and that by the end of the 21st Century, will reach zero.
    Population decline

  12. #492

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Population growth RATE is declining, not the population. World population is still growing. But what's your point anyway.

  13. #493
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Weirdly, population decline would actually be beneficial at this point.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter - Winston Churchill

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by wes4dbt View Post
    Population growth RATE is declining, not the population. World population is still growing. But what's your point anyway.
    Our problems are less easily managed by making wishes than by making a smaller dent in the available resources. Without getting population growth in hand we'd be in a serious death spiral.

    So sure, maybe we'll develop better answers for energy acquisition, waste disposal, food production, etc. but one thing that seems to be going our way is a cap on requirements by slowing our growth. We can also aid the process through conservation. Buy less crap, demand long-lived repairable goods with minimal packaging, waste less fuel and electricity, produce foods locally using cleaner methods, etc.

  15. #495
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by wes4dbt View Post
    Population growth RATE is declining, not the population. World population is still growing. But what's your point anyway.
    That sort of true, and sort of not true. Population growth rate has to be above replacement (about 2.1 or 2.2 children/woman) for the population to keep increasing. The growth rate is below replacement in an increasing number of countries. Population is still increasing, for now, but unless something changes drastically, population will begin to fall, as well, pretty soon.
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  16. #496
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    It all could change radically.
    It is changing radically right now, but changes in energy production is a relatively slow-moving process it takes years for these new sources of generations to overtake the old ones.
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  17. #497
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    I agree that it's changing radically but I do fear that we're too late. I don't think any of us can know until we REALLY know so I don' t see that as an excuse for doing nothing. As far as I'm concerned "It might already be too late so lets do nothing" is no better an argument than "It's not real so let's do nothing" and I can't help noticing that a lot of the people who who are now pushing the former argument are the same ones who were pushing the latter argument 20 years ago (I don't think that applies to Dil, I can't remember what he was pushing 20 years ago).

    I will say that I don't think any amount of protesting and campaigning s going to make an inch of difference on this issue. Environmentalism has been a main stream issue since the 80s (or earlier depending on your definitions) and our social practices have just got worse over that time. Social change will not fix this. The answer needs to come from science and I'm glad to say that it is. Carbon recapture has made coal based power much cleaner, huge advances are being made in renewables, heating and insulation in our homes is becoming hugely more efficient and I'm pretty sure that transport (discounting international travel) is going to be 100% electric within the next 20 years.

    Whether we've got enough time before we pass some tipping point remains to be seen but I don't see that as a reason to give up and tap dance in the shadow of Vesuvius.
    Last edited by FunkyDexter; Feb 26th, 2021 at 05:02 AM.
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  18. #498
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Environmentalism has been a main stream issue since the 80s (or earlier depending on your definitions)
    My definition would be the early seventies starting with earth day.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    I wouldn't disagree with that. I think you could even go back to the twenties and find people starting to talk about it. I picked the 80s because I think the hole in the ozone layer really thrust it into the mainstream but it was a pretty arbitrary choice. My point was: it's not like we haven't been talking about it for a while now and we haven't changed our behaviour.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Has America turned into socialist state yet? I'd heard rumours that it was just about to happen... Will there be a big noise when the switch-over occurs?

    I saw a picture of Russell Brand earlier in this thread. Just hoping you lot do know to ignore him completely. He seems to have grown famous in America for some reason, you appear to like our dead wood. He is a well-known twerp, just don't listen to any view he espouses, be it right or left.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Well, Biden's raising the minimum wage so I'd say full blown communist totalitarianism. He'll probably invade Finland any day now.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    I don't think that applies to Dil, I can't remember what he was pushing 20 years ago.
    That Microsoft was evil for abandoning VB6, no doubt.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Well, Biden's raising the minimum wage so I'd say full blown communist totalitarianism.
    Well I'm not aware of the details. Any idea how it would work?

    When Convenience Store Chad gets his bump from $7.50 to $15... does Bed Pan Beth currently working as a nursing aid for $15 get something besides a kick in the teeth? How about Fixed Income Fred scraping by on his small pension?

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Well I'm not aware of the details. Any idea how it would work?

    When Convenience Store Chad gets his bump from $7.50 to $15... does Bed Pan Beth currently working as a nursing aid for $15 get something besides a kick in the teeth? How about Fixed Income Fred scraping by on his small pension?
    I have to agree with you here. Any solution to any problem that doesn't fix every other problem should not even be considered.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Well I'm not aware of the details. Any idea how it would work?
    Well, attacking via the Mannerheim Isthmus has proven to be a bad idea so I suggest they will move in from the North.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Any idea how it would work?
    Well, the minimum wage would go up. And it wouldn't be communism. But the hyperbolic right wing medium would call it that.

    Are you arguing against a minimum wage or JAQing? It's not clear.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    So not only would a lot of small business have to close or severely reduce staffing and hours, making it harder to compete will turn even more of the economy over to large corporate interests, and its inequality would breed a lot of resentment among the people in the next lowest tier of income.

    Yes, there are serious problems trying to live on minimum wage. But that's why it is a minimum.

    People need more opportunity to move into better jobs.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcilhinney View Post
    That Microsoft was evil for abandoning VB6, no doubt.
    Yeah. Gotta love that thriving Windows Phone market, eh? Oh wait, that isn't a thing, is it?

    Too bad they trashed their lead and went .Net and shot themselves firmly in both feet.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    So you are anti a minimum wage. OK, here's the argument for it:-

    Can Convenience Store Chad live on the wage he receives? Can he afford to rent a home, feed his family and afford health care (or insurance in your model) when they are sick. If the answer is yes, then fine, you're minimum wage is adequate. That's really not the case in the US (or the UK, for that matter) though, low paying jobs do not pay a living wage.

    As long as your minimum wage is lower than a living wage you have two choices: 1. leave people to starve or live on the street (I don't imagine you're advocating this so I'll assume you would advocate for option 2...) 2. top up Chads wages through the welfare state. If you're advocating option 2 it's important to note that Chad is not the beneficiary of an increase in the minimum wage, his income does not change. The beneficiary is his employer who can cut their wage bill and have government fill the gap. An inadequate minimum wage actually represents a corporate subsidy by the state.

    So not only would a lot of small business have to close or severely reduce staffing and hours...
    This is the most commonly deployed argument in opposition to a statutory living wage but it really doesn't hold water, it's a fallacious appeal to emotion. By invoking small business you attempt to portray mom and pop shops as the primary beneficiaries of an inadequate minimum wage which is inaccurate. The biggest beneficiaries are McDonalds, Amazon and Walmart.

    If your concern is to support small business than don't try to do it indirectly via an inadequate minimum wage, the benefit of which will flow disproportionately to big corporates. Instead do it directly via subsidies, tax breaks etc which explicitly target small businesses. It will be a zero sum game because, of course, you simply redirect the money that you're currently paying to subsidise big business in the form of in work welfare.

    In arguing for an inadequate minimum wage you are not actually arguing in favour of small businesses. You are arguing (inadvertently, I think) in favour of big business at the expense of both small businesses and the state.

    People need more opportunity to move into better jobs.
    I agree.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    The problem I have with that minimum wage is that it is one size fits all. You likely can't live in New York City on $15/hour, yet that is also the median wage in the state of Mississippi (my mother told me that the rest of the states should be thankful for Mississippi so that they are not last on any list). Dil is possibly right for Mississippi, but pretty much wrong for NYC. The thing is, first you need people to already be at minimum wage. What I don't know is how many people are. If they are already above minimum wage, as they may well be in NYC, then perhaps raising the minimum wage to $15/hour would have zero impact, since it wouldn't apply to anybody. However, it might strongly impact a place like Mississippi, though I don't know.
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Yeah, it does seem like something that needs to be fine tuned more on a local level. In California it's $13 - $14. But even that is not a living wage. A crappy 2 bedroom apartment here in Modesto will cost you $1,300 and Modesto is much cheaper than Southern Cal or San Fran. $13 x 160hrs = $2080 - 25% for Fed/State/SSA taxes = $1,560 That leaves $260 for food and all other bills.

    Even in Mississippi I don't think $7.25hr is a living wage (just guessing). If it is, then I need to move there, I could live in luxury. lol But I hate humidity, that's a deal breaker.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Low skilled, low end, temporary and part-time high schooler joblets were never meant to provide a living wage. What you seem to be after is some Slacker's Paradise at the expense of every one else.

    If you have decided you lack the ambition to do more than punch colored icons at the McTill that's fine, but don't ask everyone else to bend over to reward your sloth. Maybe get off the booze and dope and finish school.

    The problem is the of lack of good jobs, skills, and work ethics - not pity for the slob. I feel bad for those trapped in such jobs, but the answer is more jobs that can pay more. Create more opportunity for those willing enough to take advantage of it.

  33. #513

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    So people in Low skilled, low end jobs don't deserve a living wage because it's their fault for being lazy alcoholic dope addicted slobs. WOW

    Such hateful bigotry.

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    The problem I have with that minimum wage is that it is one size fits all.
    I agree, and many Republicans in particular make that argument. It's a dishonest argument in their case because they don't want the states to set a minimum wage either. It would be better if the states set a reasonable minimum wage for their particular state and possibly areas within their state but many don't/won't, so the federal government is forced to step in if they actually care about those most left behind otherwise.

  35. #515
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    The problem I have with that minimum wage is that it is one size fits all.
    I agree but I think Wes and JMc have pretty much given my answer already - don't make it one size. There's nothing wrong with stratifying it in all sorts of ways and for all sorts of reasons. E.g. In the UK we actually stratify by age - the minimum wage for teens and young adults is less than for the rest of the population on the basis that they're assumed to still be living with their parents. In a nation the size of the US geography would obviously need to be a factor. There's a point at which the bureaucratic cost of that stratification becomes prohibitive, of course, but "one size" is a long way off that.

    What you seem to be after is some Slacker's Paradise
    We're talking about people who are working honest jobs so I don't see how you can equate them to slackers.

    If you have decided you lack the ambition to do more than punch colored icons at the McTill that's fine, but don't ask everyone else to bend over to reward your sloth. Maybe get off the booze and dope and finish school.
    I really think you need to examine the assumptions you're making there. They're pretty hateful.
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  36. #516
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Dil didn't state it well, but he does have something of a point. Minimum wage jobs may not exist much, already. If they do exist, WHY do they exist? I ran an operation that was VERY seasonal in that jobs lasted for a month or two at some point in the year. When it started out (long before I got there), the season was around November into early December, so the demographic was housewives who didn't normally work at all, but just wanted to make a bit of extra cash for Christmas.

    By the time I got there, the season had shifted into the summer, and lengthened a bit. We really struggled to find people to take the jobs because of the low pay, which we didn't have a say over. Boosting the minimum wage would have forced the people who set the pay to pay more, which would have increased the pool of workers for us, but the job was still VERY temporary, and a bit miserable, so it was never going to be great. The bottom line is that we probably couldn't pay enough to overcome the negative characteristics of the job, so we were always pulling from a pool of workers that could be defined as, "people willing to take a job like that." It wasn't sustainable, and the whole thing went away around 2002.

    The basic point of that is that there may not be many minimum wage jobs, because employers have been competing for workers for some time. So, what minimum wage jobs are there, and why are they there?

    Personally, I don't feel that I have sufficient understanding of the pool of work at the low end of the pay scale. I also don't feel that 2001 was all that long ago, despite it now being 20 years. Back then, $15 plus some change/hour, was starting wage for a biologist position, for which you needed a masters degree, in Idaho. A couple years back, I looked at pay scales at the local Wal-Mart for some reason. They're often held up as being low wage, though I'm not sure if that's fair. The pay scales seemed to be about $10/hour, and up, which seemed pretty good for entry level jobs. That may be because I'm remembering pay scales from 20 years back, or it may be that I just don't know anything about the pressures and decisions determining low end pay scales.

    So, the point that Dil may have been making, poorly, was that minimum wage jobs are not jobs that anybody is expected to remain in for more than a few months, in which case a living wage was never the goal. Furthermore, they may barely exist.
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  37. #517
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    If you have decided you lack the ambition to do more than punch colored icons at the McTill that's fine, but don't ask everyone else to bend over to reward your sloth. Maybe get off the booze and dope and finish school.
    Dil, I can tell you for a fact that lack of ambition is not the problem! Some poor good families are just stuck in a system that doesn't give them a chance. And whatever present system there is to save a child (with lots of siblings) from poor abusive parents is failing! In both families, good and bad, with education or lack of, there are good kids who turn into adults. You don't know anything about the person who serves you over the counter, and with most, it's not their fault they're serving you!

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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Most of that was framed to get a reaction. But many of the reactions seem to devolve into derangement, and entirely miss:

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    I feel bad for those trapped in such jobs, but the answer is more jobs that can pay more. Create more opportunity for those willing enough to take advantage of it.
    If there is such a labor glut that the market can take advantage of workers I only see two viable solutions: decrease the labor pool... or increase opportunity.

    We did the first once: child labor was severely restricted. That was never about child mistreatment, that was marketing. It was an economic action taken to eliminate job competition.


    Increasing opportunity is tougher. In the past this was done via the WPA and helped a lot during the economic emergency. Something like that might be done, perhaps even once more focusing on thigs like infrastructure development, repair, and replacement. Much more could be done by repatriating jobs shipped offshore for 50 years.

    But it sounds like the lower and medium skill jobs will not be coming home any time soon. For the US it sounds more likely we'll enter a new relationship with Mexico and "repatriate" many of those job there. That doesn't directly assist US workers though, who will have to get better at medium and high skilled roles in design and development.

    That is going to be tough for many. There are still many service jobs that can't be done from a distance. But is the answer really to dictate higher pay for them alone by fiat?

    There is no question that the current Federal minimum wage is too low. The higher State by State minimum wage levels are also too low. But you can say that about wages across the board, at least until you get to the professions.


    I don't have an easy answer. But I suspect that a lot of people will be very upset once the result of a simplistic $15 minimum wage sink in. It sounds like an example of picking winners and losers strictly for cynical political gain, damn the consequences.

  39. #519
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    minimum wage jobs are not jobs that anybody is expected to remain in for more than a few months
    So what? I don't see what the duration of the job has anything to do with anything. If that employer is paying people less than they require to live, that employer is being subsidised by the state. The fact that their conditions are so bad that their churn is high doesn't change or excuse that.

    If there is such a labor glut that the market can take advantage of workers
    There is. Without it companies like Uber and Deliveroo wouldn't exist. The entire gig economy is based on this premise.

    increase opportunity
    You keep citing that and I agree but there are two problems with your position on that.
    1:-
    I don't have an easy answer.
    That's because there isn't one
    and
    2: It's an argument for creating opportunity and everyone (I assume) here would agree with it, but it's not an argument against a mandated living wage.

    The argument about service jobs moving abroad is also fallacious. The last time I looked McDonalds were trading just fine in Sweden.
    The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter - Winston Churchill

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  40. #520
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: The US fragile democracy Exposed

    Overall, I'd say that a guaranteed minimum income would be a better solution, but it's not really on the table. Instead, we have a patchwork. That minimum wage rise may be what's possible, or it may not. Unfortunately, it IS political, because it's the US.

    But I suspect that a lot of people will be very upset once the result of a simplistic $15 minimum wage sink in. It sounds like an example of picking winners and losers strictly for cynical political gain, damn the consequences.
    Actually, once it sinks in, very few people will be upset. It's BEFORE it sinks in that people will be upset, and that's the time to make political points about it: Prophesize doom, because doom won't happen, and nobody will listen after the fact. What WILL happen is that people will adjust and that will be the new normal from which everybody will start arguing against any other change.

    This is how things tend to work. Just look at Brexit. Sure, that might hurt the economy, but whatever the result is, it will be what it is and everybody will be living with it. Could it have been better? Probably. Could it have been worse? Undoubtedly. But it is what it is. There will be winners there will be losers, and such will be the case for any policy you come up with. Usually, we don't really pick winners and losers. We THINK we do, but the reality isn't very predictable.

    In this case, people talk about a living wage, but this isn't a living wage. It's above that in some places and below that in LOTS of places within the US. It also only includes those who CAN work, and only includes jobs covered by the legislation, which leaves out a LOT of them, almost certainly including all gig workers. For the rest we have a safety net that is a patchwork of different nets of different strengths and weaknesses because it has been built up over time as a series of patches. The goal is: Nobody is starving to death for want of means to buy food, and nobody is homeless (except that plenty are, but at least the GOAL is to give everybody a place to live). A minimum income could do that, a minimum salary can't, since it would only apply to those who work at a job covered by that law.

    So, this is another patch on a net that is nothing but patches. However, it may be all that can be accomplished. People will fight hard against this, but they'd fight even harder against making a more rational system, because there will be winners and losers, and the losers can frame the argument against any policy into prophesies of doom.
    Last edited by Shaggy Hiker; Today at 03:33 PM.
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