Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Economy and Scared Little Bunnies

    Everyone who has paid the slightest attention to the recent economic turmoil knows about Fannie and Freddie; we know about the reckless, indecent, and sometimes immoral behavior that has occurred on Wall Street; we know about the “housing bubble” and its infamous pop. All of these reasons and more are responsible for the turmoil, but these have all been talked to death on every talk-show. We have also had economic reform, which, though not perfect, indicates and awareness of the practices that caused all of this. All of this information, however, is not terribly practical for the average person. The primary question is no longer what caused the turmoil, but rather why is it taking so long for it to get fixed.
     If I could stand face-to-face with these people when they asked that question, I would happily respond, “You!”, while pointing at them. The current struggle to regain what we have lost is, in many ways, a self-fulfilling prophecy of stagnation. We so often hear about Consumer Confidence Reports, which indicate how the consumers are feeling about the economy. To skip a lot of analysis, they are scared. Why are they scared? They are worried that the economy will get worse, or that it isn't recovering quickly enough. So, what do they do? They take their money out of the stock market, they don't buy luxury items, even small ones, they don't buy that new house or car, and they don't hire that promising potential employee. What is the result of all of this? Production does not recover as quickly as it could, the housing market remains soggy, unemployment stays near record level, and the stock market looks weak (which, go figure, sends confidence lower, thus making the process repeat all over again). Let's go through this again without all of the details. Consumer worried economy will falter → consumer does not buy → the economy falters.
    This frightened rabbit attitude of the average consumer is what is making theirs lives so difficult. If people would go out an get that new house or new car, buy that TV, invest in a new business, or hire that employee, we would be able to help the economy, one person at a time. Of course, there is a risk. But it is better to take a risk at improving one's position than to resign oneself to the lot one has, especially when that lot has the potential of getting worse.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thank you, Facebook

A neverending font of moronic argument full of non sequitur and ad homs.

The start of the argument: someone said that he "believes in amnesty for "illegal" immigrants... Anglo-Europeans ended up here in rather illegal ways (well, perhaps more like "un-legal"). Like it or not, English is NOT a language native to North America... it immigrated here... like our foreparents."

T, the oh-so-smart one, begins the argument:  But it is standard and every country has their own language. When in France you do not speak English without being shunned. I don't feel we should deport everyone, but they are capable of becoming legal. Simple steps. We all have rules and laws to abide by, so should they. That being said I do believe we are overpopulated and the immigration needs to stop somewhere. Maybe if they put forth the effort in their country they too could prosper?... 
I am Cherokee and German. I have many Mexican friends who are LEGAL immigrants. I lost my last two labor jobs to ILLEGAL immigrants. We took the land? Every piece of land on the planet earth was taken by someone. How far do we have to go back? If everyone would live in the present and not the past maybe we could work towards a future? My grandfather worked in steel mines. If we were a self sufficient country and quit importing cheap labor and goods and tried employing our legal residents maybe there would be less war? Maybe if illiegal aliens had to go to war to fight for the country they live so FREELY in? But the rules are different because people are afraid to offend them. Why should we speak Spanish? Because the Germans and Russians have a harder time getting here illegally?! Facts and statistics should prove to you that they are winning. And if you feel China has every right to own us, which they will by 2025, and believe its only fair? Then you should learn Chinese so you have a job not Spanish."

Me: "Interesting conversation we have going. If I provide my humble opinion. As someone who intends to be a lawyer, I must say that that which is illegal is something with which I disagree. However, as a freethinker, as a lover of Jefferson and Thoreau and Emerson and Dr. King and Lennon, some things which are illegal should not be, and some laws need to be updated. One of those includes facilitated the legalization and acceptance of those from other countries, other backgrounds, and other histories. I cannot help but agree with what Betty said about the ethnic factor involved with all of this. The simple fact is that the immigrant should not have to be here illegally, but should be welcomed into our country, the melting pot of the world which has succeeded because of the multitude of backgrounds and experiences of which we are composed.

Now to address several points that have been made. Terrie, I am sorry that you lost your job, but many people have lost more jobs to legal Americans than to illegal immigrants. Let's be blunt: illegal immigrants are not taking jobs at IBM, they aren't taking jobs at Microsoft or high ranking positions at Bank of America. They are assuming labor jobs that many do not want: working in 102 degree weather picking grapes, collecting and sorting trash. There are many Americans who are here legally who do not contribute to our economy, so if someone wants to come in and help the American economy become competitive, fantastic. China provides extremely low wages, allowing them to produce goods for extremely low prices. American good, for the same quality, cost nearly twice as much. It simply won't work.

Next you said "Maybe if illiegal aliens had to go to war to fight for the country they live so FREELY in?". No American *has* to go to war. Everyone gets the option...oh, aside from openly homosexual Americans. Should they be thrown out since they are not allowed to fight for the country they live in or do they get a free pass since our system is built on bigotry and superiority. What about when women weren't allowed in the military? I guess that means that they shouldn't have been legal citizens either, eh?

"Facts and statistics should prove to you that they are winning. And if you feel China has every right to own us, which they will by 2025, and believe its only fair? Then you should learn Chinese so you have a job not Spanish." Pure and utter fear is one of the best means of control. People said the same thing about French, then Russian, then it was Spanish, now it's Chinese. Winning? Winning what? If you are referring to the economy, then yes they are. And guess what, it isn't the liberal government that is dragging our economy down. It's the unwillingness to put our money out there and maybe allow for some cheap labor. The fact are that with illegal immigrants, the legal ones still get the best paying jobs. Look at the average income of an illegal immigrant. You couldn't survive on their year's wages for 6 months."

T: "E, i went to school for international busines with a lawyer too. i realized it is a job for scum. Your arguments are biased and based on ignorance. cheap labor does leave willing legal citizens without jobs. and while you may be afraid to get your hands dirty, i am not. besides overpopulation is the issue, not the language and most nonresident aliens have papers they legally obtained to be here. i work with them daily to assist their transition. if they wish to become doctors or biochemists, that's great they did it honestly. also, i worked for a company that save a penny per item by using child laborers in China. you praise that? don't tell me about free thinking.....i've been around a lot longer than you and your words, while well written sound like a read from fox news. i hope as a lawyer you get to represent the illegal immigrants and get paid with their cheap wages. and China becamse the second richest country this past week, and will soon be the richest. i refuse to buy anything but american made. but preach to your choir, i am bowing out of the uninformed forum of nonsense."

Me: "Wait, wait, wait, T. Did you just say *my* opinions come from Fox news? Now that's humor. Actually, Beck and Palin agree with you, not me. 

"It's a job for scum". Wow, that's kind. I know, there are no good lawyers out there. Jefferson 
was a bastard, and every single one that has ever done anything good is scum, too. Damn them all!

"...biased and based on ignorance." Well, as Tyson said, here come the ad homs. I am far from ignorant, as I always go my research before I state an opinion. Biased? Perhaps. But if you're making an argument, you are naturally biased to believe the side for which you are arguing. I am biased for the under-represented, for those who are constantly suffering abuse by those hard working Americans who refer to the immigrants as scum and trash and want them to get out. If they leave here, their family's will likely starve back home, because even the $4 an hour jobs, which no American will take, as they legally cannot, is more than they would make if they return home.

No, I don't praise the company that uses child labor, and I never said I did. However, you worked for that company, and thus helped it continue its campaign founded on blood and sweat of little children. On the upside, those children are providing money for their families and helping them survive. It's horrible but true. And you worked for them, not me.

"don't tell me about free thinking.....i've been around a lot longer than you and your words" Actually, the majority of the words I used are older than you, and age does not make you right. Age does not always make you wise. Just because you've been around longer does not mean that you've practiced freethinking or currently do.

"i'm just a rude little bitch with an education." I find this interesting. Rude, yes. Bitch, some might say. Your writing and frequent attacks in the ad hom fashion do not give justice to your education, however. Now, I am not calling you stupid, I am saying that you are not acting as one of you age and education more than likely should. I am much younger than you and still behave in a more dignified fashion.

By the way, I feel inclined to mention that not a single point you made addressed my argument or supported yours. It was all non sequitur of "I'm older, educated, and you're dumb", which, though a frequent tactic by master-thinkers of our day, such as Glenn Beck, does not justify your position.

"i'll just sit back and laugh now" The classic final actions of one who does not like having to defend his views. "I'm done, you're dumb. I'm right, you're wrong." See how I just made myself look good? Now, if I don't respond to your argument, it's not because I'm outclassed, it's because I'm better! I wish that my education in argumentation, international politics, and debate allowed be such an easy maneuver, but it doesn't. It requires that I actually attempt to coherently state my case without resorting to logical fallacies and personal attacks."

T: " hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
haha!! no, really hahahahahah!!!! you'll make a great lawyer :)...
you do not even know who i really am, but i got you going and it made my day! your post is now part of my blog, would you like the address?"

Me: " If you'd like mine where your rants are, T."

This is, if nothing else, an example of how to argue and how not to argue. I leave it to you to guess which is which.