A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A day in the life of a common Joe

This story was lifted wholesale from a comment at reddit.com. I wish I could claim to be the original author, but that honor belongs to liberal_one.

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that his in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."


denis bider said...

It is sad how your interpretation of reality is wrong and misleading on nearly every count.

There are some claims I can easily dismiss offhand. Before there was the FDA, there were private organizations, similar to Consumer Reports today, which served the function of keeping food manufacturers to high standards. Furthermore, before there was an FDA, it was possible for there to be competition among providers of such supervision; depending on their selectivity when buying, consumers could choose to hold their food providers accountable to some or all of them.

Furthermore, if some food producer in a privately supervised system does prove negligent to the point of causing harm, there is the legal system and there's the option of lawsuits, individual or class action, to serve as a deterrent to keep companies in line.

What the current government-controlled system does is, it provides an inferior one-size-fits-all supervision approach which provides a single point of failure due to its monopolistic nature. Such failure is happening as we speak. One possible reason why the FDA does not ban potentially harmful artificial food coloring is because the FDA gets paid per quantity of color additives actually used. So instead, people who find that they are especially sensitive to such colorings, rely on private supervision providers, like the Feingold Association, to provide them with means to protect their health that are superior to what the FDA provides.

Most of the other claims made are similar distortions and fallacies. I can point out one which I know is particularly preposterous; no unscrupulous bankers ruined the banking system in the Great Depression. Neither capitalism nor bankers brought on the depression; the Federal Reserve itself did, by employed monetary policies that were counterproductive, without knowing it at the time. Subsequently, neither capitalism nor bankers prolonged the Great Depression, which could have been a short one, had Hoover not tried to "fix" it by encouraging employers to keep wages high and even raise them - which they, in what in hindsight could be seen as foolish patriotism, followed and did. When this didn't help the economy but actually made the problem worse, Hoover and associated congressmen further tried to "fix" things by imposing the isolationist Smoot-Hawley tariffs, which practically cut off the United States from foreign trade. This was done against petitions of thousands of economists warning that the tariff would lead to a disaster. It did.

Then FDR came to power and pretty much tried to do in the U.S. what Mussolini did in Italy. That, too, didn't work. Then came the war, bringing with it a central command economy, and that didn't help the economy either, despite continuing fallacies that WWII is what cured the Depression. It did not. A true recovery came after WWII.

Please, educate yourself. I gave you links to books that actually contain sensible data and sensible interpretations. Read them.

What you're writing here, this is populist shit taught in schools across the USA by people to which the ex-Soviet leadership would privately refer as useful idiots.

denis bider said...

What your story does accurately demonstrate is the vast extent to which government is present in (or interfering with) everyone's lives. The erroneous conclusion you make is that the mere fact that this vast interference exists means that its absence - or indeed, any reduction! - would cause harm. But this is not the case. The situation would be different, but just because a void would appear in market needs that is currently being filled by government, doesn't mean that private individuals would not step in to fulfill it, and it doesn't mean that they would do a worse job. In fact, libertarians argue convincingly that private individuals would do a better job, because they are responsible to people voting on a micro level every day with their wallets, while government is "responsible" only to people voting every few years, on a macro level distanced from where the smaller levels that actually have problems, and given few realistic choices that don't even allow the voters to exercise control over anything.

Indeed, you exercise less control over what happens economically when you vote for a new Führer - um, President - every few years, than you exercise when you vote with your wallet and switch from one provider of a service to another.

There's another fallacy that seems to be deeply ingrained in your collective "liberal" minds: everyone involved in business is by default an unscrupulous, egotistic, megalomaniacal, profiteering, untrustworthy person, whereas people involved in politics and government are somehow better and less corrupt.

Don't you find it a bit strange that everyone who's corrupt would automatically be attracted to business, and few "good" people would be attracted to business; while everyone who's "good" would automatically be attracted to government, and few corrupt people would be attracted to government? Do you really think that's a realistic assessment of fact?

And if so, do you really think that the token elections you are allowed to participate in every now and then, in which each time you are given a wonderful and nuanced choice of two persons to vote for, one Democan and one Republicrat, and where your vote, if properly counted, means less than your contribution in revenue when you buy from your local store - do you really think that this system somehow gives you control, somehow allows you to "reign in the bastards"?

If so, then man, you've already been reigned in by the bastards, and they're the bastards you are voting for - the people who taught you that business is evil; the people who taught you that their contribution to society, keeping the bad businessmen in line, is something so valuable that you can't live without; people who obviously have no self-interest, whatsoever, in collecting a good 30% of your annual pay check, and spending it on whatever they currently consider worthy...

No, no, they are your protectors, you need them, because you see, if it wasn't for them, the boogey man would come, and the only reason the boogey man doesn't come is because they protect you. Just as long as you keep paying them.

So go on. Continue paying.

No private company takes out of your pocket even closely as much as the government does. Every year.

No private organization's revenue is $2.5 trillion per year. And growing.

No Bill Gates has even 1/100 of the economic power as the person on whom you depend to protect you from Bill Gates.

Who protects you from the person who protects you from Bill Gates?

denis bider said...

This is your well-functioning state.

denis bider said...

And here it is in another instance.

denis bider said...

This is totally not like something a corrupt "police force" of a 17th century autocratic European monarch might do.

Thank noodle that the federal government is there to protect Mr. Ricks from ruthless exploitation by the monopolistic practices of Bill Gates.

Imagine that, if Mr. Ricks hadn't had to pay for Microsoft software, perhaps then his savings would be $400,400, rather than only $400,000, for the federal government to confiscate.