Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Response to a Rant

This is my knee jerk response to Little Earl's Rant #3. I was going to leave this as a comment, but it started to get a little long, so here we go.

I don't know why you get so stuck on the fringe. The tea parties were not about not paying taxes they were about not being happy with the way our taxes were being used. Just because certain news networks and cable shows chose to pick out the fringe weirdos and morons that have their own agenda doesn't mean that was the core message of the protests as a whole. That's as bad as listening to O'Reilly or Hannity and deciding that must be the way things are. It was a public forum, anyone could show up. And the no representation thing was about their interests being unrepresented not that the people of the United States were not being represented. I thought liberals would be sympathetic to this since they are always protesting and shouting that they aren't being represented. Disagreeing with the message is fine, I can respect that, but don't go arguing with weirdos that don't know what they're talking about. That's what The Daily Show reporters are for.

Now I'm guessing some of the fuel for this rant is because you assume, like Yoggoth, that this is a conservative movement. For arguments sake let's say it is. This "you" that you say is being used to describe our "big evil government somewhere far away" is the same "you" that was being used by liberals to describe the Bush administration. I couldn't count on all my fingers and toes the number of "Not My President" bumper stickers I've seen over the past eight years.

As for socialism, you say our government is already in some form of socialization. OK, lets look at your examples.

Public schools: inadequate and underfunded K-12 systems all across the US. They are consistently out tested by private schools. (However, public colleges and universities are actually fairly good, though they rely on corporate and alumni donations pretty heavily.) However, public schools are funded quite a bit from local property taxes. Nicer neighborhoods equal better funded schools. There's a reason why schools in Compton aren't as nice as schools in Marin County. I know I know; the federal government gives states funding for schools, but a lot of that funding is based on the no child left behind crap which never really made sense anyway.

Public libraries: inadequate and understocked. Local libraries rely almost exclusively on public donations of both money and books. I used to go to my local public library in Redwood City all the time. It was actually a really good one. However, that is probably because it was part of a system of libraries that encompasses the entire peninsula and is connected to the local community colleges as well. This means they get state funding on top of donations besides also having access to several college libraries, some of which are supported by large bonds that they were voted in by the tax payers to help fund education. Wait a minute - tax payers deciding where their tax money should go. What a concept.

Law enforcement: Honestly, there are not enough of these people. They are underfunded, undertrained, overworked and full of corruption. Every time a politician pleads for a tax increase it's because we need to get more cops out on the street. The problem is this money gets caught up in the politics of things. In the county where my dad works as an accountant for the Sheriff's Department, money for law enforcement doesn't usually go to new officers or better training or more guards in the jails, it goes to the retired Sheriffs, Lieutenants, and Captains for their outrageous pensions and rising medical costs. Yes they get to retire at 55 with a full pension and full medical for life. These aren't the guys chasing down bad guys and keeping the peace; these are mostly political positions. Don't get me wrong, their job isn't easy by any means, but neither is a police officer's riding in a squad car in Oakland for $40k a year. This is a failing system.

The US Postal Service: Like you said - God damn lousy.

And you wonder why people look at America becoming more socialized with a little bit of contempt? I'm not arguing that we don't need these particular social systems to be available. A safer more educated populous is essential and better for everybody, no one can argue against that, but do you really believe the government as it is today, and even for the last fifty years, has been using our money wisely?

6 comments:

Little Earl said...

Exactly.

Little Earl said...

Actually I have more to say but I need to go to bed. Let me just say that, as Yoggoth pointed out in his response to my drought post, titling the series "Crazy Rants" provides me with a lot of leeway.

Little Earl said...

"I thought liberals would be sympathetic to this since they are always protesting and shouting that they aren't being represented."

Actually, liberal protesters get on my nerves as well. As far as I can tell, protesters are just angry people who oversimplify the issues, whether they be on the left or the right.

"I used to go to my local public library in Redwood City all the time. It was actually a really good one."

Allow me to take this moment to thank the San Mateo County library system for providing me with my entire pre-mp3 music collection.

"These aren't the guys chasing down bad guys and keeping the peace; these are mostly political positions. Don't get me wrong, their job isn't easy by any means, but neither is a police officer's riding in a squad car in Oakland for $40k a year."

Here's a philosophical experiment: imagine if we lived in some alternate, Twilight Zonian universe where all the income levels were switched, so that people at the bottom would make the "most" and the people at the top would make the "least." Actually that wouldn't possibly work. But think about it for a second; what would it be like? Would everyone try to stay at the "bottom" and do all the grunt work because their salaries would be better? As frustrated as we all are about absurd bonuses, there really is something to be said for the employee who has "paid his dues" and has earned the right to do less actual work, no?

"A safer more educated populous is essential and better for everybody, no one can argue against that, but do you really believe the government as it is today, and even for the last fifty years, has been using our money wisely?"

There it is again, the "government" using "our" money. I say it's all one big pot. In fact, if the financial meltdown has taught me anything, it's that "big business" and "the government" are almost the same exact people!

And why "the last fifty years"? So the last administration to use our money wisely was...Eisenhower? Interesting and rather provocative thesis.

ninquelote said...

I'm going to agree with the protester comment. There aren't very many good protests anymore.

I said the last 50 years because I figured that was about the longest any of our parents could remember back to accurately. I was thinking first hand personal accounts from people we know well would be our biggest influences to past government and industrial structuring.

As for your experiment, I would totally do the grunt work if it meant that I would get a higher salary than upper management. Plus I could be one of those guys working in the belly of a ship with no shirt on, my bare, muscular chest all oiled up with slight smatterings of soot across my well defined abs, screaming, "Damn it, men, give her all she's got. We're gonna make home if I've got to punch a hole in her skin a row with my bare hands!!"

ninquelote said...

Oh, and the part about big business and government being the same people, I think that's because it costs so much money to run for office now because people vote based on the exposure of the candidate and not the relevant issues. That's why I think party politics is so fucked up. Putting an R or a D next to your name is just a kind of exposure that will guarantee you a good chunk of votes on election day regardless of what you really stand for. Sometimes I think politicians decide their political affiliation based on how many voters in that district are registered R or D.

There's an interesting documentary out called Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington? It chronicles a guy, who is actually named Smith, and his struggle to get elected against the incumbent for whatever district. Check it out.

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Andrew
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