Sunday, January 30, 2011

Should Americans protest in the streets and demand jobs like some other countries do?

In so many ways, the American condition when it comes to the kinds of jobs we have, the quality of the jobs we have, and how many we have, is of our own design. Every dollar we spend casts a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. It's clear that over the last 30 or so years (and probably longer) we've collectively decided as a people that it is more important to have cheap goods to buy than to have a good paying job that provides for our families, and that provides for our well-being into our retirement years. We've made a clear trade off. That said, the question was, should we protest in the streets and demand jobs? I say no. We should simply cast our vote using our wallets. Money talks is the old axiom, and I think it stands as the truth, plain and simple. If we want to live in a world where the jobs we get to keep in our own country are substandard, then we continue to shell out our dollars for goods made somewhere other than our own country. I'm not saying we cannot be a global economy, but I am saying that a global economy is only a good thing if we are not making the trade off that we have clearly made in this pursuit of global commerce. We've given up our pensions. We've given up our health care. We've given up solid paychecks and excellent wages. We've been forced to make it necessary to have two earners in the household, and to some extent, we've lost mountains of family values over the years as parents spend more time trying to make a living than raising their children to be respectable, productive members of society.

If the argument had been that the global economy would be a boon to Americans, then how is it that we've had to give up so much? How is it that the middle class have been an eroding class as companies have expanded and grown to such largesse? How is it that CEOs pay has grown from 40 times the earnings of the average American to 400 times the earnings of the average American, all the while having these same companies tout about the cost of paying workers, and paying workers' benefits?

But I digress. The dollar is what speaks volumes to these companies. The dollar is our vote, and it our best form of protest. Demanding jobs is not the right thing to do. Making decisions in our own lives as to how we use our money, and to some extent making some sacrifices, including paying a little bit more for certain goods, is a proactive and responsible way to conduct the conveyance of our message to the upper echelon. If we buy American made goods where there is an alternative to do so, and spend more time looking for those alternatives, and be more willing to spend the premium which is attached to those alternatives, then the companies who sell us the goods we buy will determine that heedless of the cost associated with making things here, companies will do what they must in order to fill the demand. Profits and profitability are the drivers of business. If we make companies who do not produce goods here unprofitable, they have no other choice but to change how they do business, including where they make the products they want to sell to us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What are your thoughts on being labeled "conservative" or "liberal?"

So long as someone opens their mouth and speaks, someone will try and attach some "label" to that speech. That said, people have leanings, and those leanings can generally be easily described in a word. So, the labels themselves really don't bother me all that much. With that in mind, however, I think that we can and do put too much emphasis on a label, and tend to make generalizations overall regarding a person, and regarding anything that that person may have to say. It stands to reason that conservatives can have liberal ideas about certain things, and so can liberals have conservative ideas. You really do have to evaluate each individual idea a person has on its own merits alone, rather than simply assume that if the person leans liberal, everything that the person believes must have an absolute liberal ideology behind it. Take the thought, for example, that I am a republican. I call myself a moderate conservative politically. However, I happen to support the legalization of marijuana which also happens to be a quite liberal idea. I am against globalization when there is an imbalance in trade, and when good paying, quality American jobs are jeopardized. That's a generally democratic idea, and is darn-right near being protectionist. Definitely not a totally conservative leaning on that particular issue. When you have the ability to look past the labels we assign to people, and evaluate each idea separately on their merits alone, we see more forest for the trees, and miss out on less that can be potentially good for us all in the end.

Why does a democracy need a system of checks and balances?

A democracy needs to have a system of checks and balances because power is very addictive. Like so often money has a way of changing people, so does power. Having too much power can simply overwhelm a person, and can ultimately make them corrupt. A system that has checks and balances ensures that no one person can be permitted to have too much power. As well, a system of checks and balances also ensures that when things go wrong, and someone ultimately winds up with too much power and abuses it, they can be put to task and held accountable for their actions. Bear in mind that the United States is a democratic republic. This simply means that we are ruled by law, that we have a representative government, and we are principled in a democratic nature. These three areas of our system serves as our system of checks and balances, and all branches of our government are separate from one another.