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Comment Re:Get rid of it. (Score 1) 1106

And what if your friends are broke too and your church is made up of other people who are also broke? This is hardly hypothetical: If you go into poor neighborhoods, you'll find churches that can barely afford to keep their lights on, and in some cases pastors who do the job on a volunteer basis. Also, how much better is "Work or belong to a church or die" versus "Work or die"? How about if the only available source of charity was a local mosque, and they said that they'd only help you if you converted to Islam, are you still happy with this solution?

Another way of thinking about it: Why is it that 15-year-old girls in Indonesia are willing to work in sweatshops for $0.34 per hour making Nike sneakers 15 hours a day? Do you seriously think that those girls are doing that because they have other viable options?

So nowhere did I say that things are perfect. However, I do believe that forced "charity" is evil. If governments were truly able to target just people like in your more rare hypothetical situation, I would have less of a problem with that. But it's not how things happen; instead, things get so entrenched because the people that keep voting for systems, such as minimum wage increases and gross welfare systems, are the same people who pay zero taxes! Why wouldn't they want to keep this system going so that they have to work very little or not at all? Second, it's easy just to assume that because a government "does something" versus leaving things up to truly caring individuals, entities and communities that things are getting better for these people. I submit, and there's plenty of studies to back me on this, that governments make it worse when they do more than just a little to help people. They create a crony, perpetual system that keeps the poor in more bondage to a broken system than if they were stuck in your sweatshop example. I challenge you to name a government program that's truly helped people without hurting anybody else. There are very few, if any. Governments transfer pain, they never make everybody better off at the same time.

Comment Re:AT&T (Score 1) 238

How much you would be willing to pay AT&T to ensure they did not give your information to the NSA?

For the analogy-impaired: Google and Facebook might be happy to sell you "privacy", but they're still not going to say "no" when the feds come knocking.

Yes exactly. I could (almost) care less about which other private entities a company like Google or AT&T sell access to my data only because what they do with that data is limited. What I do fear though is these companies bending so easily to when governments come knocking, demanding data. Governments have the power (they have the big guns) to put you in prison or to completely ruin your life and these types of things have gotten this out of control thanks to the U.S. government scaring people about terrorism. It's been a perfect storm really, we'll hand over all of our liberties in order to get "security." Well we've gotten neither now as we've given up our liberties and we really aren't any safer, plus we have the annoying and expensive Department of Homeland Security and an overreaching TSA. Bush started it, Obama continues to expand it.

Comment Re:Get rid of it. (Score 1) 1106

That's wrong, there's a 3rd option. It's called having friends and being part of an organization, like a church, that will openly love and support you. Someone can choose to be prideful and not ask for help from things like this, but that's their choice. Forcing me through taxation to support someone is not charity, it's evil. The moral high ground rests in me choosing to help someone, or being available for someone to come and ask for my support for their hard financial and/or emotional times.

Comment Re:Get rid of it. (Score 1) 1106

That's really overly simplistic. Poverty is a complex issue, and having a minimum wage versus not is not going to solve poverty. The point that proponents of minimum wage never stop to ask is their basic assumption, that minimum wage actually does help people to make enough to not be pragmatically poor. However, most of the evidence suggests (no it's not black and white) that in fact, minimum wage doesn't actually solve this problem. It seems intuitive that it would, but it's far from being intuitive. Here's a thought experiment. If we could solve people being poor by simply legislating a wage floor, then why not raise the wage to $100 an hour. If it's as simple as that, then everyone could instantly be rich! Why not $1000 an hour? Yes poverty is a problem and no, not everyone can be rich in this far from perfect world. The law of scarcity (the basis for all of economics) is that there is not enough to go around of anything in this world, and the best way to allocate that for almost everything is in a free market. When a government tries to impose artificial price floors or ceilings, it's the same as a basic law of Physics, shortages result. Governments, individuals, companies, everybody, are all subject to this basic law of the universe. Legislating minimum wage does not rewrite this law of economics.

So then ask yourself, if you're not for a $100 or $1000 an hour minimum wage, why is that so obviously wrong to you whereas $7.25 isn't as obvious to you? Don't let the emotion of poor people suffering on the streets cloud your judgement. We can help poor people in many ways, we're just discussing whether minimum wage actually does that, instead of only intending to do that but making people worse off.

Comment Re:[NOT]Cool! (Score 1) 178

Then most of the world is communism...
The government builds roads and all manner of other infrastructure for the benefit of all the people.
Many things are simply not economically viable to do in a capitalist system, so they would never get done at all without government intervention.

Two things, your last statement about things never getting done without government is easy to say, very difficult to prove.

Second, our crumbling and dangerous and non-innovative roads in the US seem to bend more rims on potholes and keep car repair shops in business than they do to help anybody. :)

Comment Re:I have a better idea... (Score 5, Insightful) 649

That's what they wanted you to think, but really, can you prove that? That's a huge conjecture. And even if it was true, I don't like the current state of the economy nor all of the power the government has usurped from productive citizens. All the government did was to make the hangover temporarily go away by drinking more alcohol. You don't cure a hangover that way. You endure the pain, and you don't get wasted in the future.

Comment Re:how is this different from other utilities (Score 1) 299

I live up in Canada. My car insurance, electrical power, natural gas, water, and waste treatment are all provided as government-owned (that is to say, owned by *me*) utilies. Our rates are lower than the private rates in nearby provinces.

I'm currently charged exorbitant amounts of money for internet access by a private ISP (the local cable company). I would *love* for the city to take over last-mile Internet connectivity, and then a bunch of independent ISPs could offer different packages for upstream connectivity. As it stands you have two choices for Internet access, the phone company or the cable company.

The "low" rate is what you might be billed by "your" utilities, but what are the true prices of such service? Could such utilities survive without the local government subsidizing them with tax money? So if you took away the tax money, you'd better believe the price would be higher directly to you. Second, if government-owned things are such a silver bullet, why not nationalize everything. Then you would completely control everything! If you think that's absurd, then how would you propose what should be nationalized (or owned by local governments) and what should be private? How can you truly know how efficient and effective your government agencies are? There's really no such thing.

Comment Re:Cue the (Score 5, Insightful) 299

I agree. Not only is it a luxury item that is important, but it's too important for the government to control. Can you imagine the security implications and headaches a network like this would have? There are so many technical, economic and legal unintended consequences to this, it's not even funny. If the government might do anything (and even here I'm skeptical), they should help make sure that the current private means of getting on the 'net remain competitive and sooner than later, cheap Internet in many different forms will be ubiquitous without the unintended consequences that only a government can create.

I predict this will also be a new avenue for the US federal government to regulate the Internet into oblivion. This is a setup for a massive new power grab.

Comment Re:Very little incentive to innovate (Score 1) 174

Yes of course road quality varies, and who knows exactly why some jurisdictions have much better roads than others. It's definitely not as simple as "the voters to want it." In an ideal world, that would be true. But like I replied to another comment, there are all kinds of things standing in the way of true representation like that such as corruption, lobbying, lust for power, the legislators personally disagreeing, etc.

Take a look at this from economist Walter Block, it's pretty good: The privatization of roads

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