Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seattle Socialist Group Hypocrites to Their Own Cause

Obviously, I'm not for raising the minimum wage.  It doesn't 'catch up' to the rate of inflation, it just helps drive it.  It should not be surprising that the name at the bottom of their signs is the AFL-CIO.  But this group went the extra step and used the free market to advertise a 'negotiable wage' for $13 an hour.  Their main mission has been a standardized minimum wage of $15 an hour, and recently shifting to $21.

In the military, they drill into us that leaders lead through example, not through dictation.  The whole, 'walk the walk' thing.  That means not playing golf all the time while telling people what they should do and what they should want.  By advertising a position for $13 an hour, this group completely undercut themselves, their point, and any credibility they had with people on the fence to their cause.  Which I'm completely ok with. 

In his book Shakedown Socialism: Progress to Nowhere, Oleg Atbashian describes the events that transpired when the coal miner's union in the Donbass region of the Ukraine went on strike for wage raises.  Oleg grew up in the USSR and believed in socialism and communism.  But eventually, reality dawned on him and he began to reason, on his own, in a country where all information and news was tightly controlled, that the problem was socialism itself.

Now, he's in America, and he sees us going down the same roads that lead to the failures in the USSR that he witnessed first hand. To boil down the coal miner's situation, the coal miner's decided to strike for higher wages.  The Ukraine was dependent on coal power.  Without coal, there was no power.  It was the middle of winter.  They got their raise, power prices went up to meet the demand for higher wages. 

People couldn't afford their power bills, in the middle of winter. 

Their unions began demanding for higher minimum wages.  In short work, the prices of everything went up to accommodate.  Restaurants raised their prices to pay their power bills and higher salaries for employees.  Soon, the coal miners where basically where they started because the entire economy adjusted to their demand.  So, they went on strike again demanding more money.  The cycle repeated itself.  Again. And again. 

It caused a situation known as hyperinflation.  Where currency is so worthless that you need millions of dollars just to buy a loaf of bread.  The people hurt the worst buy labor union greed were the people who's businesses could not afford the higher minimum wages and went out of business.  Fewer businesses meant fewer jobs, even in the USSR where you were 'guaranteed' a job.  But, no one really worked there anyway.  One of my friends who had escaped the USSR with his family as a child told me that their Soviets had a saying.

"We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us."

It's an interesting observation that people tend to accuse others of the traits they are themselves guilty of.  One of the biggest accusations thrown at Capitalism is that it's driven by greed.  It's true.  Capitalists harbor an intense desire to improve their lives.  So do Socialists however.  The difference is that Capitalists don't pretend to not be driven by greed or pretend they are doing it for some faceless 'greater good'.  They make no bones that they want to be able to keep what they earn to improve their situation or the situation for their family.  Like Isiah to Hezekiah, 'Set your house in order...'

Capitalists don't say 'you should pay me more because you have enough money to.  If you don't, I'll force you to.'  They say, 'you should pay me more because I'm worth it, and I'll prove it to you.'  It's the difference between being given a paycheck and earning one.  Are there bad capitalists?  Sure.  There's bad everything.  Socialists, through all their actions have helped big, corrupt businesses more than any other group.  And the sad part is, they don't even see it.  They just keep going down the same roads and strengthening the people they despise through misguided actions.

“I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.”
Thomas Sowell, Barbarians inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays

Where Capitalists accept that they are greedy because they want the best life they can provide for themselves and their family and are willing to do it on their own, Socialists ignore their own greed to take from others by force; via strikes, via lobbying government and using politicians as a weapon against the businesses they expect to employ them, via higher taxes and minimum wage requirements.  There's a word for taking something by force against someone's will... it's um... how do you say... theft.  That's right.  It's stealing.

They see themselves as Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but Robin Hood didn't use political power to take from others by force to redistribute to those they judge worthy.  Sheriff Nottingham did.

You also have to question the irony of advocating things that put businesses out of business.  Minimum wage hikes are small business killers.  These people are generally anti-big business, yet through minimum wage hikes, they are systematically knocking off any potential small business competitors to big business, and as a result, doing the big businesses a favor.  They are, through minimum wage hikes, strengthening big businesses by culling their fledgling competition.

And big businesses like McDonald's, Amazon, Hyundai... are finding ways to cut people out of the picture to retain profit because they have the financial resources.  Which, let's be clear, I'm totally for.  Replacing workers with robots and other creative innovations that will help them retain and hopefully gain new profits.  I don't fault them for it.  I love it.  Because it will result in getting goods at a cheaper price; or rather, a better value.

McDonald's can do drive-through orders in California and Seattle from North Dakota where the minimum wage is lower.  It's a stateside version of outsourcing.  If you think the response is to just raise the national minimum wage, you know those Indian and Asian tech support call centers that drive you fucking insane?  You'll be getting that at the drive through.  That means less available entry level jobs.  Amazon is robotizing large swaths of it's work force.  That means less available entry level jobs.  Hyundai mainly cut the labor unions out of the picture by using machines to build all their cars.  That means less entry level jobs.

You will need higher qualifications to work on the VOIP system for drive through ordering, to maintain the robots working in the warehouse, to maintain their software and patch it with updates.  Higher qualifications means a higher salary, but because minimum wage went up driving up the cost of goods and services, your fancy new higher paying salary won't be as useful as it could be now. 

If you raise the minimum wage, put small businesses out of business, and then the big businesses opt to use robots they don't have to pay for work and deal with stupid union rules or personal issues, where are you going to work?  Who's gonna be around to pay you this wage you fought so hard for?

Businesses exist for one reason: to make money.  They do so by providing a product or service.  When you take away their earnings, there is no reason to stay in business.

Raising the minimum wage will only result in hurting people at the bottom of the economic food chain.  Yes, they will get a raise, but the price of everything will rise to pay for their new, higher wage. So, the next time they go to buy anything, it'll basically be like they never got the raise.  The people at the bottom struggling to pay their current bills before they go as a result of businesses needing to pay the higher minimum wage for their employees, the elderly on fixed incomes, will find themselves struggling harder, working longer hours to make up the difference. Using more hours of their one and only life, to try to maintain their already low standard of living.

Socialism is the ultimate driving force of true economic slavery, because we don't get those hours of our life back to re-live.  They are gone forever because of the greed of a few who want everyone else to pay their way.  But, I hope they get it.  I love Seattle, but if the people in this country can't learn from Detroit and how labor unions absolutely destroyed one of the most powerful, thriving capitalist cities in just 70 years, then they deserve it.  I feel bad for my friends up there who will pay the price for this idiocy, but hopefully they can get out before it starts to get really bad.

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