Friday, January 27, 2012

Fairness, Equality and Other Buzzwords

I watched the President's State of the Union address the other day, and there were a few moments that stuck out in my mind, aside from the general impression of extreme disbelief.  The beginning and end, were actually points that I had desperately hoped that a president might actually get, that Military members are indeed the best of society (most of the time).  That they recognize race is a non-issue, and that society should try to emulate this attitude. 

There were parts however that he talked about taxing the rich.  The words "fair share" were used.  Its kinda interesting how certain buzz words are used whenever suggesting things people really don't want.  So before a Zombie jumps on here, I'm not for "tax cuts for the rich" I'm for "keeping all tax rates as low as humanly possible" so please do not get on that vein.  So let's ask "what is a 'fair share'?"  The maximum tax rate is 35%.  That doesn't sound like a lot, until you realize that's just federal taxes.  How much do you think that State Taxes jump that one up?   If you have State taxes at the same rate that takes the tax rate over 50%. 

How is that "fair"?  You could throw numbers out there, but there are some tax brackets that pay no taxes.  I agree its not a good idea to make someone struggling to have to give up their pay check, when those few dollars could mean the difference between a skipping meals, and just barely squeaking by.  But the problem is it's not Government's place to make sure those people get a leg up.  Indeed the very idea that your income is immanent domain is something that is slightly abhorrent.  but further to that, rich or poor the tax rate should always be the same, why?  well there's this thing called "equal protection".  See you can't punish (or tax) one group over another.  I don't care how "progressive" you feel on the face you're violating the law. 

But further to that so called "Progressive" tax rates are actually doing anything but creating progress.  It reminds me of a scene in the book Atlas shrugged.  Well after Wyatt Oil goes up in flames, Dagne Tagart comes across a "tramp" and asks him to go to her personal car.  There he proceeded to tell his tale, and as Rand has lots of exposition in this book, its one of many (many) long speeches.  See he was at this company called 20th Century Motors, when the old owner retired and gave the company to his son.  They had this wonderful idea about paying people based on need, and having them work based on ability.  The problem is that people who were good at their jobs got worked to the bone, and people who could lie the most, got all they wanted.  In short order people became liars cheaters, and really the worst of their human nature came out.  After a while you couldn't pay someone to get a 20th century motor.  All the while the manager had a thousand copies of a magazine lauding his progressive plan.  Now you can see this story in microcosm is exactly what happened to the Soviet Union.  So the real question one should ask: Why on Earth should anyone want to be progressive?

There are some feel good reasons, but all these reasons lack any logic behind them.  In the end every single so called progressive initiative will fall short of its goals.  Why you ask?  Because it always ignores human nature.  Need and Abilities are never linked, except as a motivator.  When you need, or want, it will motivate you to go to the best of your abilities, not the other way around.  So in the processes of being "fair" we end up creating people that care nothing of fairness or anything of the sort. 

But what about Equality.  Well much like the George Orwell book "Animal Farm" some people have become more equal than others.  If you are, or have lived a decently well off life and happen to be white male, then why on earth should you need help?  Indeed you should give up your opportunities to those less well off.  Equality.  Ha.  The president got one thing right.  Soldiers do not recognize race in promotions (though there are some Generals that track as much) you ar promoted based on your merit.  Why do civilians do otherwise?

And equality between the sexes. . . Can anyone seriously argue that men and women are the same?  is it in anyway fair that a decent looking women gets into clubs on "ladies night" for free but a guy has to pay $5?  Or that a woman can get drinks for free, have doors opened for her etc.?  Is it fair that men are always expected to act a certain way?  Accept it or not there's a reason that we act that way.  The pay issue as well  has a reason behind it.  Why?  Well compare and contrast the actual degrees women and men get.  Fashion marketing vs. Business.  Teaching vs. engineering.  Which do you think would pay more?  Now add taking a few years off to raise kids ( still a common practice).  Is it any wonder that when you stack all men up against all women, the women seem to earn less?  You put a woman up against a man and give the same general career choices and their pay/promotion rate is about the same, but you'll never hear that in a State of the Union. 

So is there really justice to be found in "Social Justice"?  Is there really any Progress in Progressiveness?  The answer to the first is clearly a no.  The answer to the second is another question: Progress towards what?  The State of the Union sounded good.  But really in the end do you think there was any hint of truth to the main body of the speech?  His "accomplishments" are laughable, as are his warnings not the exact same warning Conservatives have been sounding for years?  funny. 


Argent said...

Well you don't mention the actual State of Union either. It's so normalised why does anyone bother with the SOTU title?

A Bulgarian summed up the communist stupidity to me in much the same manner you do.

The tax rate on the rich isn't the problem it's the tax evasion, including legal tax evasion.

"You put a woman up against a man and give the same general career choices and their pay/promotion rate is about the same" No check your data women are paid less in the same job with the same abilities on average in pretty much all areas.

You're wrong about progressives. Progressives are usually wrong in their ideas. All their bad ideas lead to disaster or failure and conservatives shine in preventing this or at least trying to. But good ones do shine through slowly eventually. Simple but rare things like increasing accountability of monarchs, the forging of a free America, women voting, emancipation, freedom of religion. So yes progressives do progress but the irony is they progress into new conservative values.

The Mad Medic said...

Well Again Same Career choices. Say she doesn't take a few years off work to raise kids (an expectation sometimes) then typically women get paid on par with their male counterparts of similar time and duration. The rate of progression in their career path may be different, but that may just be part of a managerial style. Women being Consensus Builders, are sometime loathe to actually act. This is a problem when talking about supervisory roles. Men, being action oriented, and thus more likely to decisive in their actions, for good or ill, tend to rise quicker because of this trait.

Further, you can explain a lot of this by the Goals. What the goals are and how they are reached, are often (to say the least) very different between women and men.

Also if you compare all women to all men then, yes, there is income "inequality" but again, like I said, that has far more to do with career choices (degree paths, or what career they actually choose) then any actual in-built sexism.

Lastly we should not be looking for "equality" in the sexes. The Sexes are never equal. Never will be. They are by their very nature complementary. That we continue to skirt that fact, or flat out ignore it, has, I think, lead to a majority of the dysfunction we as a country are facing. Marriage is seen as a prison, Baby's Mamas, dead beat dads, and lord alone knows how many other dysfunctions could be laid square at the feet of this one slight failure of perception.

Argent said...

I largely agree regarding the equality thing, after all the word essentially means the same and we don't go around calling men and women the same. Equal Opportunity is better but still not really there. We have a saying here "fair go" which is a lot better but even that has the dubious fair word which can mean anything if so desired. In the end though we simplify too much thinking of men and women as 2 units. They are not. We need to think of each man and woman as applied to the situation because it's their personal capabilities/flaws/features that will count not the generic man or woman and often not even the fact of gender.