I can't decide whether I believe in the minimum wage or not. On the one hand I think people deserve decent compensation for their labor and I know that companies will short them if at all possible. Wal-Mart encourages employees to get on footstamps and welfare, which many are eligible for thanks to the fact that Devil-Mart pays shit for wages. Karl Marx said that if left to their own devices capitalists would pay workers only what was necessary to keep them alive and breeding replacements (not even the second part for the particularly short-sighted money-worshipers). In that, as with a good deal of his pure economics, I think he was right (Conservatives tend to confuse the sillyness of the communist manifesto with the rather valuable economic analysis in Das Kapital.) At least when it comes to unskilled laborers. It is fairly clear that the Wal-Marts of the world don't see their employees as human. They see them through Bushvision, just lower creatures to be used for their own personal gain. In order to combat that it seems like we should have legislation limiting exploitation. On the other side of it, minimum wage laws cause unemployment and are bad for the long-term economic health of marginal businesses. Just as artificial price hikes through agricultural subsidies lower the profits of American food companies artificial wage hikes do so for other businesses. I think the best solution is to link minimum wages to revenue or profitability. In other words you are able to pay whatever you want so long as you are spending %60 of your capital on labor (or some other number.) The problem is this would be very difficult, if not impossible, to get to work across various industries that naturally have different percentages of funds devoted to labor. It is probably too complicated to make work, but to me it seems like the only equitable solution.
I don't understand people who promote campaign contributions to major candidates as your patriotic duty. I find campaign contributions beyond a certain point to be somewhat sleazy. A campaign needs certain monies just to get itself off the ground. It needs cash so it can hire staff, print up leaflets on policy, and get information out there. Beyond that the money is almost all used for spin. When you give money to your local assemblyman chances are he isn't going to use it for a manipulative television commercial. John Kerry is. He already has the millions he needs to travel to all the campaign stops, keep his website cocky and funny (the better to seduce the women's vote with) and do all the other stuff. Most of the money from here on out is going into soundbites. I think that stinks. I realize that pragmatists will say that he needs those spots to do battle with the Bush Behemouth who even now is much better funded than he is. I say...maybe. Campaign funds don't define who wins a race. There's a correlation, but I still believe that there's a segment of the population who would rather have a candidate who doesn't need to spin the television all day long. Maybe I'm stupid for thinking so, but I've been called stupid before.
Regardless, I don't think there's any sort of moral requirement to pay for sleazy campaign advertisements. I also don't think that it's the only way the campaign could be won. If everyone agreed to have a conversation about politics with 5 people who disagreed with them it would do a whole lot more to spread information and change opinions than those spots ever could.
I don't understand why I watch lousy television instead of writing or engaging in other worthwhile pursuits. I've cut back but I still do it and it doesn't make any sense. I am just as happy sitting in a chair listening to the Cranberries and pounding out prose, happier in fact. Watching crappy TV is a drug, it dulls the senses and leaves you vaguely uncomfortable but cowed. It's pointless and useless. Writing is invigorating. It's exciting and it builds the adrenaline. I feel sweaty and engaged and happy. I see myself in a jungle ten years from now, open-shirt, brow oozing with bodily salts, and fingers racing across a keyboard. I feel at home. So why don't I do it more? Why do I lack the discipline? Why bother turn on the idiot box except for important and useful purposes, like to watch the Mets throw away their season one error at a time?
Couldn't tell ya. Habit? Fear of failure? Lazyness? All of the above most likely, but there's something else there. Something that isn't wired right.
Why am I more comfortable this summer than I was last? I don't know. I'm a little bit thinner but still wouldn't be mistaken for a lightweight, not by a very long shot. I think it's been a little cooler, but that's not all of it. For some reason I'm just not overheated and miserable like I was back then, and then I was working in an air-conditioned building. I think I may be more comfortable in my own skin and more mature. Less focused on the physical and more able to tolerate discomfort because of inner peace. That is impossibly cheesy as I type it, yet it just may be accurate. If so, that's some good progress for a single year. 50 lbs gone, a degree earned, and inner growth. The trifecta (The qunitecta involves professional and romantic success. Yeah...about that stuff...I will have to get back to you.)
I don't understand how people can ignore the humanity of others. When I don't give money to the beggars who have returned to the streets of New York thanks to Osama Bin Bush's economic strategery I do so for rational reasons. You don't know which ones of them will use it to harm themselves. Better to put time and money into charities that you can be reasonably sure will provide them with food and clothing rather than crack rock. I feel bad for the people though. I feel bad for not giving them money. There are others who look right through them, ignore them, or even loathe them for no discernable reason. When a panhandler (it's not right to say homeless person because some of them actually have nice homes) talks to me in an effort to get money he is not likely to get any of the cash but I will at least offer a verbal response, and even a conversation if I have the time and they want it (mostly they don't.)
I don't understand why we can't figure out a way with all the things we produce and wealth we have to provide everybody the things they need to live. I know communism won't get, and I understand it's because of human nature, but I don't know why it has to be that way. We have the technology and the resources, just not the willpower. We'd rather have mansions for the few than housing for the many. We're animals when you get right down to it. Greedy, short-sighted, thoughtless, animals.