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Sep 01

4th Issue New Voice For Politics

4th Issue New Voice For Politics

In this Issue
How to Reduce Debt: Show Me the Savings and I’ll Show You the Money – How being selfish will help others
Do It in the Kitchen, Not the Bedroom – Where to make a difference in politics and improve society
Am I Evil? – A hard rock hard look at the profit motive


How to Reduce Debt:
Show Me the Savings, and I’ll Show You the Money

by J. A. Gedra

Many people find themselves in debt for a variety of reasons: college loans, medical bills, or acquiring a large collection of beany babies. For whatever reason, many people now owe more money than they have. What can be done to fix their finances? The best way is to decrease spending. Instead of spending their money on more goods and services, people can apply their saved money to the debt they owe.

How much one needs to cut back depends on a variety of variables, but the most import thing to do is to start cutting back. For example, try to reduce your spending by 1% or one penny for every dollar spent. Can you cut back one penny? Instead of spending $100 dollars on a new pair of jeans is it possible to restrain yourself and only spend $99?

This cutting back of 1 penny for each dollar spent is called the Penny Plan, and it has been suggested as a way to fix the Federal Budget of the United States of America. At this time, the Federal Government owes over $16,000,000,000,000, and the situation is becoming worse with a federal deficit of just under $800,000,000,000 for the 2013 federal budget. According to onecentsolution.org, “If the government cuts one cent out of every dollar of its total spending (excluding interest payments) each year for five years, and then caps overall federal spending at 18 percent of national income from then on, we can reduce federal spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years and balance the budget by 2019.”

Such a simple plan, what could go wrong? Everyone agrees that there is a great deal of fraud, waste, and abuse in government programs; therefore, no government employee should oppose a decrease in government spending, right? Wrong. Every government employee agrees that there is a great deal of waste in government spending, but interestingly the waste never occurs in their own agency. In fact, not only is there no waste, their program needs additional funding. Apparently all federal employees are far sighted; they can see the abuse in other government agencies but are completely oblivious to the abuse in their own.

What explains federal employees’ vision problems? The problem lies in the fact that federal employees, like all human beings, are motivated by self-interest. They realize that a cut in spending means that they have less. No one wants to lose, we are all loss averse. Instead of accepting a cut to their budget to help the overall Federal Government, federal workers kick and scream about the inhumanity. Any mention of a potential cut results in wailing that millions of children will starve, elder citizens will be thrown out on the streets, and zombies will rise up from their graves, because the 1% cut has brought about an apocalypse and the end of all life on he planet. It makes one wonder what would happen if a 2% cut was asked for.

Is there a way to prevent the cacophony of complaints that arise every time a decrease in spending is suggested? Yes. People fear decreases in spending because of self-interest, they fear loss. If you want people to not complain and even help decrease spending, an incentive system needs to be developed where federal employees personally benefit from decreases in spending. I call it the More Money for You Plan. In order to help motivate program directors to discover and reduce government waste, they will be rewarded with a finder’s fee. If they can reduce their program’s budget by 1%, they will receive 10% of the money saved. For example, a program with a $100 million dollar budget would need to decrease its spending by $1 million. Once this decrease has occurred, the director of this program would receive $100,000. I am willing to bet most directors will discover all kinds of savings once they start to be personally rewarded for reducing their budget.

 


Do It in the Kitchen, Not the Bedroom

by Rob Kendall

I describe myself as a recovering idealist. During my two years in elective office, I have come to the realization that I will never have 100 percent of the government I want; in all honesty, I will be lucky to attain 50 percent of what I desire. Faced with this reality, I wrestled with how I might respond to this disappointing state of affairs? Should I pack up all my toys, channel my inner Cartman, and shout, “screw you guys, I’m going home?” Sure I could, but what does that achieve? I have decided to forgo my initial desire and take a different path. My goal has transformed into a desire to attain as much reform as I can, within the confines of the system.

This means developing solutions with realistic expectations. During a recent radio roundtable discussion that I participated in, I kept hearing calls for the government to be completely removed from education. This is a nice desire for many, as good teachers are often stymied by government requirements and red tape, but it will never happen. There will always be a public education system, overseen by government, and paid for by taxpayers. So why even propose something like eliminating government from the equation? What good does it achieve?

Today’s polarized political climate has turned into a tug of war match with the public being torn apart in the middle. Sure, there are issues where lines should be drawn in the sand, but those are rare. On most topics, some form of compromise can and should be offered. The question becomes where can common ground be found. My advice is to stay out of the bedroom and head to the kitchen.

Gay marriage and family planning, especially with younger voters, are not simple issues. They are wedge issues, which serve to strengthen support with some and further alienate others. Only in golf can a wedge liberate you from a sand trap. In politics, a wedge will cause you to rapidly sink into political quicksand. If you wish to be heard, you need to stay focused on ideas which resonate with most people. If you want to turn a concerned citizen into concerned citizens, people should spend time talking about solutions for issues that impact almost every person encountered.

These common concerns are referred to as kitchen table issues, because they are topics discussed around almost every kitchen table in America: the economy, infrastructure, quality of life, and education. Whether you are a homosexual, heterosexual, Christian, atheist, pot smoking hippie, and/or straight edge punk rocker, all need a means of transport to carry them away to a job or other activity, which they have been educated for in order to attain a satisfactory life. Kitchen table issues usually do not make headlines, but talking about them consistently, showing concern for an individual’s economic betterment, and providing viable solutions could lead to a real improvement in society.

This is not to say that other issues are not important or relevant, but it is hard to convince others to change their mind about bedroom issues. If you want to make a difference in politics, you need to listen to more Kenny Rogers. “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.” You need to run away from the bedroom and enter the kitchen.


Am I Evil?

A Hard Rock Hard Look at the Profit Motive

 

Part 1 of the Listening to Rock Music to Talk about Economics Series

 

by Lita Mustang

 

“Large corporations are evil,” shout protesters in the streets. “Why are they evil,” asks a reporter? “Because they make profits” is the reply. The protestors argue, “It only costs a certain amount to make their product, and they charge more.” “What do you think should happen to these profitable corporations,” queries the reporter. “We should burn them”, shriek the irate as they gyrate in the streets!

Now, I will not dispute that chanting in the streets about the evils of corporations can be enjoyable for some; after all, it is great aerobic exercise, nice way to meet like-minded individuals, and most chants have a good beat. But is it true that making a profit is evil? If this were true, does that mean the only moral company is one that loses money? Furthermore, would the most moralistic company be the one that is going out of business because it has lost all of its money? Should the successful CEO ask themselves, “am I evil?” Must a company be a financial failure in order to be a moral success?

There is nothing inertly immoral in making a profit. In fact, I would put forward that consistently making a profit is actually proof that your company is morally righteous. A company can set their price for a product to be anything that they want in a free market. The Garden Inc. could charge $3 and Wicked Garden Inc. could charge $3,000 for a dozen roses. It is a free market, and they can charge whatever they want, but there are consequences. At $3 for a dozen, The Garden would lose money on each sale, while Wicked Garden would make a large profit on each of their very infrequent transactions.

Some might argue that it is immoral to charge $3,000 for a dozen roses, but it is not depraved to charge such a sum if people are willing to pay it. Most people will agree that no one with a good head on their shoulders would pay $3,000 for a dozen roses or fall to pieces if they are deprived of their bouquet. Such expensive flowers are foolish to buy, but they are not immoral to sell, because no one is compelled by force to buy the roses. Armed florists are not breaking into people’s homes and forcing them at gun point with Velvet Revolvers to buy roses. No one has ever heard “do you want the guns or roses.”

If people are willing to pay more than the cost that it takes to produce the flowers, the company is moral because it is producing a good valued by others. Wicked Garden is providing people with what they want, they are satisfying a need. No one is ever forced to buy flowers, they are simply provided with an opportunity.

There is only one way a company can remain profitable over time, they sell a product at a price people are willing to pay. If no one bought roses for $3,000, Wicked Garden would go out of business. If customers approve of their prices, flowers will sell. The power lies with customers, they decide with their purchase which companies will be successful.

We should recognize profitable companies for what they are, a benefit to society. They provide adults with what they want. How is that evil?

 

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