Friday, March 11, 2016

Change: Deciding Who is Right

"Somethings gotta change!"

This seems to be the cry of anyone who wants to be in charge.  The cry has gotten louder as we are in the season of preparing to change our President.  The fact of "change" is that it always has costs and benefits.  The goal is to try and influence change where the benefits are greater than the costs.  Let's look at a couple of politically influenced changes.  I'm picking issues from both sides of the political debate.

The War on Terror

"Somebody has to pay for 9/11!".  

Benefits:

The World knows we mean business.  A lot of terrorists that were doing horrible things (bombing, killing, beheading innocent people) can no longer do those things.

Costs:

  • Over $1,000,000,000,000 (I think a trillion means more when it is written as zeros).  Expected to reach $5 trillion.
  • Our warriors personal sacrifice (losing their lives, separation from family, etc.)
  • An estimated 1/3 of our soldiers suffering from some form of mental disease or trauma as a result of the war, including suicide
  • More terrorists.

Welfare

"I'd rather have a thousand lazy bums live off my tax dollars than let one poverty-stricken family go without food or shelter" (I found this on Facebook).  

Benefits:

  • Reducing human suffering, especially for innocent children.
  • Giving people a chance so that they can become productive members of society (I'm mostly thinking about educational or training opportunities)

Costs:

If you take wealth from wealth producers and give to the "poor", the immediate result is a reduction in wealth.  If the recipients of welfare don't become wealth producers, the long term result is a further decrease in the reduction of wealth, which can result in an increase in poverty.

Immigration

"Build a fence" or "Path to citizenship for illegal immigrants".  I don't like these solutions so I will propose my own.   First, I'm not calling the people illegal, I'm calling their immigration illegal.  Many of the illegal immigrants are simply looking for opportunities to improve their economic or social situation.  They are willing to come here and work for lower wages, live at or below the poverty level and live at risk from our justice system BECAUSE here they find higher wages, higher standards of living and a fair justice system.  WE hire them as housekeepers, gardeners, laborers BECAUSE it improves our standard of living (we pay them less and have more money for other things). 

My solution: institute a worker permit program.  Let their employer(s) sponsor them for citizenship if that's the path they want. 

Benefits:

  • The illegal immigrants can have the dignity of living within the law.
  • Hopefully a reduction of people who prey on illegal immigrants ("coyotes")  
  • Our nation is strengthened as we can start enforcing immigration laws instead of turning a blind eye.

Costs:

  • More government bureaucracy as we try to enforce the law.
  • Some of these legal resident workers (a possibly small percentage) won't value our laws, customs or culture with possible negative side effects.
  • Once foreign workers become legal, if they are entitled to benefits provided by taxes, then one could argue that they should be taxed, which raises the costs of their wages, which promotes illegal citizenship.  

Writing about everything else

I could go on and on with healthcare, gun control, free trade, civil rights, abortion, drugs, affirmative action, balanced budget, smaller government.

Benefits:

To provide a more thorough comparison (I have thoughts on many issues.  It would be nice to put them in writing)

Costs:

My time writing this, your time reading it (if you got this far).

"A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention"


1 comment:

Rudy J Haluza said...

Hi Ron. Thank you for posting your thoughts on these important issues.

Many of the words and phrases used are loaded, so allow me to decode some of your message in a way that a contemporary progressive individual might and compare to how we on the conservative side intend.

Who is right? By that, a conservative means who is “morally correct”. The progressive might think “that is judgmental” and will attempt to shut-down the fledgling conversation by any means. I would like to further explore those techniques in future posts. Have you heard of “Nonviolent Communications” ? Also called Compassionate Communication or Collaborative Communication. Wiki has a good introduction and Summary of NVC, including criticisms.

Each issue is worthy of its own post. Perhaps in the near future we could come up with a top-10 list?

I especially agree with your take on Immigration. This issue has been used as a wedge for many years.
What does “immigration reform” mean? American voters need to be very careful with politicians that use the “reform” term. As vague as “hope and Change”, we cannot make serious policy without precisely defined words.
What America needs in regards to Undocumented Workers already here in the USA is:
Continued efforts at border control and security
- and - A guest worker program.

Yes, some immigrants may want to become citizens, but many, perhaps most, just want to work and to help their families back home. What America needs is:
Guest social security status, payroll taxes and commensurate benefits. Legal employment – all above board.
Not amnesty but a path to legal residence for those who deserve it.
Require a family or business to sponsor individuals
Possible need for family of origin sponsorship requirement

Question: What political forces are against a guest worker program? Some history can be found in the Bracero program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracero_program.


Please understand that I also hate politics. At the lowest level, politics is the art of getting your way though any means, using the whole range of nice persuasion to bullying, in its many forms. It is reality and we must be on aware of this to have a chance at persuading enough of our fellow citizens to vote smartly.

What I think we all want is sane public policy. How do we get there?