Monday, July 25, 2005

The Capitalist Manifesto, Part One

"We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money."

Not too long ago I got into an argument (albiet a civil one) with the guy I'm rooming with next semester. We were talking about taxation, government programs, and such. At one point he asked me whether I thought the government should provide for the people. My opinion? It would be pretty to think the government could provide adequate health and welfare programs for its citizens, but too often it shows what a remarkable mess it can make of such things. Because, let's face it, the Federal Gummint has become quite a cesspit of fiscal irresponsibility and enormous incompetence. Too often it bungles the programs that originally were intended to help the average Joe maintain his footing in terms of distress--but too often they leave the average Joe in a worse state than he was before they intervened.

It is my personal view that the individual states, counties, and workplaces should provide for the people. Does the state bungle things as well? Yes, it does, but on a much smaller level. And, anyway, a lot of time programs left up to states work much better than a federally mandated ones. Far below that, it seems only rational that a business should provide for the general welfare of its employees. In a truly competitive job market, employers would be jockeying for favor among potential workers to see who can offer the best benefits--thus wresting welfare programs out of the hands of the Feds and the state and putting them in the hands of private instituations who will probably be able to better handle them on an individual basis.

The amount of tax levied for archaic institutions like welfare and social security are very much disproportionate to the amount of good they'll do people. By the time a lot of folks hit retirement age, S.S. is going to be a complete bust. We'll have put God knows how much cash into it for zero return. I'm not an economist--thank Heaven--but that seems like a pretty silly thing in which to "invest."

At any rate, to answer my roommate's question in a roundabout way--no, I don't think the government should provide for the people. Why? Because when it does it inevitably makes things worse. Giving our cash to the Feds is like giving Curly Fine a frying pan and telling him to make dinner--you just know he's going to end up setting the house on fire, or some such devilment. The thing is, when Curly sets the parquet aflame, it's hilarious. When the Feds misplace or misuse our money, it's a travesty. It is, however, a travesty that many people assume is a success. Because, y'know, it's going towards helping people! Y'know, with, I dunno, welfare and shit. Yeah! Because the government knows what's best for us, right? After all, the Feds are the ones who gave us the IRS, and the INS (who guard our borders with about as much skill as they showed in keeping Mohammed Atta from taking down a tower on th WTC), and the low-flow toilet, and the...

You get my drift. After all, the government is in place because of us--too often people view the government as above the people in a sort of ex nihilo fashion, without realizing that it is only above us inasmuch as we gave it the power to be so. And it would be silly to pay the government for services which it should not have to provide, given how badly it mismanages them. But alas, these Federal programs are white elephants--easy to point out, but hard to get rid of.

The fact that my roommate could ask such a question shows how far we have gone down the road of socialist statism (or statist socialism, take your pick). And it's interesting to see how long ago the specter of welfare was raising its head. We are a generous nation--but sometimes in giving we forget our own limitations. And the limitations within the Federal Government are many.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I have recieved reports that my blog has not been exactly scintillating as of late. Though, looking at it logically, there's nothing that scintallating about being laid off and moving back home for a bit. However, if you're really THAT bored that you come to this site--of all places on the web--for excitement, here you go:

NOTE: If what you just saw piqued your interest in any way, go here now.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

So now I'm back home, looking for work. Probably not too much I can get in the last few weeks of summer, but I've got a couple contacts here in Buckingham that might be looking for help. All I really need is a way to pass the time, to feel semi-industrious before going back into the Academic Grind.
The only rough part is I have to go two weeks without seeing Maria. Hopefully one of those weeks will be spent at the beach to ease the heartbreak a little bit.

The only other remotely interesting thing in my life is a pet project I've been working on for some time. My dad and I were talking one time about how the "Bertie and Jeeves" series written by P. G. Wodehouse was supposed to be set in an Edwardian England where World War One had never taken place, sort of an idyllic fantasyland that never existed. My idea was, what if Bertie had gone off to war, with Jeeves as his bat-man? Thus was this story inspired. The first installment is here; more to follow as inspiration strikes me. (I'm upstairs reading a bunch of Wodehouse short stories right now in order to motivate my underachieving mental processes.)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

More updates, I suppose.

After some unpleasantness, I left the job at Air, Water, and Soil. It probably wasn't the best choice in terms of the first laboratory job I could have taken; after all, it was a commercial lab whose first priority is to make a profit. I'm all for that sort of thing, but since I don't know too much about actual real-world lab work, I needed training--and they couldn't afford to take the time to train me in what I needed to know how to do. That being the case, I found it better to leave rather than continue working under those conditions. So I am now currently searching for another job within the Fan area and immediate environs.

In happier news, I went to visit Maria at her parent's house this weekend. It was quite a bit of fun (of course). We went to Busch Gardens on the 3rd, and I actually rode a coaster with a loop (The Loch Ness Monster). I haven't ridden the Alpengeist yet, but I plan on doing it next time Maria and I go, since she has another free trip before her ticket expires.

Anyway, it was nice to see her parents again, this time officially as her boyfriend. Her dad is a professor at W & M and we were talking about the current state of things--President-elect Nichol, the budget, the Charter Initiative, and stuff like that. Her mom is Austrian and an amazing cook; I helped her make bruschetta at one point, from scratch. ('Twas delicious.)

But yes, although things have been rough in terms of employment and the lack thereof, there is enough in my life to convince me that things will be all right. I ran into a guy at CVS the other day, a 44 year old painter, out of work because he'd injured himself pretty badly at a jobsite. His medical insurance covered his bills but he was getting no pay while he was out getting surgery and such. I sympathized with him, told him I'd worked two summers at a construction company and knew how rough it could be. He gave me a friendly pat on the shoulder, pointed up, and said "Sometimes you just have to have faith that the Lord God is taking care of you."

Which gave me pause. I have a place to live, I'm in school, and I have two great parents who'll bail my sorry ass out of any dire monetary straits that I might happen to go through. This guy didn't have that, and yet he was able to keep on keepin' on. I think that man was at CVS that afternoon to give me a message: buck up and don't worry about it. Sometimes you just have to have to have faith that things will end up okay, even if the path there isn't exactly spec-frikkin'-tacular.