Friday, August 28, 2009

Coming soon...Census explained

July 22, 2010 UPDATE!! Ok, do I reeeeeeally let the ball drop with this one. I had all sorts of advice for yall, and I overestimated the time impact homeschooling would put on me. It all boils down to this short anecdote....

Got a call from hubby one day that the Census worker had come knocking on our door. Not surprising, since I had 'neglected' to turn in my census forms, and I knew it was a matter of time. I was desperately hoping to be there when it happened, just to see what they would say to my answers, but alas I was out playing chauffeur somewhere when the big day came. Hubby handled it just fine, and after answering the basic 'how many peeps in your house' questions, the transcript went something like this:

Census Worker: "So what should I put down for your 'Race'?

Hubby: "Um, how about Ferengi?"

Census Worker: "Uh, ok, how do you spell that?"

Nuff Said.

What you can and can not do and why it matters. Check back later, these are just my research links.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Great Walmart Debate

I need to take a deep breath now, to settle myself. Right now I am feeling very discouraged and not a little bit angry at some fellow conservatives who I guess don't truly understand some of the values that define Conservatism.

Perhaps I am the one who doesn't understand?
Do conservatives believe in allowing the capitalistic forces of a free market system to unfold, whatever the outcome?
Do conservatives agree that we need less regulations on businesses, not more?
Don't we think that man is ultimately responsible for himself, for making his own decisions and living with the consequences of those choices?

When I hear things from fellow conservatives like, "Walmart is an evil corporation," "Walmart forces small hometown businesses out of town," "Walmart kills jobs," "Walmart buys cheap stuff from China and sells it to us," or the winner, "Walmart doesn't provide decent healthcare coverage," it just breaks my heart. Since when is it the job of any business to provide healthcare coverage? If someone doesn't like the benefits a certain company offers, then DON'T GO WORK THERE, Einstein! Oh? There aren't any 'other jobs'? Then move. There are always 'other jobs'. Common sense tells me Walmart would not be moving into an area that had no customers to begin with, now would they? It's not that there aren't any other jobs, its just that there arent' any other jobs that person WANTS to do. When Walmart moves in to an area, it increases the jobs, the revenue, the economic growth. Otherwise countless city councils across the country wouldn't be slobbering to get one in their city.

Now I am not condoning everything Walmart as a corporation does, especially the illicit 'imminent domain' deals they are complicit in. However, the blame for those catastrophies are to be laid directly at the feet of the City zoning boards that are perpetrating that particular type of crime on its citizens. Walmart, and other real estate brokers, are only the beneficiaries of these out of control elected officials' greed. I am not defending Walmart per se, I am only trying to use this company as an example, since they seem to be a popular target. I don't even shop at Walmart much anymore, but only because of their decidedly non-competitive coupon policy (oh, ok, I really wanted to say 'sucky,' but 'non-competitive' just sounds so much more civilized, lol). I actually do way better budget-wise at my local, more expensive, "boutique" store. Which, btw, has NOT been put out of business, and the competition is thriving. My point is this: Saying "Walmart did this, Walmart does that, Walmart is evil," is ridiculous. These same people are the ones who are quick on the draw when gun violence comes up in conversation, saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Walmart is a non-entity, it is a-moral, meaning it is incapable of having good or bad moral qualities. This personification of the 'evil corporation' is straight out of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, and it pains me to see my fellow conservative sisters and brothers using that twisted tool of propaganda.

One other bone of contention that comes up is the 'unfair wages' canard, followed closely by the 'cheap crap from China' arguement, which in my mind are related. Last time I checked, there was a federal minimum wage of $7.25 in this country. And last time I checked, conservatives were for less gov't intervention into what states did. A quick check of base Walmart salaries across the country listed their lowest paid employees as getting at least a dollar more than the minimum wage. And again, I point out that should that not be enough, said employee is FREE to get another job somewhere else. They don't keep these things secret, you know. They do tell you before you get hired what the pay is going to be, as well as the increase structure.

And as far as China is concerned, I am as gung ho as the next guy when it comes to buying American, but even I realize that you can't NOT buy cheap crap from china sometimes. That would be like a vegan or Peta freak saying they would never ever ever kill an animal for any reason. That's just not reasonable, nor possible. Just tell them to start by looking down at those leather doc martins they are undoubtedly wearing. LEATHER. as in dead cow. I don't blame anyone for the fact that there are some Chinese products that I have to buy. I do blame those here who cry the loudest, yet are the main cause of the problem to begin with, the unions, who have driven a lot of needed jobs overseas. Just place the blame where it is due, not on the nameless, faceless 'Chinese'. They are just doing their thing, after all, filling a void.

I applaud Walmart's ability to fend off unions (so far), which are primarily to blame for inflated wages in most other manufacturing areas. And inflated wages make for inflated product prices. It's simple economics. The more you have to pay your employees, the more your product is going to cost. Also, the more your product costs, the less of it you will likely sell. So no wonder stores are looking overseas for more inexpensive suppliers. And no wonder they are keeping costs in check by paying their employees what the market will bear. It is a cycle. And when the gov't puts artificial price controls on businesses, they are messing with the free flow of commerce, gumming up the works. Gov't has NEVER, EVER, NOT ONCE been successful at lowering the price of an item for any substantial length of time, and had that company come out more efficient and profitable. So why would we conservatives want to suggest starting that now?

What is killing me the most is that all of the above statements were made by confirmed conservative friends, all supposedly working to improve capitalistic endeavors thru, the American Constitution and Capitalism Defense Front. Individuals have their pet peeves, their opinions, and that is great, but when those feelings are in direct contravention to core conservative principles which they claim to adhere to, then those individuals need to take a closer look at what they really stand for.