Tag Archives: protest

Colin Kaepernick is… not necessarily unpatriotic

You’ve no doubt seen the deadlines lately. Long story short Colin Kaepernick didn’t stand up during the National Anthem because reasons and now everyone is in a big stink over it. I say reasons instead of actually providing a description because I don’t want to misrepresent what it is CK is protesting or oversimplify his thoughts on the issue. I’m not too big on the whole BLM thing so I would probably do it a disservice, but if I had to sum it up, he’s protesting police brutality and systemic oppression of black people in America.

People are calling him unpatriotic, and calling for him to be kicked off the team, and demanding things from the NFL, and the laundry list of usual demands that Americans of all stripes are quick to shout out over every single perceived slight.

People got mad when that crazy BLM supporter killed a bunch of police officers, and rightfully so. It was horrible.

People get mad when BLM supporters riot in the streets and burn shit down and vandalize communities because it’s idiotic and destructive.

People get mad when BLM supporters shut down a free way to make a point like they did on the 15 freeway in San Diego just a few weeks ago.

But Kaepernick didn’t do any of this. He didn’t kill anyone, didn’t injure anyone, didn’t destroy any property, and didn’t inconvenience anyone. He didn’t stand on a flag, burn a flag, defile a flag. He didn’t even hang one upside down. All he did was… well, nothing. He’s getting flak for not doing something. All the stupid shit BLM and cohorts have done in the past year or so that pisses everyone off – Kaepernick didn’t do.

So I honestly feel like this is people grasping at straws, trying to make something out of nothing. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not on the BLM bandwagon, but let’s be real here. This fervor over Kaepernick is about frustration over not being able to silence dissenting opinions and actions.

It’s easy to dismiss BLM and it’s supporters when they do stupid shit like the burn down buildings. But it’s much harder to brush it aside when they aren’t being unruly. It’s as if people thought that the only way BLM could possibly get attention to their cause was to act like idiots, and now someone comes along and doesn’t do anything illegal or violent and still manages to draw attention to the issue on a national level. Touché. Kaepernick scored a hit and there really isn’t anything to be said about it. Nothing legitimate anyway.

In the absence of any complaints of merit, Colin’s critics have gone with the low blow insult of being unpatriotic. The left has their own list of low blow, cry wolf insults like accusing someone of being racist, or homophobic, or a bigot, or xenophobic. I’ve heard it all, been called it all. And the right has just dusted off their nuclear insult, the brand of being unpatriotic. Easy to hurl, hard to catch, it’s the perfect weapon of choice as a last ditch effort when all else has failed.

The objective of such an insult isn’t to get Kaepernick to find a more constructive way of expressing his opinions. At this point, it’s intended to just shut him up. The proof is in the pudding. He’s a quarterback for an NFL team, so now people are demanding he be fired so that they can take away his podium to silence him on an issue they hope to sweep under the rug quietly.

To many, the National Anthem, or the American Flag are symbols of America. But before we get mad about this, lets stop and thing about what these things really symbolize, and what Colin is protesting.

I won’t go all philosophical on you. I’ll go literal on you. America isn’t just one thing. America is a million things. American is the country. America is the people. America is the land. America is the government. America is our senators and congressmen. America is our president. America is the constitution. America is our military. America is our tax payers. America is our culture. And America is our systems. See what I mean?

I love our troops, I love our police and firefighters, but I sure don’t have many nice words for the people on Capitol Hill.

I love our constitution, but I don’t have an IRS flag waving in my front yard.

When you look at it from a different angle, it’s easy to see how you can love this country so much, but also be fed up by certain parts of it.

Anyone who says that Colin Kaepernick was disrespecting the armed services is being disingenuous because you know for fact that’s not what he meant. He has a very specific grievance against once aspect of this great country and he protested in the most polite, effective way he could think to do. I don’t advocate for BLM but if anyone can name even one way he could have expressed his feelings as effectively that wouldn’t have pissed everyone and their mom off, I would honestly be interested in hearing it. I mean really. What would you have the guy do? Something entirely useless like change his Facebook profile picture and share an angry post? Write a blog? Tweet something?

My dad served in the military for 20 years. Three of my grandpas served in the military and fought in several wars. I have an uncle in the Border Patrol. I have countless friends, and childhood mentors who were in the service. If I honestly thought that what Kaepernick did was an offense to those loved ones of mine, I wouldn’t be defending him. But here I am.

I’m not gonna offer up some moral equivalency argument “well if you think that’s unpatriotic, then you should be even more upset about the blah blah blah statistic from wikipedia blah blah”. Because again, I don’t entirely see eye to eye with Kaepernick on the issue he’s protesting, so I’m not defending his position of protest, just defending the way he’s protesting.

Let me share with you a true story. A couple years ago I was driving through my neighborhood as part of my then regular route, and I saw an American flag waving from a flag pole… upside down. I thought it was weird and it certainly caught my attention. I drove by the house again the next day, and the flag was still upside down. Day after day I drive past this house and each day, the flag is upside down. But at night, the flag is taken down and the pole sits idle and bare.

Finally after about a week, I was curious so rather than drive past the house, this time I drove to it. I parked my car and walked up the driveway towards the front door of a very pretty house in this nice, serine suburban neighborhood.  A car was parked in the driveway with a Marine Corp sticker on the back window. Odd. I knock on the door and sure enough someone answers. The door slowly opens to reveal a senior freakin’ citizen. Not the 22 year old, zulu plug adorned college kid with a Che Guevara t-shirt I would have suspected. No, it was some 70 year old white guy in khakis and a tucked in polo shirt. I ask the guy what’s up with the flag and if he knew that it was upside down. He explains that he was unhappy with the direction the country was going in, and had turned the flag upside down as a sign of protest. He told me about having served in the Marines, and we chatted for about 10 minutes about politics and things we’d heard about on the news. Hmm. Here was this old, white, conservative, veteran, male hanging the flag upside down in a conservative neighborhood as a sign of distress for the condition of our country. Who would have thought? I thanked him for his time, (naturally handed him a business card,) and went on about my way and that was that.

It never once occurred to me this man was unpatriotic or hated America or was disrespecting the police or our armed forces. And I don’t see how what Colin Kaepernick did the other day was any different.

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Trump Rally San Diego May 2016

Two days ago on Friday, May 27, 2016 I attended a Donald Trump presidential rally in San Diego, California at the Convention Center. It was a big deal for me because although this will be the fourth presidential election I’ll have had the opportunity to vote in, this is the first time I have ever done something remotely political aside from express my views online. None of the other elections really mattered to me like this one does, and I was surprised to find out that in this regard, I was not alone.

I’m 29 going on 30 this October, and almost none of my friends had ever been to a presidential rally, or political rally or protest, including my friend Brett who invited me and is the same age as me. That’s not so shocking. But I was shocked that people twice my age had never been to one. A guy I spoke to at the trolley station was in his mid 50’s and this Trump rally was the first time he’d ever ‘gotten involved’ in politics if you would call it that. A dozen or so other people I chitchatted with while I was in line shared a similar experience. Something about this election has awoken a sleeping populace of people who normally would be content to stay in the bleachers, but this time around felt inclined to get on the field.

The media narrative is that republicans are all white, racist, straight men. This is the narrative I’ve been told for years and even thought I always considered it bull, it’s been drilled into me for so long that I can’t help but admit I’ve come to believe the lies the media propagates, even the one’s they’ve said about me. So I will again admit I was surprised at the diversity of the crowd at and around the Trump rally and people donning Trump gear. I saw signs depicting Veterans for Trump, Hispanics for Trump, Women for Trump, Gays for Trump, Chinese Americans (heart) Trump. I knew I should have brought my “Secular Jews for Trump” sign, damnit!  I saw (what my bigot eyes believed to be where) a lot of Hispanics, Asians, Filipinos, whites, women, young adults, and seniors. Admittedly not a lot of black people but there were some. Granted, San Diego is only like 6% black.

Security was super tight. SDPD and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department had one hell of a show of force outside the convention center. We had to show our tickets to, and go through three levels of security before even being let into the building. Once inside the building we had to wait in line once more, this time going through a metal detector, with security being performed by the Secret Service and TSA.

Side note here, and please excuse my French: Here’s a big FUCK YOU to the mustached, douchebag, fat shit of a TSA agent who was a total asshole to me when I was emptying my pockets before going through the metal detector.

While I was waiting in line and once we got into the main event I got the tail end of Sarah Palin giving some speech about who knows what. I am not a huge Sarah Palin fan. She kind of reminds me of a 4 year old dressing in their parents clothes pretending to be a grown up, and her speech was no better. I had no idea what she was talking about. Something about snakes and lions and boots up asses. She kind of sounded like a seagull. Listen to her screech of a speech here.

There were A LOT of people inside. About 15,000. There were a couple rabble rousers but they were quickly ousted. Most of Trump’s speech was pretty on beat with his normal stuff, except for about 30 minutes where he droned on and on about some lawsuit he’s involved with right now concerning Trump University. I started to doze off. But aside from that I really enjoyed his speech. I can see how it’s a little easier for Trump to wander off topic than past presidential candidates. One has to remember that he is really the only big ticket candidate in decades who has a great deal of business going on outside the world of politics.  Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John McCain, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, these are all people who at the time of running were pretty much, solely politicians. When all you do is eat, drink, breath, and bleed politics it’s probably pretty easy to keep the conversation to politics. But remember, Trump isn’t a politician and other aspects of his professional life are bound to occasionally seep through in his speeches.

One of the things I liked about Trump’s speech is despite that fact that he might not have the favor of everyone in the country I get the vibe he legitimately wants to help everyone in the country, not simply his constituency. I feel like the typical left pander tactic is “vote for me and I’ll tax the shit out people who voted for the other guy and use their money to fund things my constituents care about”, whereas Trump plays more to the tune that our nation as a whole – and everyone in it – is getting taken advantage of on a global scale, with the exception of the political elite on both sides who have rigged the system.

Trump was quick to call attention to the media booth and rally scorn and boos in their direction. Which I kind of liked. He called out a federal judge by name. He called out other politicians and wheels of the system. He doesn’t allow people to hide behind their position, or their title, or the party, or their affiliations or status or prestige or privilege. He is not afraid to point fingers and name names. I loved it, but others consider it un-presidential. The irony is that for years and years the same people have done nothing but complain about how Washington politics are corrupt, how both political parties are in cahoots and playing the American public for fools, how we’re tired of these career politicians who have been in office for decades. And America got what it asked for. Someone with no political experience, who isn’t beholden to any political party and low and behold, he isn’t particularly presidential. Unlike most of us he has actually changed his registered political party several times over the past couple of decades showing that he votes according to issues, not according to party.

Once the event was over, organizers purposefully had the Trump attendees exit from the north end of the convention center to direct them away from the group of Anti Trump protestors at the south end, in an attempt to curtail any inter-group commotion.

I will admit that I was a little curious about the prospect of there being a counter rally. For months now I’ve heard of anti-Trump groups creating disturbance and inciting violence at or around Trump rallies. Just a few days prior to the San Diego rally, things got pretty out of control in Anaheim, another Southern California city just a hopscotch a way from San Diego. Just as I had never been to a political rally before, I also had never firsthand seen a riot or protest, and certainly never seen civil unrest. It definitely crossed my mind that something might go down.

Local law enforcement had different plans. Unlike me they had no interest in seeing any uncivil commotion and pretty much had the area surrounding the convention center on lock down well in advance of the event itself. Law enforcement closed all roads immediately in front of the convention center as well as several trolley tracks. This was coupled with hundreds of those portable event fences that link together, and those large orange traffic barricades. There were members of the San Diego Police Department as well as the Sheriff’s Department. In terms of actual manpower, I think there were in the neighborhood of 150 SDPD, and another 50-70 from the Sheriff’s department.

The SDPD were wearing their signature all black uniforms. While some were in street attire with modest equipment like batons, others were in riot gear, with the riot helmets, riot vest, shin guards, zip-tie cuffs, and the occasional AR-type rifle. The Sheriff’s department in their version of OD green was almost entirely decked out in full battle rattle. A couple of them had those paintball guns with the chili powder balls.

To the left, San Diego Sheriff’s Department in green. To the right, San Diego Police Department (SDPD) in black.

I’ll admit I was kiiiiinda looking forward to seeing some crazed protestor hop the fence and get pelted just for the novelty of the experience. I suppose if I want to see that I need to go to LA County.

The next day when I read the news online, there were reports saying there were 1,000+ violent protestors. Uhhhh. The most I spotted were like 120 people crammed into an area the size of my 1400 square foot house, right before the event started, and they were totally outnumbered by the pro-Trump people. Perhaps we missed some action while we were inside the event itself. It was actually pretty pathetic and a bit of a let down. I wanted to see some action!

The authorities had the place on lock down from the get go – the really nipped any plans for violent protest in the bud. There were still a couple dozen or so protestors but at least while I was street side it was pretty harmless. They were so severely outnumbered by the pro-Trump rally members that even their chants were drowned out by the opposing pedestrians. Proving what we already knew, that San Diego is still America’s finest city.

All in all it was a fun experience. I am glad I did it. I can certainly see how going to these types of things is energizing. You can feel the excitement in the air as people waited to see him. The organizers did a fantastic job with security and herding the crowds around the event. Law enforcement did an amazing job keeping the peace. Trump’s performance was routine, and as expected. If Trump gets elected this will be the first time I ever saw a U.S. president. I’ve never seen Obama in person, or Bush, or anyone else for that matter so this might turn out to be quite the experience.

No Escape: Movie Review

So I’m a little rusty on my movie reviewing, so bear with me. I think I saw a trailer for this movie a couple months ago, not really sure. Anywho I went and saw an early showing of No Escape last night up in Mira Mesa, and had no idea what to expect, which is a good thing.

Here’s the spoiler-free run down of the movie: Owen Wilson is an American family man who relocates his wife and two daughters to an unnamed Southeast Asian country (we know because it borders Vietnam) for a new job after his previous employer went belly up. Times are tough, tough enough to move to a third world nation in pursuit of a job.

Their flight lands, and we enter the culture shock sequence for the family as they don’t speak the language, and the nicest hotel in town doesn’t have working television, internet, or phones, and all the other first world luxuries we take for granted. But, the family meets a boisterous, western expat, Pierce Brosnan, who helps point them in the right direction. Yay, a fellow white person! This place isn’t too scary anymore. No, but seriously, right?

The foreplay is short. Maybe 12 minutes into the movie shit hits the fan. As Owen Wilson is roaming the area trying to find a newspaper, he inadvertently ends up in the middle of a violent confrontation between riot police and an angry mob armed with machetes, bats, and AKs. Think Hotel Rwanda, but in Asia, and way fucking scarier.

Wilson darts and dashes his way through the city trying to find his way back to his hotel and family, while also avoiding the mobs. He reunites with his family, and parental instincts kick in as mom and dad struggle to safely navigate their way through the perilous city, with kids in tow.

What to know what happens next? Go see for yourself.

No Escape will have you on the edge of your seat and cringing from start to finish. The movie was definitely action packed but not in the typical Liam-Neeson-throat-smashing way we’ve grown used to in the past couple years. Remember, our protagonist isn’t Jason Bourne, he’s a family man, and on top of that he’s got his wife and two little girls with him, and they have no idea where the hell they are. So there is no bare chested ammo bandolier action hero. Just a dude doing the best he can to keep his family alive when all hell breaks loose in a foreign land.

The closest movie I can think of in terms of setting and that feeling of anxiety this movie brings, is The Purge: Anarchy, which came out almost a year ago, except No Escape has a much more realistic plot. Everyone in the Purge had 364 days to batten down the hatches and arm themselves to the teeth in preparation. This family isn’t even sure where to get their free continental breakfast and then bam, political uprising.

I don’t want to give away too much as far as the story goes, so I’ll leave it at that. The movie is very good. I was very surprised.

When watching movies like this, I always find myself thinking “I would do this, I would do that!” But then again I also watch a ton of zombie movies and like a weirdo I have actually invested a fair amount of thought into how I would survive an oh-shit situation. Most people don’t, including our main characters, which made this movie, and everyone’s acting very believable.

We haven’t seen Owen Wilson in too many movies lately so who knew what to expect here. We do know that we loved him in Wedding Crashers and a bunch of other comedies so this was a little off course for him, but let’s not forget he also knocked Behind Enemy Lines out of the park way back in 2001, which was also about an American dude running for his life from foreigners who want to kill him. Wilson did an amazing job wearing a lot of hats; husband, father, survivor, and if need be, killer.

Lake Bell, who plays the wife/mom, also does an amazing job in her role. She was reluctant to move overseas in the first place, and you can feel a little bit of that tension between mommy and daddy from the onset of the movie without rubbing your nose in it. Even in the midst of chaos the parents can still have tiffs, for better or worse.

Even the little girls did an amazing job, portraying believable pains in the ass. You just wanted to yell “I’m trying to save your life now for the love of Christ shut up and don’t make any noise or they’ll find us and kill us!”

Oh, and Pierce Brosnan was there too. He really didn’t have a huge role, but I enjoyed his 10 minutes of screen time and social commentary.

It’s difficult to summarize this movie because it’s not that kind of a movie, where it’s told like an epic story, with compartmentalized events. So here’s my conclusive list of bullet points on the film:

  • Owen Wilson killed it.
  • Actually, all the actors did an amazing job, and made it feel so real and believable.
  • The story is interesting and realistic, and it doesn’t stumble.
  • There is no central villain, or a bad guy with an eye patch. The antagonist is human nature.
  • You’re on edge the entire time. The movie steals your attention and won’t let it go. Not even for a second. Trust me, you won’t zone out in the second act.
  • You’ll have plenty to talk about in the drive home after the movies.
  • It was an unexpected, pleasant rush of adrenaline at the tail end of an already action packed summer movie season.
  • The story was different, and something you aren’t used to seeing.
  • There was a thin veneer of social commentary about (illegal) immigration, corporatism, and western interventionism, but it wasn’t dragged out, and it didn’t overshadow the fact that the characters are literally being chased by people who want to kill them.
  • The movie was actually too short.

All said and done, No Escape was a very good movie, and I highly recommend you go out and see it. I give it an A-, and that’s only because I thought the movie was too short, and I could have gone for a few more rounds, maybe 20-30 minutes more longer would have been nice.

Go see this movie!

Arguments Against Minimum Wage Hikes

This is by no means a formal thesis on my stance against increasing minimum wage. Sorry, no statistics, no numbers, no conclusive studies from universities. Just reasoning, common sense, and personal experience.

As always, I have to give a stupid disclaimer. No, I do not think that everyone who earns minimum wage is an idiot, or lazy, or a bad person, or deserves a shitty life. That’s not my opinion. But it doesn’t affect my stance on the issue one bit. Sorry, pulling no punches this time.

Why am I against increasing the minimum wage? Read on.

Employees are Expensive

When people think employment they think of words like company, enterprise, corporation, which all have negative connotations and stir up imagery of monstrous evil entities with gazillions of dollars just laying around. I work for a corporation, and it employs two people, my mom and me.

Expensive personFor many businesses, labor is a HUGE expense. I don’t know percentages. And it doesn’t matter what percentage of operating costs are for labor, but it’s big, and relevant. How do I know? Go to any small mom n’ pop business in your local neighborhood. How many people do you see working there that aren’t owners? 1? 2? None?

If labor costs were the drop in the bucket that Wage Hikers make them out to be then every business on Mainstreet would be flooded with employees. But they aren’t. Because employees are fucking expensive.

And were not just talking their hourly or salary, but also their benefits, their PTO, workers compensation, and then paying unemployment once they no longer even work for you. Then, you add on top of it that employees these days are usually lazy and check their social media accounts for 4 hours, spend an hour in the bathroom, and do a half ass job the remaining hours, you realize that you’re paying your employees 8 hours for 2 hours of work.

Labor Costs Outpace Consumerism and Revenue

The big “counter attack” to the point above is “Well if employers pay workers more, then they can afford to buy more and then more people buy from that business and the business makes more money, and so then it all works out.

The premise is horrible for a multitude of reasons.

  1. It assumes that business revenue will increase. Big assumption. Higher labor could mean higher product costs, which could very well result in less customers, less sales, and therefore less revenue.
  2. It assumes that business revenue will increase immediately. Labor is an upfront cost. Meaning even if business will improve weeks, months, or years later, business can’t write I.O.U.s to their employees and wait for that increased revenue to come in. I have to pay my staff NOW. For many businesses they simply do not have money laying around to pay their workers more. It’s not a matter of fairness or equality. It’s a matter of accounting and budgeting.
  3. It assumes that business revenue will increase for every business. Even if certain businesses do see an increase in revenue, it will not be all businesses. The only businesses that will do better are those which hire low wage workers and whose consumer base is also low wage workers. So for example, fast food joints and movie theaters. Businesses that hire entry level workers but attract well-to-do clientele will not benefit from this at all. So the majority of businesses that cater to homeowners, the housing industry, contractors, real estate, will see their labor costs go up without a coinciding increase in volume or revenue.

People are Hired Based on Merit, not Circumstance

Yeah, yeah. Such-and-such lady is a single mom with two kids and she works four jobs and still can’t make a decent living at the current minimum wage, feel bad, yada yada.

And? Since when are people paid based on their circumstances, and not on their merit? What difference does someone’s sob story make? If and when I ever hire someone, the only thing I will care about is what can you do for me? How are you going to make me more money? Why should I pay you X amount? Now prove it.

If anything else mattered, people wouldn’t send in resumes and applications when looking for a job. Employers would ask candidates “How shitty is your life?” and then pay then commensurate with how shitty of a life they have. But that’s not the way it works because it doesn’t matter.

People Aren’t (Always) Worth Minimum Wage

LA recently increased their minimum wage to $15 per hour. A landslide victory for underqualified workers!

pay

Sometimes I consider hiring someone to help me out with simple tasks like writing thank you cards. My penmanship is absolute shit. I can barely read my own handwriting so that seems like a task worthy of being outsourced. Plus, it takes me forever. Why spend 5 hours writing thank you cards which is maybe $10 work, when I can writing policies which is $200 work?

Okay, so a card writer to work for three hours tops. What qualifications do they need?

  1. Good penmanship
  2. A pulse

That’s it.

Why the hell and I am going to pay someone $15 per hour to write thank you cards?

It Ruins the Pool of Candidates

Building on the previous point, not everyone is worth $15, $20, or even $10 per hour. Fact.

But having a lower minimum wage made it easier to distinguish between different tiers of workers when looking for someone to fill an opening in your business.

A $10 job attracted $10 workers. A $25 job attracted $25 workers.

Let’s say I was looking for an entry level position, again, to write thank you cards day in and day out. That’s their only job. It’s a $10 job, meaning the job is so simple that there’s no benefit to me to pay more than that, regardless of how qualified someone is. I post an opening on Craigslist and get a dozen or so people interested in the position. Let’s review the competition:

Candidate 1 – Very Overqualified: One girl is a grad student who expects $20 per hour. She’s got a bachelors in business administration and very qualified in her own right. Fair enough. She is worth $20 per hour, but my labor is not. I won’t pay $20 for $10 work. Pass.

Candidate 2 – Slightly Overqualified: This girl is still in college working on her undergrad. She doesn’t have a whole lot of experience but she’s working at it, and has good handwriting. She’s also bilingual. She’s worth $15 per hour. But again, I have a $10 job, so she is slightly over qualified. Pass.

Candidate 3 – Quality Match: Then comes some woman, 40 years old. Never graduated high school. Dropped out and had 2 kids. No college. Monolingual. But she does have great handwriting and low and behold, she has a pulse! We have a winner! But, oh shit, I forgot. Minimum wage is $15.

Now I am forced to pay someone $15, even if it is to do $10 work.

You would think this is a victory for the Wage Hikers. They think, “Aha! Andrew is now forced to hire this woman worth $10 per hour to work for him and pay her $15 per hour! Buahahahah! Our misguided plan has worked, and now low skilled people can get jobs paying higher wages! BRILLANT!

But hold on one second… that’s not exactly how it works…. Read on.

It Screws Low Skilled Workers

You can pass a law that increases minimum wage, but you can’t snap your fingers and improve the work force in a flash.

Minimum wage or not, I’m not going to hire a $10 worker for $15 per hour. For $10 per hour, Candidate 3 would have been a great choice, and she would have got the job. She’s worth $10 per hour, and I was willing to pay her $10 per hour.

Gun to my head, if I am forced to pay someone more money, I am going to find a worker who is worth it. Which means sorry Candidate 3, I’m stepping over you and moving straight to Candidate 2. True, I didn’t originally need to someone with college experience and who speaks two languages. However, if I am going spend a certain amount of money I am going to get every ounce of employee I can and sure they are worth every dime.

Example: If I was forced to spend $50,000 on a car, I would not have bought my $25,000 Nissan Xterra. I would have made sure to get a car that was worth the $50,000, such as a Land Rover, or fully loaded Jeep Cherokee.

The minimum wage changed. The candidates did not. When you raise the minimum wage, employers are going to stop hiring entry level workers and go straight to more qualified people who in their eyes would have been worth $15 per hour prior to the wage hike.

Employers are not going to suddenly stop thinking logically, and pay more money for the same labor. If they’re forced to pay better wages, they’ll get better workers, and they’ll fire their current work force without hesitation. Every candidate whose labor is worth less than the new minimum wage is going to have a very hard time finding a job and keeping it.

Conclusion

The long and short of it is that increasing minimum wage might help some people get paid more. But others will lose their jobs and either be replaced, or the employer might just decide to do without their position. It hurts the very people it intends to help. So it’s bad for employees.

It will also reduce consumption, and making hiring more difficult, so it’s bad for businesses.

Prices for goods and services will go up, so it’s bad for consumers.

When someone is bad for everyone, I don’t

 

Is Where You Choose to Live an Entitlement?

My interest has been piqued lately by a resurgence of the wage debate. Unions and labor forces across the U.S. have been staging protests over how much fast food workers should be paid per hour. This wage debate is nothing new. It’s been going on for years, decades, even centuries. See the French Revolution. In the U.S. this debate seems to flare up every couple years, and not coincidentally before election season.

A friend of mine recently posted on a link on Facebook about a recent San Diego fast food workers’ protest, which prompted a quick and furious online argument on his wall about the issue. But I am not here today to talk politics, or weigh in on this issue.

What caught my attention was that in the midst of all the arguing, my friend made a peripheral point that if people cannot afford to live on their current wage, that there are a number of solutions to their problem. If they cannot increase their wage, they can decrease their expenses, proposing that they move to an area with a lower cost of living. Mind you, this protest took place and my friend and I live in San Diego, California, so that narrows down the list of “Cheaper Places to Live” to practically everywhere else on the planet.

He was instantly hit with backlash. A friend of his shot back at him with, verbatim, “wait, living in San Diego is a privilege? that’s fucking ridiculous – if you were born there or your parents just ended up there before you, yanno, grew up, that’s a privilege, and you should move?

I didn’t reply. But my answer to him is “Uh, yeah dude.

He asked the question as if the rhetorical answer was “Well, um gee, when you phrase it that way, no I guess not.” But the answer is apologetically YES, YOU SHOULD MOVE.

This guy’s thesis is: Once you are born somewhere, living there indefinitely is a RIGHT, not a privilege.

Which is total bullshit, and let me break down why. I won’t use numbers and figures and charts and stats. Let’s break this down using real world practicality.

Personal Experience

I for one have always wanted to live by the beach. The cool weather, the quick job to the beach, the smell of ocean, the drunk college kids puking on my front lawn. Okay, aside from that last part, I’ve always wanted to live by the beach, but I couldn’t because it just wasn’t practical. Okay, you only live once, blah blah. But at the end of the day, paying an extra $200 per month on rent just wasn’t financially practical in my college years. By the age of 24 I had already learned that living where-ever-the-heck-I-want is not a right, was is in fact a privilege.

Micro Level

On a very micro-level, every responsible person chooses where they do and don’t live, based on what is financially feasible. If you have ever been on the market for a new home, and been hunting for the right house with a real estate agent, you know what I mean. One house is perfect. Maybe it has the big garage you’ve always wanted, it’s got a great view of the canyon, a pool, it’s in a good school district, or maybe it’s a 5-mile commute from your office. But reality kicks in. “Honey I’m sorry, it’s just out of our price range.

Macro Level

Now, shit’s about to get real. Show of hands, whose ancestors were born in the US? Most of our relatives at some point or another migrated here from abroad. Every year thousands of people leave their countries and migrate to the United States to call this country their new home. Some come from as close as Mexico like my grandparents did. Some come from as far as Russia, Asian, Africa, and the Middle East. Why do you suppose this is?

Entitled people who refused to leave their home town. (Sarcasm)
Entitled people who refused to leave their home town. (Sarcasm)

I don’t suppose they moved here because they thought the U.S. would offer them a worse life. They moved here because they thought they had more opportunity, could get better pay, land a better job, go to school, send their kids to school, or maybe avoid ethnic persecution. Whatever the reason, they all have something in common: They moved from A to B, because they thought it would bring them a better life.

These people quit their jobs, packed their bags, uprooted their families, moved thousands of miles, across oceans towards a new country, said goodbye to friends, relatives, neighbors, and their homeland, all of whom they’ll probably never see again, all for the shot at a better life. Some of these people cross treacherous deserts and risk death to illegally get hear, which albeit illegal still shows guts, determination, and sacrifice.

These immigrants can do all this, and yet some entitled U.S. born assholes still think living in San Diego, or this city or that city, is a right? Some people still think moving 300 miles out of state, or just to another city with a lower cost of living is unconscionable?

Excuse my French, but that, oh friend of a friend, is in fact fucking ridiculous.