Tag Archives: Fairness

NYC “Feminists” Demand the Right Not to be Seen as Sex Objects. By Going Topless.

boobs baby

boobs babyIt’s possible that “progressives” have weekly meetings to decide what action they can take to simultaneously shock the rational sensibilities of thinking people and even further divorce themselves from reality. And it’s becoming more and more clear these meetings are taking place in New York City, the “progressive” mecca.

In a breathtaking display of hypocrisy and laughable lack of self awareness, “feminists” have decided the best way to achieve “equal rights” (that they refuse to understand they already have) and not be seen as “sex objects” is to parade around topless in public. After all, men do it! It’s only fair! And according to low functioning “progressive” leftists, fairness is not only a real concept, but also something we can legislate. So don’t you dare demand anyone behave with a shred of common decency because, dammit, women have the right to be naked in public. It’s all about feelings, folks. And these women are having a crisis of emotion over the tyranny of t-shirts.

New York City police officers have been instructed not to arrest women who’ve chosen to bare it all from the waist up in public, but have instead been told to disperse any crowds that may form around said topless women, even though crowds shouldn’t form because “progressives” are telling us that boobs in your face on Madison Avenue are totally normal because shut up, Woman Hater.

Proponents shriek this is a good step toward eliminating “unconstitutional gender discrimination”, proclaiming little more than the fact that they’ve never bothered to read the Constitution. In their defense though, when would they have time to educate themselves on our actual rights as Americans when they’re so busy creating “rights” they wish we had? Reality is hard, and oftentimes unfair. Is no one thinking of the female nipple’s self esteem?

There’s even a group of women who’ve banded together to organize protests in favor of lewdness and indecency and they’ve managed to summon the audacity to compare it to the right to vote. They call themselves “Go Topless” (creativity is hard) and they fancy themselves modern day suffragettes, but this time they’re marching for a much nobler cause than votes. They’ve decided that a woman’s value should be placed on her sexuality, that she’s no more than the sum of her parts. Elizabeth Cady Stanton would be so proud.

I’m a fan of equality and I’m a fan of boobs. I have both. I’ve used both to my advantage. But, and call me old fashioned if you wish, if modern “feminists” have decided that my having to wear a shirt in public means I’m a victim of a patriarchal society, I will happily embrace that “oppression”. Because fairness.

Senate GOP Supports Remote Control Taxation

Mark Twain on Tax ManThe next time you see any of the following Senate Republicans:

Lamar Alexander (TN), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Richard Burr (NC), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Dan Coats (IN), Thad Cochran (MS), Susan Collins (ME), Bob Corker (TN), Mike Enzi (WY), Deb Fischer (NE), Lindsey Graham (SC), Chuck Grassley (IA), John Hoeven (ND), Johnny Isakson (GA), Mike Johanns (NE), John McCain (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), Jeff Sessions (AL), Richard Shelby (AL), John Thune (SD), Roger Wicker (MS)

Ask them why they joined tax–and–spend Democrats and voted for the disingenuously named “Marketplace Fairness Act” that expands the size of government and extends crony capitalism by allowing states to force online and mail order retailers to collect sales tax from shoppers that don’t live in the state where the retailer is located.

When does a conservative philosophy include coercing retailers based in a state with no sales tax into collecting sales tax for states that do? How can the laws of Virginia apply to a company doing business in New Hampshire?

As of now a state can only require a company headquartered elsewhere to collect sales tax if the firm has a physical presence (a store, warehouse, distribution center) in the state that wants the tax collected. Obviously Wal–Mart, Sears, Home Depot and so on already collect sales tax because they are located nationwide. Amazon and eBay only charge sales tax in California where they’re located and a few states where distribution centers are located.

Consumers who buy from out–of–state online stores are supposed to send a check to their state revenue service each year in the amount of sales tax they would have paid locally, but the honor system for tax payments does not seem to be working.

States could withhold a percentage of your paycheck each year to cover the estimated amount you would pay in online sales tax. (Does term ‘withholding’ ring a ball?) At the end of the year you could file a return with receipts from online purchases and if you spent less than the state estimated, you would get two refunds, instead of just one!

Somehow state politicians don’t think this idea would be too popular. Instead they want the federal government to force online retailers who don’t have a location in their state, don’t use any services in their state and don’t have any representation in their state to collect taxes for their state. And if they don’t, the state will seize the company’s property through court proceedings in a state where the company isn’t located. It’s remote control taxation without representation.

I can understand why Democrats support this, it’s right up their alley. What I can’t understand is how a Republican that’s supposed to support limited government can vote for it. The rationalization they use is “fairness,” which is the handmaiden of “share the wealth.”

Proving he can string clichés with the best of them, Sen. Enzi says, “This bill is about fairness. It’s about leveling the playing field between the brick and mortar and online companies and it’s about collecting a tax that’s already due. It’s not about raising taxes.”

So the fact you will now be paying more tax is just an unfortunate byproduct that can’t be blamed on Enzi.

I’m with the folks at Catholic Online who describe the bill thusly: “There’s nothing fair about a tax whose sole purpose is to punish businesses that employ an efficient business model. The tax does nothing to improve consumer choice, rights, or value. It’s another case of big business using its influence in Washington to compete by legislation against small, private retailers.”

Enzi can spout “fairness” all he wants, but the bill is about revenue.

This bill will cripple smaller online operations that have created a niche business on eBay. The magnanimous potentates in the Senate have graciously agreed to exempt businesses that don’t gross $1 million in yearly sales, but that just proves how ignorant politicians are regarding the market. A business that grosses $1 million might net 10 percent of that amount if they’re lucky. There’s no room in $100,000 to hire someone to manage sales tax collection for the 50 states.

The bill also requires states to provide “free” software to help retailers become revenuers. We all know how well that’s going to go. For a look at Virginia’s adventures in software see here. And if the state can’t get the software to work, there’s no penalty. But if the company can’t get the software to work it wins a nice tax lien.

This bill is crony capitalism attracting Republicans who confuse being “pro–business” with being “pro competition.” They are dupes of businesses that want to limit competition rather than compete.

Local retailers already have an advantage over online retailers. The product is in stock. The customer can examine it. If the customer has a question, there should be an informed salesperson nearby ready to provide information (I realize you can fire a howitzer in Wal–Mart, Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot or Costco and not hit a salesperson, much less an informed one, but we’re talking an ideal competitive situation here). Even better there are no shipping charges when one buys locally. And if the product is defective or the buyer changes their mind, it’s returned locally.

Meddling in the market on behalf of favored businesses is second nature for Democrats, but you would think GOP members would know better. Here in Washington, DC an out of control city council is busy writing regulations to ruin the business of lunchtime food trucks in downtown DC. The justification is identical to that of the “Marketplace Fairness Act.”

Brick and mortar restaurants are complaining that food trucks are stealing customers and they don’t have to pay property taxes like the restaurants do. Sound familiar? But even if the council banned food trucks altogether — and with this council you never know — there would not be a boost in lunchtime restaurant business because the restaurants and the food trucks serve a different customer base.

Food truck customers are in a hurry. They line up; they grab the food and head back to the office. Or sit on a park bench and fight the pigeons and the homeless for their fish taco. The food trucks don’t take credit cards and the prices aren’t all that cheap. But the process is faster than a sit down restaurant and there’s no tip.

If food trucks vanish, customers will bring their lunch or visit a deli or sandwich shop that is faster than a restaurant. They won’t be filling a table at whatever uppity lunch spot is hot this month.

A conservative would hope the “Fairness” the bill is DOA in the House, but there are dupes everywhere. Rep. Steve Womack (R–Wal–Mart) explains, “Obviously there’s a lot of consumers out there that have been accustomed to not having to pay any taxes, believing that they don’t have to pay any taxes. I totally understand that, and I think a lot of our members understand that. There’s a lot of political difficulty getting through the fog of it looking like a tax increase.”

If the esteemed representatives really want to “level the playing field” with online merchants, then lets go all the way. Charge the sales tax but require local merchants to make the following changes:

  • Customers in the store can’t actually hold the merchandise; instead they must examine a series of small photos.
  • If customers have a question regarding a product, they are required to email or call customer service for information. Hold time must be at least five minutes and you have to press three numbers to guarantee an answer in English.
  • Customers won’t be able to get buying advice from salespeople, but they can go through a box of 3X5 cards filled with poorly spelled recommendations from anonymous random people who may or may not actually own the product.
  • Customers may buy the product at the store, but they must wait five days to pick it up and they must pre–pay a pickup fee. If the customer wants the product sooner, they must pay a larger pickup fee. In no case can the customer get the product in less than 24 hours.
  • If the product is defective or the customer changes their mind, they must ship the product back to the store, rather than take it themselves.

Brick–and–mortar stores with high prices and disinterested staff deserve to lose out to online merchants. It’s what happens in a competitive marketplace, unless Big Government politicians start interfering.

The Fallacies of Fairness

imaginefairness

We hear it repeatedly from the left: so-and-so’s not paying his “fair share.” Or “that’s not fair!” Or the rich need to pay their fair share. Or fair trade, not free trade. And for good reason: the notion of fairness is so vague, it bears repeating in whatever context the left deems appropriate.

But what is fair? The left thinks it’s really unfair that people who don’t work, or do work that isn’t valued much in the labor market, aren’t given their fair share of the profits that rich folks receive by providing more demanded products in the marketplace.

Half the country doesn’t pay income taxes. Is that fairness? The government is billing each household over $200 in a single day, more than the median income salary, without their permission. Is that really “fair”? Imagine you opened your credit card bill and each day an unauthorized charged for $212 appears. That would make anyone peeved.

The top 10% of income earners pay 70% of the taxes. How is that not enough? While Democrats on news outlets like CNN insist that the only way to get the debt-to-GDP level down to 40% by 2035 is through tax increases, even if the so-called Bush tax-cuts expire and rates on the rich go up, we’ll generate $83 billion a year or a whole eight days of “revenue” annually. Whoopee.

How about we slash spending and live within our means? Government, through the inflation that comes from buying its own debt, jacks up gas prices, utility prices, and food prices, hitting the poor hardest. It thus creates the need for poorer people to turn to the government for food stamps. This Keynesian-created vicious cycle is somehow fair?

Government inflates education tuition rates with its student loan programs and then bails the indebted students out by subsidizing their loans’ interest rates. Meanwhile, the job market is thoroughly saturated with graduates with  low-demand liberal arts and humanities degrees that colleges offer and to the extent that more than half of new grads can’t find a relevant job. This doesn’t strike me as “fair.”

Perhaps it’s heartless to think this way, but it seems impossible that someone is entitled to things he has done little or nothing to contribute to making. Just because someone is born on earth, he is neither owned by society, nor does he own society. Mutual slavery is not the natural condition of man.

But capitalism is taken to mean exploitation. Property is theft, as the radical slogan goes. So who should control it? “People,” says the leftist. And who should control the people? “No one.”  So how should the equal distribution of property be governed? “Democracy.” Then people vote for politicians who will make it equal? “Yeah.” And politicians will always make things equal because… ‘blank out’ (to borrow a phrase of Ayn Rand’s).

Or alternatively: “We all just come together and share stuff.” But no one has any clue how a business or any organization can function that way. Maybe that’s the point – disorganization is freedom, ahem.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. Wealthy people’s money did not come at other’s expense without government arm-twisting. If someone thinks work is inherently exploitation and willingly paying for a product is being gouged, then it’s hard not to feel embarrassed for him.

So, Bill Gates exploits people, because Windows Vista sucked and was overpriced? Touché. But people cannot profit in a marketplace unless they provide something that is valued by the people willingly buying it. And they cannot charge whatever price they want for their crap, unless they have some brand-capital to burn. Like Microsoft did. It had to revamp and offer a new OS upgrade incentive on Windows 8 or spook people that didn’t want to get burned again.

No one gets screwed over when he voluntarily plops down $200 for some computer software. Like Bill Whittle put it, “nobody trades down.” People either prefer parting with their cash or going without a new Operating System.

The flip side of all the progressives’ complaining about being exploited by rich people is that a lot of those nasty bastards mass produce or mass market things that improve people’s standard of living. Apple makes IPads that do things that boggle the mind for the price of a low-wage earner’s salary for a few weeks of stocking shelves. Is that really unfair? Or someone working at McDonald’s can earn enough in an hour to feed himself for a day. That is definitely not considered “unfair” in non-capitalist systems around the world.

There is a lot of hand-wringing about supposedly evil Wal-mart, which saves people on tight budgets a bunch of money (or else they wouldn’t shop there). Its employees make about as much in three days as it costs to buy a medium-sized flat screen TV. And for what? Certainly nothing comparable to the marvels of engineering it took to build and ship the televisions to the store.

That’s not a knock on Wal-mart workers; they have necessary and tough jobs. But let’s not pretend it’s unfair that they aren’t paid the same as people who got themselves into debt and invested the necessary time and effort to graduate from college —  at least with meaningful degrees (and let’s be honest, most colleges don’t exactly have rigorous standards).

But young people expect government to clear all obstacles in their path to success. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. No one can be great unless he overcomes adversity. Looking to government to remove all hardship from life is a fatal illusion. This misperception has aided government’s growth to dangerous proportions.

All politicians can really do is pass the buck to other people or to generations down the line. Not owning up to this basic TANSTAAFL economic reality is harmful to people’s integrity and also to the young folks who will pay the price for it.

Young people are now saddled with $200,000 in national debt for all the gifts government is giving out (yes, I did go there). Where is the money going to come from? A lot of people don’t know and don’t care.

What about rich people? They have so much and poor people have so little. If only there were so many truly poor people in this country! There are a lot of folks below the poverty line who are rich by world standards, and it isn’t because of perpetual-poverty creating entitlement programs. Many own cars and televisions and cell-phones… not exactly the picture of sub-Saharan Africa.

But let’s dispel the myth anyway that soaking the rich is going to pay for all of our stuff: the government could seize all the incomes and savings of the so-called 1% and run the country for about a year.

We’re turning into a nation of beggars, and Americans who are getting something for nothing should stop burdening society. There is nothing fair about subsidizing the takers and penalizing the makers.