Minimum or Maximum Wage

I was reading or watching something the other day (I can’t find it now) that mentioned having a maximum wage, and I thought the idea was interesting.

Why would this be an issue?

Well, the widening gap between the richest 1% and the rest of humanity has been a growing problem:

The combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the other 99 percent of people next year unless the current trend of rising inequality is checked, Oxfam warned today ahead of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

So basically, instead of having a minimum wage, you would have a maximum wage. Either this would mean that people weren’t allowed to make over a certain number depending on their profession or (and I like this option better) depending on how much the highest paid person of that company makes, the lowest worker would be guaranteed a certain amount.

So for example (and these are hypothetical numbers) the CEO of company A makes $500,000 per year. This might mean that the lowest paid position in that company is guaranteed to make 10% of that amount, which would work out to $50,000 per year.

As wages for the highest paid positions go up, so to does the wages of the lowest paid positions.

The arguments I’ve heard against this position (or ones I could imagine) are that by capping wages, you take away the incentive to achieve more. This would especially be true in the first scenario that features a hard cap on wages, but the second scenario of scaling wages would still allow for wage increases but would simply mean that those wage increases would be across the board.

You could also argue that it will take a lot of bureaucracy to figure out a fair percentage between the highest paid positions and the lowest, but I don’t think that’s a great argument because it could be done given enough political will.

The most convincing argument against a maximum wage or scaled wage system is that it will chase companies away. They won’t want to operate within a system that doesn’t allow them to take advantage of…errr…increase their pay without also raising the pay of their employees.

Personally, I can see why that might raise concerns.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think either of these two ideas have merit or do you believe the way things run now is working better than either of these ever could?

Hell, I’m no economist. I’m surprised I’m even typing this because money and math both bore the shit out of me.

How did I get here? Where’s my teddy?

Anyhow, looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

 

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Re: Tribalism or Identity Politics

So I was going to write a longer response to Mak’s post, which offers some food for thought about Tribalism and identity politics.

I arrived home from work, and decided to sit down and watch a few videos before I would type up some sort of reply.

Coincidence led me to a video that offered a better response than I could give here in writing.

Please watch it to the end when you’re done reading this.

But just before that I want to address one small point that Mak made to my statement. I said:

The reason why I’ve written so much about ideologies lately on this blog is because of identity politics and how dangerous I believe it to be. I think this is another direct result of that.

Mak’s response was:

And I disagree with his analysis. it is not identity politics that is the culprit, no, it is years of oppression based on perceived or real differences that finds expression in such acts of violence.

The person tortured in that video I was commenting on had nothing to do with that past oppression and neither do most of the people alive today. That is no excuse for mistreating people and it never will be.

(I’m not saying that Mak was saying it was by the way)

When people enslaved, segregated and tortured black people (for example) because of the color of their skin, they were doing so for power and they did so by using identity politics. It is the outcome of identity politics taken to its sickening conclusion.

Grouping people into categories and assigning attributes to them based on arbitrary traits is exactly how practices like slavery begin. Those people believed that all black people were inferior animals who deserved to be enslaved. They assigned attributes to them (brutish, less intelligent etc) based on the arbitrary trait of having a darker skin color than themselves.

It didn’t lead to humane treatment then and it doesn’t now. People are individuals and should be judged on what they do; on their personalities; by the merits of their actions. Not on things such as gender, skin color etc.

A ‘history of oppression’ doesn’t excuse wrongdoing. It doesn’t excuse violence, torture or racism in return.

As Martin Luther King once said:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Atheist Billboard Gets Taken Down By Offended Christians

If it’s not the extreme Left, it’s the extreme Right trying to censor dissenting opinions. In this case it’s the Right deciding that a pretty inoffensive atheist billboard needs to be taken down…because feels.

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A billboard promoting atheism during the holiday season has been run out of town by Christians in Monroe, Louisiana, who deemed it too offensive for their community’s religious sensibilities to tolerate.

Why do people want to ban different opinions?

Local news station KNOE reports that a billboard paid for by the American Atheists organization has been removed after multiple people in Monroe complained about being offended by it. The electronic billboard told people that they could “make Christmas great again” by skipping church this year, while also promoting the concept of an “Atheist Christmas.”

Get over yourselves. Just let the billboard stand, discuss it, explain why you disagree with it and let people decide for themselves which party has the better arguments. Stop trying to censor, drown out and get rid of any opinion that doesn’t match your own. It’s embarrassing when the Left does it and it’s just as shameful when the Right does it.

Just stop.

You’re like two sides of the same coin.

“I praise God that there was so much stirred up about it that it was taken down,” Monroe resident Shawn Cooper told KNOE.

Why would you praise God over this? Do you think getting it taken down is going to change someone’s mind? Do you think the discussion won’t happen if you just get this sign taken down? Do you think your God is so weak it can’t handle a billboard?

I think what you’re really afraid of is that people might agree with that sign. I think you’re worried that your arguments will have to stand on merit instead of being the only voice heard.

 

Echo Chamber vs. Discussion: Hat’s Off To The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux

Over at Coalition of the Brave, it seems that some of their writers don’t like having their views challenged.

And to top it off, a blogger who I have had severe disagreements with in the past, is the only voice making any sense over there.

You might be asking, ‘what is he going on about?’

Well, I think (maybe it wasn’t me but someone else or a combination of more than one person or incident) I broke the Coalition of the Brave with my evil insistence that the writer back up her assertion that she was using facts…when she wasn’t.

The conversation we had was taken down shortly after, and only comments that agreed with the author were left up.

So unfortunately, I can’t show you what the original conversation was about. It had something to do with Melania Trump and fashion designers refusing her service.

But…I can show you how the site owner is now apologizing because he (again, I think he’s referencing me) had the audacity to say that I had made a valid point. At the time, he admitted that his writer had used an unfortunate word choice. Since then, I guess he’s lost that writer as well as another one.

Let’s get into this new post.

I should have said this ages ago. I’m going to say it now. 

This Coalition has recently lost two fantastic contributors because I didn’t stick up for them. Why didn’t I stick up for them, I hear you ask?

Oh, but why did you not stick up for them?

I tell myself it’s because I don’t like confrontation, but that’s bullshit. I did it on the grounds of white male privilege. Not knowingly, but that’s the reason.

Holy crap. Bloody hell. You’re going to apologize for being white and male. That somehow makes your point invalid?

What you originally did (in my case) was fine – you admitted that you thought they were wrong to assert something as fact that wasn’t fact. That has nothing to do with your skin color or gender.

Snap out of the white guilt, mate. Being white and male isn’t something to be ashamed of any more than any other skin color. They are arbitrary attributes, and you didn’t choose to be born white or male. You’re a person and your opinions are just as valid as someone else’s, regardless of their skin color.

It sounds like you’re referencing more than one case, but people shouldn’t need protection from disagreement. A public blog isn’t a safe space and if you’re going to blog about controversial topics, you should expect to be disagreed with.

It’s all well and good offering platitudes and nodding and saying you understand, but unless you’ve walked in another person’s shoes, you can’t claim to truly understand their experiences. I am not black, nor am I a woman – and I’m never going to be either of those. When they came to me with concerns about being harassed and belittled, I should have tried to see things from their perspective. 

Trying to see things from anthers perspective is a good thing to do no matter who you happen to be talking to. It’s called empathy and self-reflection. It’s also why we have language. We can talk to one another and explain how our experiences impact us as individuals.

However, being black, white, gay, heterosexual, man, woman etc doesn’t mean your opinion is more valid than someone else’s. Being disagreed with is not the same as being harassed.

And maybe she was harassed. I don’t know what he’s referencing here, but I find it hard to believe that someone that seems as reasonable and mild-mannered as Darth would sit on his hands and do nothing if someone were truly being harassed.

But that’s just my opinion and certainly not a fact.

Whether the people doing the harassing knew what they were doing, I don’t know. It’s entirely possible that, like me, they weren’t consciously doing it, and just couldn’t perceive their actions through a different perspective. Sometimes our privilege blinds us. We are guilty of institutionalised sexism, racism and bigotry, without even realising it.

Nah, mate. You’re basically saying people are guilty of thought crimes. You don’t get to assert that everyone is racist, sexist and bigoted.

That’s not how it works. It might work that way in Regressive Land, where everyone is valued based on how many oppression’s they can claim, but not in reality.

Oh yeah, and if your referencing me in this part, please know I was consciously disagreeing with that author. I knew exactly what I was doing. When people say that something is a fact when it isn’t, I challenge them on it.

Then Pink comes into the picture. And damn if I didn’t find myself cheering.

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Hell yes, Pink. I think you’re missing the point though – these people (besides the blog owner, I think, who seems reasonable) don’t want discussion. They want yes men and women to nod and tell them how right they are and how oppressed they must be.

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Pink is absolutely right here, but the response he gets is priceless. He’s told that he’s part of the problem because he’s a man.

Check your privilege, Pink! Don’t you know you’re a white male!

Pink is now being problematic. He’s part of the problem.

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This is my favorite bit here. This is exactly what I told the site owner previously.

If you want to run a site based on discussion, you have to allow dissenting opinions and in my humble opinion, he should find writers who hold a differing viewpoint from his regular contributors to showcase a different point of view. Otherwise, you’re running an echo-chamber.

Like Pink says here, if you want to ‘change minds’ you need to engage people in discussion. Not create an echo-chamber.

Last but not least, good job on being the voice of reason in this case, Pink.

Let’s Talk About Domestic Violence

Over at DWR, there is a post about domestic violence, and as usual it paints men as the monsters and women as the oppressed.

But it struck a nerve, partially because I’ve been hit in relationships, and because I find it incredibly sexist when people pretend that domestic violence is a male only issue – as in men are the only ones engaged in verbal, emotional or physical abuse against their partners.

Domestic violence is a human problem and it can happen to anyone, no matter whether you’re male or female.

So let’s hit some statistics:

Yet in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data from its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey — and one of the most shocking statistics wasn’t just the sheer total of victims of physical violence but also how those numbers broke down by gender.

According to the CDC’s statistics — estimates based on more than 18,000  telephone-survey responses in the United States — roughly 5,365,000 men had been victims of intimate partner physical violence in the previous 12 months, compared with 4,741,000 women. By the study’s definition, physical violence includes slapping, pushing, and shoving. 

More severe threats like being beaten, burned, choked, kicked, slammed with a heavy object, or hit with a fist were also tracked. Roughly 40 percent of the victims of severe physical violence were men. The CDC repeated the survey in 2011, the results of which were published in 2014, and found almost identical numbers — with the percentage of male severe physical violence victims slightly rising.

“Reports are also showing a decline of the number of women and an increase in the number of men reporting” abuse, says counselor and psychologist Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

That’s a whole lot of men and women being abused.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.1

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.1

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

And according to a Guardian article:

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

At DWR, he had this to (quote) say:

If the problem is that men simply cannot control their tempers, then the solution is to start building anger management skills into school curricula, starting in kindergarten.

I guess you could say the same for women. Maybe a good go round of anger management for everyone.

But if the problem is men’s learned need to exercise power and control over women, then the solution is much more difficult. It requires that all of us take a look in the mirror and ask: Why do so many men in our society feel the need to control and dominate women?

Or maybe we could look in the mirror and ask ourselves, why do so many people want to control and dominate other people?

At what age do boys begin to learn that having power over women is part of being a man? What steps can we take in order to change that, both on an individual and an institutional level?”

At no stage was I taught that having power over a woman is part of being a man. In fact, I was taught to respect women by my father, who role-modeled that behavior to me until the day he died. He treated my mother with respect, and taught me that violence wasn’t a solution.

Imagine for a second that someone took a knife and cut off a woman’s breast, put it in a blender and turned it on. Then a group of males went on national television and had a good laugh about it, and said that they’d put it in the dog bowl.

Think the audience would be laughing about it?

That’s what they did on The Talk, when a man suffered genital mutilation.

That clip makes me want to puke in my mouth. Jesus.

Ask yourself if women’s domestic violence shelters (who do good work by the way) have a terrible time of finding funding?

Well in England and Wales, women’s refuge’s get a pile more funding than men’s:

“Their plight is largely overlooked by the media, in official reports and in government policy, for example in the provision of refuge places – 7,500 for females in England and Wales but only 60 for men.”

And in Canada, one man completed suicide after he tried to get funding for a male shelter, after he was abused himself:

mens_shelter

Mr. Silverman closed his shelter last month, saying he could no longer afford its upkeep. He long sought funding from provincial and federal governments to help run his hybrid shelter and home, but believed he was always refused because the space was dedicated to helping male victims and their children. He said he was unable to pay for heat and grocery bills.

Steven Howitt purchased Mr. Silverman’s house and said he helped the advocate move his belongings on Thursday.

“I couldn’t have predicted this. I got the sense that he was pretty frustrated that the shelter didn’t work out. He was frustrated with the government that he didn’t get any help,” Mr. Howitt said on Saturday.

Mr. Silverman’s shelter was the only one of its kind in Canada.

So I hope the next time you hear the words ‘domestic violence’ you take a moment to acknowledge that DV is a human problem, and it’s a serious one. No matter what gender the victim, we should be offering services and help.

 

 

Do Women Hate Women?

In a recent interview, Madonna said that women hate women:

When asked why she thought so many women – according to CNN 53% of white women voted for Trump – Madonna replied:

Women hate women. That’s what I think it is. Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children. Women turn inward and men are more external. A lot of it has do with jealousy and some sort of tribal inability to accept that one of their kind could lead a nation. Other people just didn’t bother to vote because they didn’t like either candidate, or they didn’t think Trump had a chance in the world. They took their hands off the wheel and then the car crashed.

Alright, so I’m going to give you my thoughts on this quote and hit me with yours in the comment section.

First off, I think it’s ridiculous to expect people to vote based on genitalia. When I vote, I don’t care whether the politician is male or female. I don’t vote for other males because I want to support my male brothers…whatever that means.

I vote based on policy and who I think will best represent my interests.

I think her entire point is garbage. What is a tribal inability? Why do you think men protect each other and women only care about their men and children? Why does Madonna think so little of women in general?

It reminds me of this epic meltdown by Anna Kasparian of The Young Turks during the election.

These people refuse to consider that women might have voted Trump for other reasons. Instead of blaming the Democratic Party who nominated someone people dislike just as much or more so than Trump, they just want to blame women, white people, Christian’s or whatever demographic they can think of.

Whether you agree with Hillary or not; whether you believe that Hillary would have made a better President or not; this election wasn’t about women hating women. It was about women not liking one woman in particular and about Americans as a group not liking what she was selling.

So do you agree with Madonna? Do women hate women?

As always, thanks for reading.