(L140) Bureaucracy & Brainwashing

Is tax-funded education inherently bureaucratic?

For the sake of simplicity, yes. The reason that we know this is because of the entire set-up of the educational system. First, money goes from the taxpayer’s wallets to the government. This money is then split up and a portion goes into public schools. Since the government is technically the source giving the money directly to the schools, it is the government who decides what the schools teach. In other words, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Public schools are an area/branch of the state; bureaucracy is the system through which such areas/branches are monitored. The monitoring is done through bureaucrats themselves – in the case of public schools, the bureaucrats are teachers and administrators. Each leader and/or representative of a tax-funded school is given a book of laws governing the entirety of their actions. This rule book spans from disciplinary action plans, to educational lesson plans and academic requirements. Again we find the issue of underlying special interests: the government is funding education through coercion, and mandating teachers every step dictating what they may and may not teach. (Otherwise known as common core education.) Government (tax) funded education goes beyond being a conflict of interest; rather it simply becomes means of indoctrinating children with a distorted and immoral view of life. Government schools dictate the teachings of statism because they are directly founded on statist principles. Tax funded education is undeniably and inherently bureaucratic.

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(L120 & 125) The Broken Window Fallacy: Minimum Wage Requirements

Why wouldn’t someone voluntarily offer you a job at twice today’s minimum wage?

Story time! Let’s say that a small business opens up selling handmade jewelry and other goods in the middle of a New Hampshire town. Let’s also say that the current minimum wage in New Hampshire is $10.00 an hour. At this rate, the business owner can really only afford to hire 5 employees (in total). So the owner hires his employees, and business is alright; they are new in town, so large profit margins and excessive foot traffic are not to be expected.

After about 6 months of being open, business is rapidly growing. The owner is finally getting out of the red, and into the black! There is so much business in fact, that the owner needs to hire more workers just to keep up. He decides to add 2 more people to the team; it won’t quite cover all of his needs, but because of the high minimum wage, it is all that he can afford right now.

The night that he interviews for his two new employees, a woman comes in asking for nearly $20.00 an hour. Her skills are extensive, and she would be able to bring brand new products into the shop without any training whatsoever. Not only would she save him time, but she would make him money! He thinks back on his other employees; no prior knowledge or skills, no new ideas, nothing even nearly as valuable as this employee would be worth to him. If it were up to him, he would be paying his employees exactly what he deemed their skills to be worth; maybe that would mean $8.00 an hour for a cashier, $8.75 an hour for an opener and a closer, etc. However, since he was forced to overpay for their basic services due to government intervention, he cannot afford to hire this valuable and worthwhile prospective employee.

In short, he is in need of two more workers. He would be able to afford both the above average woman and another cashier/clerk if it was not for minimum wage requirements. With these requirements however, he must choose between superior product and a shortage of man power, or basic work and enough workers to scrape by. In the end, a shortage of workers is just not something that a business (owner) can afford, and so he must kiss this great opportunity goodbye. This issue could have been completely avoided had he and the employees been able to come to an agreement on a fair hourly wage without government intervention or mandate.

When an owner is forced to pay someone more than they’re worth, they lose out on opportunities to hire higher quality employees for a greater cost. This is the broken window fallacy; the seen and the unseen. While we do see that an average worker is being paid very well, we do not see that a better worker is being paid less than they deserve or not being hired at all (because of the average worker’s forced wage).

(L100) Income Redistribution

“Would it be moral to grade exams, so that all students get C’s? If not, is it moral for the state to redistribute incomes?”

It would be nothing less than immoral for a teacher to assign grades in accordance with equality, rather than true individual scores. The reason that giving every student a C (for example) would be wrong, is that every student did not earn a C. Some students earned a much higher grade, and are being punished (receiving negative sanctions) because of those who did not score as high as they did. Others however scored lower than a C, and are being rewarded (receiving positive sanctions) for doing worse than the other students. While obviously far from fair, this system cannot even be chalked up to being remotely positive as it rewards the underachievers and punishes the successors.

The only way to fairly award grades to students would be to grant them the exact grade that they earned. Each student, regardless of each others score’s, would have to reap the rewards or consequences of the grade that the results of their test’s warranted. (Now, yes, I do recognize the flaws in standardized testing, and I understand that many students fail not due to effort exerted, but because of the fact that they are being forced to learn in a way that they do not understand. In this example however, I am referring to an imaginary class of students, all of equal learning ability who have either scored higher or lower based upon the effort they put into studying and learning the test material. In short, this would mean that it would take every student the same amount of time to learn the same amount of information; thus, every student gets the grade that they worked for and can all be graded using the same scale.)

In both the academic and career worlds, people (should) get what they work for. I personally work my little butt off to earn an income that can support my needs, and to be stolen from is heartbreaking. Now, when I speak of being robbed, I am not talking about a masked purse-snatcher assaulting me on the street. No. I am speaking directly about your friendly neighborhood politician; I am talking about his superior, and the man in charge of him too. Every single hard working American is robbed at gunpoint on a daily basis, but does it hurt you the way the plain-sight bandit does? Would you cry the same, or file a report with the police the very same? Do you even notice?

More often than not, these questions are answered with a simple no. Sometimes however, these practices are even encouraged with phrases resembling, “I am just doing my part” or “it’s for the greater good”. So what exactly is the greater good and who is the authority on such? In my opinion, the greater good is to “love thy neighbor” and the overall authority is God. What I do know however is that funding the lives of lazy, alcoholic, drug using, and/or jobless adults and their offspring with stolen money is not the greater good. Welfare programs not only theoretically encourage mooching and joblessness, but have been proven to increase poverty levels throughout the United States. It also has been shown to destroy marriages, reduce the likelihood of a welfare child having a successful future, and increase mental health and home abuse issues.

Why should somebody be granted what another person earned at the threat of force and violence? Would God believe that this is the greater good? Did God say that “thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote”? Absolutely not. God said to help those around you, he said to be generous and love every man. I believe that there are people out there that do truly need help, but I do not believe that coercion and theft are the ways to help them! Allow people to keep that which is theirs; their income in full. Encourage one another to share, trade and lend a helping hand. Charity has changed hundreds of thousands of lives already, and I don’t believe that the power in giving is lost. We can make a difference, even as one person. We can reduce poverty, mental illness and spousal/child abuse. We can build communities that revolve around charitable action and helping rehabilitate people; but first, we must stand up against being forced to enable these things with our own weekly paychecks.

Theft is immoral whether you wear a business suit or a hoodie. It hurts the lives of people on both the receiving and the losing ends.

(L65) Protectionism

Does a tariff on imports also reduce exports?

Tariffs on imports do in fact reduce exports. This happens because output is bound to lag when tariffs and quotas are put in place to protect (and promote) inefficient domestic producers. As output decreases, producers will not be able to keep up with demand, either domestic or foreign. Foreign producers then decide to extend their market share in secret, much like Walmart. By the time competitors realize what is happening to their customer base, it is too late to catch up because foreign producers have much more competitive prices and a higher production rate. Domestic exports are no longer in demand by this point in time, seeing as how consumers can get better deals elsewhere.

(L60) Made In China: American Monopolies

Would you pay 20% more to shop at a store that sells only American-made goods?

Well, the answer to this question depends on what the product I am in search of is. If I am looking to buy baby toys including things that are going to be chewed on etc., I am going to be very particular about the ingredients. If I can find a cheaper overseas product with ingredients just as safe as the ones I can find onshore, then it will come down to price. However in general, I believe that borders around our states and countries are just imaginary lines. I feel no need to shop exclusively for American products, seeing as how the only reason I am paying more in America is because of government exclusion and tariffs restricting overseas trade. The lack of products coming in from foreigners creates the ability for American producers to jack up their prices. This is a monopoly granted to American producers in relation to certain products; I do not chose to support government monopolies when I have other options available.

In short, if I can find what I want/need for a price that I like, I am going to buy it; regardless of who it comes from.

(L80) The New Deal & The Industrial Revolution

1.) Evaluate this claim: “The New Deal was a wise series of government actions that healed the problems afflicting the economy.”

The New Deal was a series of atrociously planned government actions that resulted in a famished, unemployed, and economically unsound people. The National Industrial Recovery Act for example allowed each industry to draft production codes for itself; this meant minimum wages, minimum prices, hours of production, specific production methods, etc. The claim backing this decision was that what businesses really needed was stability, rather than competition. The result of acting on this claim was basically stomping out smaller businesses on a major scale. Big businesses, having multiple locations and bountiful resources were in no competition with smaller businesses in the sense of service; however, the one area small businesses could compete in was prices. With new codes preventing small businesses from competing with prices, most perished by the hand government intervention. It was stated by UCLA professors Harold Cole and Lee Ohanian that “the abandonment of these policies coincided with the strong economic recovery of the 1940s”.
Another “wise” government action attached to The New Deal was the Agricultural Adjustment Act. This time, the government decided to stimulate the economy and raise food prices by destroying crops that had already been planted and grown. Acreage limitation was also implemented, and pigs were slaughtered needlessly to raise pork prices. This caused about 2 million tenant farmers and sharecroppers to become jobless, and to top it all off it was soon discovered after the fact that the United States was not producing enough food to sustain the population, even at a minimum subsidence level diet. What a way to heal the economy, way to go government intervention!

2.) How was the standard of living affected by the Industrial Revolution?

In short, the industrial revolution created numerous opportunities for workers that hadn’t previously existed. Before the industrial revolution, workers could have either made a profitable living through agriculture, or by gaining the tools necessary to enter into an independent trade. After the industrial revolution however, there was newly made space in the economy for a work force of people who were able to do neither of these things; factory work employed many people who would have otherwise suffered because they did not have the resources to meet the needs of the economy.

(L50) Fiat Money & Government Interference

1.) What problems do price ceilings cause, and what are the benefits of letting prices adjust without government interference?

Price ceilings lower the quantity of products available to consumers, and raise the demand all at the same time. This causes shortages. Allowing prices to adjust themselves would allow producers to accurately interpret economic signals and meet the needs of consumers in a highly efficient fashion.

2.) Name and explain three disadvantages that have been identified with fiat money.

One disadvantage that has been identified with fiat money is the fact that when the government (really The Federal Reserve) increases the paper money supply, prices rise to a level that they would not have naturally reached without intervention. Another disadvantage to fiat money is that it increases the power of the government. Because they can create new money from thin air and there is no limit to how many paper bills they can print, they have, in a general sense, unlimited resources. Adding onto this, when new money is created there is a distortion in the distribution of money throughout the economy, because whoever receives the new money first is spending it at the prices of the old money. (When new money makes its way through the economy, prices rise; however those who are the first to receive the money have not yet experienced this rise in prices, and are therefore favored in this process.) The losers of this process are those who get the new money at the end of the process, or by the time it has already taken it’s toll on the economy.