(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.

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(L70) Labor Unions & Price Inflation

Do Labor Unions Cause Price Inflation?

Labor unions and the people who assemble within them cause great price inflation; this is probably done unknowingly by most, due to the fact that the people making up labor unions are ever so self centered. Some of the things most focused on by labor unions include minimum wages, mandatory hours, overtime pay and social security payments. In personal efforts to secure a higher pay for a minimum number of hours, labor unions have run the money supply of their employers nearly dry. In order to compensate for this lack of income, business owners are forced to jack up the prices of their goods and services. As hours grow and wages rise by force, prices will also be raised by force. The single-mindedness of labor union supporters is causing a worsening of their own economic situation. Labor unions are the product of selfish, uneducated and economically ignorant individuals; they do nothing but worsen the very situations that labor-unioners are trying to get themselves out of!

(L25) Government Funding & Income Inequality Debunked

1.) What are the arguments for and against government science funding?

The two main arguments for (and against) government science funding are this:
1. Claim: Because there is no profit in basic science, there is no chance it will ever be privately funded.
Response: In reality, 90% of new research stems from previously existing technology, and basic/academic science research only accounts for 10% of new discoveries and technologies. Also, when looking back in history, one would find that despite the fact that Britain had no government funding for science, and there was substantial government funding for scientific research in Germany and France, they both consistently lagged behind Britain.
2. Claim: Private firms cannot claim exclusive profits from scientific discoveries, and so they will not get involved in funding scientific research in the first place.
Response: Firms are known to trade laboratory space to scientists
for the up-keep on the latest knowledge in the scientific community. This is done by having scientists working in their lab space agree to attend conferences, saving everybody time and money by keeping scientists from having to spend all their time in libraries reading previous studies rather than doing their own (in the labs). Basic/academic science has been funded by foundations, private university endowments and private industry in the past, not to mention being extremely more generous than government funding has even been.
On another note, government funding has been 
the well known cause of the politicization of scientific research in may cases; it also stifles opposing claims and approaches, causing a clog in the free-flowing wealth of information and communication between scientists that is so crucial to the discoveries we have already, and are yet to discover. 

2.) Is “income inequality” a problem, in your opinion? Why or why not?

Income inequality is not a problem in my opinion, because the real issue affecting income is economic freedom. This is proven by looking at the fact that no matter what country you live in, the bottom 10% of earners will earn 2.6% of the country’s total income. (As of 2011) in less free countries, 2.6% of the countries total income was equal to about $932; however, in more economically free countries 2.6% was equal to an average of about $10,556! According to these statistics, people residing in “unequal” countries are earning more, because these countries are the ones that are the most economically free.

My Slightly-Shameful Finance Habits (L30)

This week in the Personal Finance course of the Ron Paul Curriculum, we covered income / expenses and how to budget / save money. Lesson 28 Specifically covered expenses, and it really shed some light on all of the times I completely screwed myself over financially.
Although I am not working right now, I have always been able to pick up side jobs here and there. Just carrying out little tasks from time to time for friends and neighbors was usually enough to keep my wallet afloat. I have never had much money to spend until in the past year or two, and so I am not quite the best at holding onto cash for long periods of time. I have no income at the moment, but that’s not to say I am lacking anything. Between shopping and outings with my grandmother and with my boyfriend, (and going through all my girlfriends clothes), there isn’t a thing in the world I need to buy!
In an attempt to start generating my own income (aside from what seemed like a hundred job applications that I filled out), I actually started up my own business less than a month ago; Love-On-Four-Legs Pet Sitting & Dog Walking. I hung up posters with pull off tabs all around the neighborhood with my email and phone call. I have no customers as of now, but I am expecting some clients as we get closer and closer to winter. People (especially older people) usually don’t so much enjoy walking their dogs in a foot or two of snow, and it will also be a chance for me to get a higher pay per dog.
In the times when I end up with 5$ 10$ in my pocket, I tend to catch myself throwing it away on small expenses, like coffee or a snack. I do realize how quickly these things add up, as well as the good it would do me to save that money, but usually I just spend it anyways. I am trying to break myself of the habit and lately I have been doing a bit better. Since last Halloween, I would say that I probably have received somewhere around 750$-850$. This is almost entirely from my birthday, holidays, and other gifts. My grandmother also gives me cash to go to the mall with my friends or to go see movies and stuff so that amounts to quite a bit. When I go see my dad sometimes he will send me home with 20$ in my pocket, (he calls it “walkin’ money” which I like, it makes me laugh. It does however have a bad tinge in the name, implying that whatever you want while you’re walking along, you should buy. In reality, what my dad really means is that he wants me to use it as a rare treat to myself, which I do not think is wrong.) Of that some odd 750$-850$ a year, I am ashamed to say I have not saved one penny. Should I either get a job (which I plan on doing within the next 6 months), or have some dogs to walk through blizzards, I plan to open a savings account and save 25% of each paycheck / payment. I will most likely put this money towards a car one day when I have my licence, or maybe towards college.
My goal right now is that I will be able to update this post in less than 6 months time with a financial improvement to share! Once I have a steady income I honestly believe that I will be able to turn my bad habits around for good.