2016 Elections Part 1: Berning Our Economy to the Ground

It’s distressing that the most anti-liberty election in U.S. history is following immediately after the most pro-liberty election in a century. 2012 was a great election for liberty, thanks to Ron Paul campaigning around it and his success forcing all the other candidates to adopt similar messages in the hopes of getting some of his supporters. The rEVOLution was far from successful, and far from over, but it was a strong start, and things looked terrific for the cause of liberty.

It’s tragic and sad that so many of Paul’s supporters now stand with socialist Bernie Sanders, even though socialism is diametrically opposed to Paul’s message: we can’t have both liberty and socialism, because liberty is contingent upon the right to private property and the right to private contract. I am for equal possibility, not equal opportunity,, even though I’d benefit greatly under President Sanders.

A young transgender lesbian atheist in Mississippi trying to make ends meet, resist, and rise beyond the disapproval and hostility of my peers, from a dirt poor family where I ate cans of pie filling previous tenants had left behind, simply because there was nothing else to eat? From a childhood where the electricity was disconnected regularly for non-payment, and where even our water was disconnected (in the middle of summer, too) for non-payment? Where I’m forced by exorbitant prices to order hormones online and unsafely because I can’t afford the endocrinologist and American meds? I’m precisely the sort of person Bernie Sanders is campaigning for…

And I want nothing to do with him.

I had a shitty start to life, sure, and it’s actually hard to imagine someone having a rougher start than I had and still surviving. When you’re three and watching your parents shoot up in the living room, watching people die on the couch for shooting up peanut butter, not having food and not even having water some of the time, watching alcoholics beat the hell out of your mom, and having to hide things from everyone to avoid being kicked out at the age of twelve, yeah, you had a tough beginning, and it honestly is difficult to imagine circumstances that were worse and still survivable.

But I put myself through college while working a full-time job as a janitor for minimum wage in a hotel. I started my own company, and I’ve started putting my writing for sale online. I’ve made myself, with little to no help at all and often with various elements getting in the way. I did this. I am a self-made woman.

And I’ll be goddamned if i let anyone take that away from me.

I am a loud opponent of raising the minimum wage. “But, Aria, how can you say that? You’ve lived on minimum wage!”

Indeed I have. I supported myself and my (ex)wife on minimum wage–she couldn’t work because we only had one vehicle, and I needed it for college and work. My work took precedence because it proceeded medical insurance, stability, and some overtime. That’s right: even while being a full-time student, I worked all the overtime I could, which isn’t much in the housekeeping department of a casino hotel. And on that $7.25 per hour, we paid all our bills and paid off our vehicle. Did we have hard times? For sure. Did we occasionally need to borrow money? Absolutely. But we received no welfare at all. I tried to get on food stamps, but we were denied because I was in college. If I wasn’t trying to better myself, the government would have helped.

But the casino fired me just weeks from my graduation. We were already living paycheck–we had no money put back. We couldn’t pay rent; we couldn’t afford gas. I had no choice but to drop out of college. It sucked, and there was no immediate prospect for employment. In many cases, I was passed up so that a non-white person could be hired, because that happens often in Mississippi. But I had a contact who owned a computer and networking company, and I kept liaising with him, ultimately becoming his employee after much work in proving myself. Much happened, I left my ex-wife, and I finished college. That sheet of paper is among the most important things in the world to me, because I did that.

The minimum wage was never meant to raise a fucking family. And it seems a lot of people don’t know what “minimum” means. The minimum wage fully supports an existence and the purchase of bare necessities. Stop buying things that aren’t the bare minimum and you’ll live just fine on the minimum wage. If you’re not content with bare necessities, then take your fucking ass to college. I don’t want to hear about expensive higher education. Apply yourself, and apply for scholarships.

But a lot of the people I know who support Sanders have no interest in going to college anyway. Some of them are unemployed adults who have no interest in going to college, live with their parents, and spend their spare time pretty much just playing video games. Of course they love the idea of everyone getting free things.

It’s hard not to be angry about this, because I had to pay in this year. Actually, I have to pay in and not pay in–the tax system is so broken that I have multiple ways to do my taxes, and so far the best way I’ve found has me paying in $354. Meanwhile, I have a family member who is “getting back” more than ten thousand dollars. And that’s the phrase people always use, isn’t it? “Getting back.”

No, you’re not getting back. You’re just getting. To get it back, you’d have to have paid that, and you didn’t. These people getting back $3000, $5000, and $10000, you didn’t pay that stuff in, so don’t say you’re getting it back. Getting it back implies you’re not just getting free money from people like me who have to pay in simply because I dare to own my own company–because that’s what it’s about for me. If I had an ordinary W-2, I’d “get back” around $1200. I know, because I put in my income as W-2s to see what it would do. But because I have W-2s, 1099s, and other complicated forms, I have to pay in. Meanwhile, people are “getting back” ten to twenty times the amount they actually paid in, simply because they fucking had kids.

The Minimum Wage Creates Unemployment

What people don’t realize is that economic law has the same validity and certainty as physical law. One can no more thwart economic law than one can thwart the laws of gravity and electromagnetism. And it only takes a few minutes to prove, beyond any doubt, that the Minimum Wage not only creates Unemployment, but increasing the MW would simply create more unemployment.

This is because economics is built around Supply and Demand. These forces come together to determine the Price of the good in question, and the Equilibrium Quantity of that good. A Price Floor is when the state steps in and says “No, you cannot charge less than this amount for that good,” and a Price Ceiling is when the state steps in and says “No, you cannot charge more than this amount for that good.”

Looking at the gas shortages of the 80s and the Price Ceilings that the state imposed, we can easily conclude that the Price Ceilings were the reason that we ran out of gas.

Behold. Proof.

Behold. Proof.

This is a Demand and Supply Line. P = Price, and Q = Quantity–e.g., “how much is purchased.” What is happening here is that Demand for the good is increasing, which raises the Price from P1 to P2, and increasing the Quantity, the amount people purchase, from Q1 to Q2.

As we can see, and this has been proven countless times, in addition to being common sense, increasing the Demand for a product shows that the value of that product–represented as a ratio between Quantity and Price–increases. The more people want iPhones, the more valuable an individual iPhone becomes. You’ll notice that none of these are straight lines; they are all curved. This means that moving along the Supply line changes the ratios. If people can buy ten iPhones for $1000 on D1, then people can only buy ten iPhones for $1100 on D2. These are universal economic truths, and they cannot be disputed. No one disagrees. And, trust me, we’re going somewhere with this.

Boom.

Boom.

Here, we have essentially the same thing, except the Supply line is changing. We can see that as the Supply increases, the Price per unit decreases, exactly as we would expect. The more common something is, the less valuable it is. We saw this during the Gas Shortages of the 80s, when, for various reasons, we didn’t have as much gas as we needed. The Supply Line changed drastically, but the Demand stayed the same. So, true to economic law, gas stations raised prices to offset the Demand. It was not price gouging as was so commonly alleged; it was a response to economic reality. As the Supply increased, the price would have continued to rise, until people were expected to pay $100 or more for a gallon of gasoline. As the Price increases, of course, Demand decreases, because less people are willing to purchase gasoline at that price. This is why it was not price gouging; it was an attempt by gas station owners to lower Demand, which desperately needed to be done.

However, the state stepped in and put a Price Ceiling on gas. Demand stayed the same, because the Price could not be increased to offset the Demand in proportion to the steadily decreasing Supply. Gas Prices were artificially kept at a low value, and the result were gas shortages. Let me tell you: high prices are infinitely more preferable to a shortage. In a shortage, a family who had to go somewhere and needed gas to do it would have been totally out of luck. With high prices, gas would have been available only to those who really, desperately needed it. With a Price Ceiling, the gas was there for no one, and people who truly needed it were completely out of luck.

Conversely, just as Price Ceilings create shortages, so do Price Floors create surpluses. If we suddenly had an influx of gasoline and the price dropped to twenty-five cents a gallon, and the government stepped in to say “No, you can’t charge less than $1 per gallon,” then we would have extreme gas surpluses, because people aren’t willing to pay more for something than they think it is worth. These market forces are always in effect, and they’re innate–we all have a sense of what a fair price is for something, and if we “feel” that the price of a gallon of gas should be a quarter, then we’re not going to pay four times that. The result is too much of that good–a surplus.

Now, the critical part that most people don’t grasp, even after they have grasped the economic truths above… is that labor is a good. That’s right–these maxims apply to labor just as much as they apply to gasoline. The Minimum Wage is a Price Floor on the price of labor, and what do Price Floors do? They create Surpluses. What do we call a Surplus of Labor–e.g., what do we call it when people don’t want to pay for a good because they feel that good is worth less than they are legally required to pay for it? We call that Unemployment.

Far from raising the Minimum Wage, we need to abolish the Minimum Wage and let market forces set the price of labor. If the labor you can do is worth only $3 per hour to the company paying you, then that’s no one’s fault but your own. Go to college, learn a trade or vocation. Hell, get arrested and spend the interim learning a skill. You are in the United States of America. You have options, and I’m the last person willing to listen to someone talking about how their rough life held them back. They should shut up, grow up, and do what they’ve gotta do. Stop sitting around and waiting on things to get better. Make them better.

And that’s what Bernie Sanders represents, isn’t it? He’s the ultimate case of someone who is going to make everything better for the people who aren’t willing to improve their own lives. Don’t want to go to college? No problem! Just use high education costs as an excuse and sit on your ass playing video games. Uncle Bernie’s got you covered with food stamps, health care, government housing, and whatever else you might need. How’s that Second Life character doing? Uncle Bernie is here for you.

Don’t fret, precious, I’m here…

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