My Solution to Income Inequailty.

Since 2008 Barack Obama has been crying about income inequality and for once he is almost right. There is an income equality in America. It is simply ridiculous to believe that someone can live off of minimum wage in today’s economy, especially if that person has a child. However, I am against raising the minimum wage. In actuality, I can see benefits for doing away with it all together though that isn’t my solution to income inequality. Having a minimum wage does away with competition, doing away with it could force companies to pay employees more to attract the best employs. I’m not saying it would work, but who knows? What I want to suggest as a solution is a little different though then simply raising minimum wage.  You see, raising minimum wage only hurts people. The fast food workers have been striking, asking for a raise to $15.00 an hour. That sounds great in principle but they are unable to see the consequences of a move like that.  We all know that many fast food restaurants hire people who have difficulty getting jobs elsewhere.  These include former criminals, high school dropouts, people with disabilities, etc.  Now I am not saying that these people shouldn’t be able to get better jobs only that for some idiotic and sad reason they have difficulties finding them. More qualified people tend to not apply to these jobs due to the pay; however, if the pay was to be raised then they would start to apply. Then all of a sudden you’d have all of these high school graduates and college students applying for these jobs and on paper they’d seem to be more qualified thus they’d get hired and the others would get fired. Also companies would start to cut jobs and expect employs to do more since they’re getting paid more. So raising minimum wage would only raise unemployment and thus raise the costs of welfare. So what can be done to entice companies to pay their workers better while hopefully not having the ripple effect that raising minimum wage would? I suggest tax credits.

Imagine if companies received tax credits for every employ they have making at least $20.00 an hour, would that entice them to pay better? We all know that employers have to make a certain profit margin and they will do whatever it take to make that profit margin. They tend to be greedy so let us help them make that profit by offering tax credits for paying their employs at least $20.00 an hour. Now we need to go a step further, not only does the employ need to make $20.00 an hour but also must work at least 32 hours a week. This encourages companies to hire full-time and well paid employees. How much will the tax credit be for? I have no clue, I’m no tax expert. Let’s do some math though. A worker making minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and working 32 hours a week would make $12,064 a year before anything is taken out. A person making $20.00 an hour and working 32 hours a week would make $33,280, a difference of $21,216. So I would say a $5,000 tax credit would work. Imagine a company has 10 employees like this, they would pay out $212,160 more a year but receive $50,000 back in tax credits along with whatever other deductibles they come up with in our complex tax system. Now the downside is that one would argue the government would be supplementing the company and thus spending more, I say though that in this case it would be OK because people would be making more money and thus spending more improving the economy. Obviously we would need to cut out a lot of the wasteful spending done in Washington but that needs to be done anyways. I think that this plan would work because it is voluntary. Companies wouldn’t be forced to pay their employees more, they’d only be given an incentive to do so. Tell me what you think and leave me your suggestion to increase pay without raising the minimum wage.

Here We Go Again: The Debt Ceiling

Democrats, Republicans signal standoff over debt ceiling almost certain | Fox News.

It’s that time again! No not Superbowl Sunday and not that terrible time of the month for the ladies, though Congress fights like they’re on it 24/7. No it is time for the debt ceiling throw-down. From now until February 7th or maybe even later we will hear nothing but lies from both sides of the aisle.  Obama will pound away about how we must pay our bills, how the Republicans refuse to compromise, and how it is common practice to continually raise the debt ceiling.  The Republican will yell that Obama is hurting the nation, that it is time to end raising the debt ceiling, and that it isn’t Bush’s fault. Maybe some of what is said will be true. We do have to pay our bills, Obama is hurting the nation, and no not everything that is happening is Bush’s fault. My biggest issue is that while we have bills to pay we refuse to even think about our biggest bill, the near $18 trillion that we owe to EVERYONE. Neither side will do anything about it. The Democrats act like it doesn’t exist and the The Republicans talk about but refuse to truly do something about it. So I say it is about time we truly do something about the national debt. Have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments section.

Hill Democrats, Republicans set 2014 agendas with midterm elections in mind | Fox News

Hill Democrats, Republicans set 2014 agendas with midterm elections in mind | Fox News.

Here is what both parties should be focusing on:

  • Creating Jobs. Unemployment has been above 7.0 for too long now. Do whatever it takes to create jobs.
  • Becoming Energy Independent. Pass the Keystone XL Pipeline and work on getting closer to becoming energy independent.
  • Cutting Spending. The budget plan did not do enough to address our nation’s biggest problem, the national debt. Spending has to be significantly cut. The value of the dollar needs to increase and our place on the world’s economic stage needs to be solidified.
  • Repealing Obamacare. Obamacare is the leading job killer in America. Millions have lost their insurance, been relegated to part-time status because of the regulations of Obamacare, and has put up with the debacle that is healthcare.gov

These are the four things that should be at the top of the list for Congress to focus on in 2014.

Say No To Mandatory Sentences? No Way!

Finally, Congress can agree on something although I don’t agree with them. Fox News is reporting that there is a push to reform mandatory sentences for crimes.  There are four bills, 3 in the Senate and 1 in the House, all of which are bipartisan that reforms mandatory sentences for federal crimes in some fashion. These bills mainly focus on drug crimes. Even Rand Paul, who I plan on supporting in 2016 if he chooses to run, has one and I’m even against his. The call for eliminating the mandatory sentences is coming from the idea that judges should have more leeway in the sentences and to cut some of the spending that the D.O.J. spends on federal prison.  Look, I’m all for cutting spending. Heck I say that we slash our federal budget in half, but there are far better ways to cut spending then by cutting how much is spent on prisons. So here are some reasons why I support mandatory sentences:

  • Judges shouldn’t have the power to take someone’s circumstances into consideration.  In other words, why should a judge be able to hand out different punishments to two different people who committed the same crime? For example, should a father of two who works a nice job and lives in a nice house, but his wife just left him get a lesser sentence then a man with no children, lives in a camper, and doesn’t work if they both get pulled over for DUI? I say no, but this is what is being advocated for. I all honesty if anybody deserves a harsher punishment it would be the first guy.  Now if there is a difference in the crime committed then sure they should receive different punishments. Let’s say that the second fellow had committed a prior crime, or maybe he caused a wreck while DUI. So what I’m trying to say is that if the crimes are identical then the punishment should be as well.
  • The principle behind mandatory sentences was to help deter people from committing crimes, if they aren’t working as these bills suggest than the answer is not weakening or doing away with them, but instead strengthening them or making them harsher. If people are aware of the consequences and the consequences are harsh then logic says that people won’t commit the crime. Will this work every time? No, but it works more times than not.
  • If the problem is drug use, as the report and these bills say it is then why not do more to rid ourselves of the drug problem? Why not work harder to find the source of the drug trade and get rid of it?  Why not have harsher punishments for drug dealers so the deter them from participating?  Why not have harsher punishments for user so to deter them from using? Weakening the punishments or giving the judge the discretion to sentence criminals themselves doesn’t deter people from using, it most likely would have the adverse effect.
  • If the D.O.J wants to cut its budget then maybe it should look elsewhere.  Such as cutting the $550,000 it spent on its LinkedIn page or the near $200,000 it pays Eric Holder just to sit up there and do nothing. Maybe they shouldn’t give some of the luxuries to inmates that they do such as TV, weightlifting equipment, etc. There are a plethora of ways the D.O.J can cut its budget.

So those were a few reasons why I am not a supporter of this movement to do away with mandatory sentences. I say that we should toughen them. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow the page.

Fast Cars, Lost Lives: Part Two

This blog is a continuation or part two of my earlier blog Fast Cars, Lost Lives. You can click on the link and read that blog for yourself, but what the main argument was is that speeding is a major problem in America and there is no reason for car companies to make cars that can go so fast.  I, however, do not believe that I achieved my goal in writing that blog so I wanted to write a second part. So here it is:

In the first post it seemed as if I was blaming the car companies for the speeding epidemic in America.  This was not my goal. I was simply asking a question about why car companies must sell such fast cars.  I was trying to suggest that a possible way to help with speeding would be for these companies to VOLUNTARILY begin manufacturing cars that top out at 85-90 MPH instead of 120-160 MPH.  I am by no means in favor of government regulations forcing them to do so as I am against adding more regulations and expanding government power. So let me reiterate, I am not blaming the car companies for people speeding. It is not their responsibility to make sure people do not speed, I am however suggesting that it’d be a good move if they’d stop making cars go so fast. Now this is just one of the ways to help curve the speeding problem. Below are a few more ways.

  • Cops – I respect cops, they put their lives on the line for our safety everyday.  However, I think that cops are too nice and lenient at times.  I think that cops let people off or reduce charges against them out of the kindness of their heart and this causes people to not take the offense serious enough.  For example, many times cops will lower how fast one was going when getting a speeding ticket.  When I was 16 a cop pulled me over for going 67 in a 35, the cop however only wrote me up for going 67 in a 45.  He did this to “help” me out. I learned my lesson thanks in part to him, but mostly due to the judge taking my license away for three months.  Many times cops won’t pull someone over unless they are going 10+ MPH over the limit especially on the interstate.  I know it is dangerous to pull someone over on the interstate but it is these people who constantly get off that will be the ones wrecking and killing themselves or others.  So in other words, cops do a great job, however, they are too nice at times. They shouldn’t take pity upon others. If others are stupid enough to make the decisions they’ve made then they need to pay the full consequences.
  • Increase fines and penalties – Currently the fines and penalties for speeding are too low. They usually are a hundred dollars or so and possibly a point or few on your license. Your insurance premiums will probably rise also, but other than those things there isn’t much done. Every time someone speeds they are risking ruining someone’s life and thus when caught they should have their life ruined.  I advocate for at least 24 hours in jail plus a $500 fine for the first offense and 72 hours in jail and $1000 fine for the second offense and for every offense afterward add another 48 hours in jail and $500 to the fine.  I know that this may crowd the jails even more  but something could done about that. Maybe build a few more jails or something. Having such a hefty consequence will automatically persuade many from speeding. Knowing that they will have to sit in a jail sail for a day and that this could cause them to lose their job will help a lot in curving the speeding problem. Another possible penalty could be losing your license for one week for every MPH over you were going. So if you were going 15 over then you’d lose you license for 15 weeks with no possibility of getting a work permit to allow you to drive to work.
  • Hollywood – Just as with the car companies, Hollywood should take a proactive step in helping with the speeding epidemic. Their simply is no need for movies like the Fast & Furious series or video games like Grand Theft Auto.  These movies and games make it seem like it is cool or OK or fun to drive fast on open roads. Unlike NASCAR or Formula 1 racing where they race on tracks only used for racing these movies and games show speeding on normal roads. The problem with this is that there are too many people, especially teens, who are unable to differentiate between reality and fiction. They attempt to mock these movies and games and end up hurting or killing themselves or others.  I am again NOT advocating for any type of government intervention only for the VOLUNTARY move by the industry to stop making so many games and movies showcasing speeding.

These are just three more ways that we can help curve the speeding problem in America. Again there are still other ways, most of which DO NOT involve government intervention.  As a libertarian leaning person I am for more personal responsibility and less government intervention; however, the government itself should be more proactive in pushing a message against speeding.  They waste so much money on other nonsensical items, they can cut all of that waste out and spend more on an anti-speeding campaign. If you have any other ideas then please leave them in the comments section and don’t forget to please like this post and click on the follow button on the right to follow this blog. Thanks.

 

All I Want for Christmas…

“Oh the climate in DC is frightful. The politicians are far from delightful. 2014 will soon come. Send them back home, send them back home, send them back home.”  OK I know, my attempt at rewriting such a great Christmas carol may not ever make it to the Billboard’s Top 100 but you get my point. The daily activities (or lack thereof) in Washington has exhausted me. I cannot wait until election time 2014 when hopefully we can send the current group of politicians, Democrats and Republicans, back home replacing them with some new faces who actually want to do something. So since Christmas is right around the corner I thought I’d share with you all my Christmas gift list to Santa.

Dear Santa,

Let me begin by saying that I find it amazing that the liberal media doesn’t bash you more than they already do for hiring cheap labor.  You better be careful or else the Unions will be picketing the North Pole just like they do Wal-Mart. If you check the records you’ll see that I’ve been a very nice boy this year. For example, I have not lied at all this year. I told the truth when I remarked that Obamacare was going to fail as well as when I said that people would lose their insurance. Financially I’ve also been very good. I actually set a budget and followed it. It was tough but I made sure to cut my spending so that I didn’t overspend. I’ve also haven’t made disparaging comments or have I eavesdropped on conversations.  So since I’ve been such a nice boy I thought that there would be a chance to get some of the things on my Christmas list, here it is:

  1. More Jobs. Santa, unlike you and your “little” employees, there are many people this Christmas who are out of a job. While the federal government claims unemployment is at 7% the real unemployment number is closer to 11.5%. I know that Obama has said that he will fix this but Santa it has been 5 years now and he hasn’t. I hope you can.
  2. Repeal Obamacare.  Look Santa I’m sure there are plenty of people this Christmas who would love some insurance. They had insurance that they liked but they couldn’t keep.  However, thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act they can get “better” insurance. All they have to do is navigate through a broken and unsecured website and select one of the more expensive plans with limited coverage and hope that when they push “enroll” that the insurers actually enroll them.
  3. Cut Spending. I know that it has to cost a lot of money to run the North Pole and deliver toys to millions of kids worldwide; however, I doubt that it costs as much as it does to run the United States. I mean revenue is higher than ever, but that increased revenue comes at a cost. There are so many wonderful people employed by the federal government. If you could just send some spending cuts we might be able to pay them better. You know maybe they will be able to make 2 or even 3 times the amount of their private sector counterparts.

So Santa those are just three of the many things I’d love to have this Christmas. There are more such as around $18 trillion. I hope you’re able to achieve these things, I have all the faith in the world in you unlike Congress. Once again, thanks.

Justin Sumner

P.S. If you could let everyone know how thankful I am for them checking out The Elephant Cage and that I hope the click on the follow button to the right. Thanks

 

Fast Cars, Lost Lives

Photo of crash that killed Paul Walker and friend.

Photo of crash that killed Paul Walker and friend.

“Speed kills” is an adage that more people should understand.  According to the National Safety Council, every one out of three fatal crashes involves speeding. It is an epidemic that is worse then almost any other in America.  In all likelihood you know someone who has died or been seriously injured either due to being in a speeding vehicle or by being struck by one.  So the question is, what can be done about it?  Some people will point to a national speed limit around 55 MPH as helping with speeding as well as energy consumption but in reality it wouldn’t help with speeding.  People would still speed, except instead of going 10 over they’d be going 20 over. This evident in big cities like Atlanta where the speed limit on I-75 is 55 within city limits but people continue to drive 70+. Another solution would be passing more “super speeder” laws like in Georgia where if caught going 75+ MPH on a two lane road or 85+ MPH on any road then an extra $200 is tacked on to the speeding ticket.  This helps to deter some people from speeding or at least going quite so fast but it still doesn’t do enough. I think that the punishment should be even stricter, such as instantly losing your license on your first offense for 30 days or even jail for a few days or a week. Something that would hurt someone’s life so bad that they’d truly think twice before risking hurting another person’s life.  That is a decent solution but an even better solution would be for car companies to stop making cars that can go 100+ MPH. Why do they need to make cars that can drive so fast when it is illegal to ever drive that fast on a public road? I drive a Dodge Charger, the speedometer says it can go 140 MPH. It may be able to but I wouldn’t know because I’ve rarely had it above 75 MPH. I know that speed sells but speed also kills so why can’t car companies simply began making cars that top out at I don’t know, 85 MPH. They don’t need all of that horsepower and could focus more on increase fuel mileage instead. So this is just an option and somewhat of a plea to car companies. Let’s not have to get the government involved in ending this speeding epidemic. The last thing I want is more regulations, instead why don’t you, the big car companies, stop caring so much about money and more about the safety of your customers. Thanks.