Friday, December 24, 2010

Two Revisitings

Sometimes after an idea bounces around in your head awhile, a new angle or better example occurs to you. Not a disagreement with what you thought earlier, but an expansion.

In the infamous post which attracted 60 comments (no. link.), a disputant made the comment that 70-80% of gov't spending was a transfer of wealth from men to women. The idea was so moronic that I didn't even bother to correct it at first, and others on the thread seemed to be doing a good job without me anyway. (I did eventually break down on the 61st comment and put the whole thing to rest with some force, BTW, which I should have done immediately.) The heart of the argument seemed to be that men pay in more to Social Security, etc, and women draw out more.

That's how it's done, of course. We guys pay in money to a separate account labeled FROM MEN, and we all collectively get moral credit for that. Then the various governments at every level shift 70-80% of that over into another account labeled TO WOMEN, from which those general freeriders draw at will. Those few other women, who happened to contribute, just have to endure the shame of it. Because they're women, after all, and that's what they deserve. You won't see that in the budget, of course. It's a secret. The other 20-30% of the budgets go to fund all the minor items like schools, police, defense, courts, infrastructure - that sort of thing.

In imagining that, I thought of the "worst" individual examples, from the old days when we could enforce patriarchy without any of this nonsense from the weaker sex. I thought of the very traditional model, perhaps the one our parents had, of a man who went out and worked all his life, wife never employed outside the home, who retired at 65 and died at 70. His wife lived to be 80. This is the guy, according to the complaint, who is getting the rawest deal of all. He paid in lots, his wife didn't (for we are conveniently ignoring the economic value of her labor for this complaint); he collects for 5 years, she for 15. I imagined putting these wealth-transfer numbers in front of a bunch of those guys down at the lodge in the 1950's to try and evoke some outrage.

Not gonna happen. Those guys would have looked at the numbers and said "Yep. That's exactly how we want it to be. Don't change a thing." And those are the ones, according to the complaint, who are getting ripped off the most.

If they don't have a problem with it, I don't see why anyone else should.


During the 2004 election, a liberal told me quite angrily that he was voting for Kerry because he loved his children and cared about their safety. Well, the implication that the rest of us don't love our children is pretty stupid and insulting, and I am amazed that a supposedly intelligent person (he is a moderately-prominent local attorney) lets such foolishness emerged from their mouths without editing. There is next the irony that his children (who we know) are among the unlikeliest people to end up in the military, and certainly not in combat infantry units, so George Bush and his ilk, always sending us into illegalwarsbasedonlies, is not going to measurably affect the safety of his children all that directly. I am not even going into the radical idea that some wars might actually make us safer, or at minimum, avoiding some wars might actually increase our danger.

But if you look at the attorney's comment in another sense, in the tribal sense of who runs the country and gets the best jobs, he's got a point. He is quite dramatically a part of the elite, and he is defending his childrens right to rule by keeping his tribe in power. They're smart kids and would likely do well under just about any American government, of course, but you get the idea.

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