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Author Topic: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?  (Read 4294 times)

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Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2012, 09:30:21 PM »
Serephino, my sincerest sympathies at being stuck with Comcast.  I had that for a year and it was terrible.

I can understand why Verizon would want 100 signatures, though.  They have to set up all the stuff in your area, so if they did it for just a few people, it'd cost them more money than they'd get from your business.

If you can't get the sigs, have you looked into satellite?

Offline Serephino

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2012, 03:04:18 AM »
I'm not sure if satellite is offered here for internet, and they aren't that reliable for TV.  People I know told me they like to stick it to you with underhanded shit too, like saying they'll do free installation, but charging an equipment fee of $90 for a little metal poll.  A mother of a guy I dated said she was forewarned of that, and bought one herself at Lowe's for like $5 and made them use that.  The guy tried to argue with her, saying their special poll was needed, but she held them up side by side and proved their was no difference.

Back on topic though, yes, I'm sure there are things that could be cut.  Thing is, the GOP doesn't want to go through and cut specific stuff, especially the stuff that makes them all fat and happy.  Nope, they want to just gut the hell out of social programs because the poor are just a nuisance anyway, and get rid of regulations that hinder the profits of their major donors. 

I'm all for cutting actual fat, and getting rid of stuff that genuinely isn't needed/doesn't do much good.     

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2012, 11:42:43 AM »
Oh yeah, any time you let one company have a monopoly in a situation, they're going to take advantage.  That's why it's important to have competition so that they'll weed out their own problems.  You probably already know about how capitalism is supposed to work, though.  (If you don't, let me know and I'll help explain.)

Parties never want to cut their own stuff, though, Democrat or Republican.  They both get special little favors for having the things in.  I can't tell just from text if you honestly believe that this is a GOP-only issue or if you know that Democrats do it too and just want to focus more on the GOP side.

However, I actually believe that the only way parties will get fixed is by their own members.  Republicans don't really care what Democrats think because they know they won't get their votes, and vice versa.  I'm not in the Tea Party but I love how they're trying to get rid of the establishment career politicians of their own party and have actually had some success there; I'm curious whether Occupy will do the same.

I may be getting partly off topic here, though I think it's all fairly relevant.  Callie, let me know if this kind of thing is alright.

Online Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2012, 12:08:56 PM »
Well mostly it's a GOP thing, the downsizing government, but not exclusively. Look CAREFULLY at what the candidates say when they are running for office. Like Herman Cain, to use one of the more extreme tea party candidates.

He wanted to shut down outright departments of labor, education and energy. That would really mess up things. A lot.

Democrats tend to favor the use of regulatory agencies for 'balancing the marketplace' and 'protecting the consumer'. Tell me how removing regulatory authoritity on the fuel industry, killing OSHA, crippling the EPA and taking away oversight on worker safety in the workplace and destroying the Food/Drugs Administrations ability to safeguard the food production industry is in our best industry?

I'm more Reagan conservative, 'right sized' over downsizing everything. Ronnie was all for downsizing government, but also maintained some regulation was a good thing.

Look at the way our banks have been this last five years.. do you HONESTLY think they will go 'Oh yeah..this is illegal/unethical/anticompetion.. so we aren't going to do it.'?

Yes, it would be ideally suitable and cost effective for industry to selfregulate.. but let's be honest.. it's counter-intuitive. Industry isn't going to do anything that curtails their profits till they are forced to. And look at what the big ISP/Cable companies are doing to the internet in the US. We were the FIRST part of the internet, yet we lag behind in all facets now because it's more profitable to squeeze every dime out of the customer rather than upgrade and update the hardware.

If we let the ISPs provide the service they want.. they'd charge us by the byte.. you'd pay MORE to use services that comcast/att/whoever didn't like.. and lose even more bandwidth for using things that they aren't paid for by producer and user.

'Self-regulation' has been a byword in the GOP for a while..and any idiot with two brain cells knows it's not in our collective best interest to allow it.

And no Andyz.. you wern't too far off the topic in your comments.. its sorta of a tangent.. but it too far off and you came back.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 12:10:38 PM by Callie Del Noire »

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2012, 01:58:07 PM »
Good enough.  Just nudge me if I do get too far, but I think I'm tangential enough to continue to make points.

From my understanding, this is how capitalism is supposed to work:

Ordinarily, there will be a number of different products which compete for customers.  When there's only one company, that creates a monopoly, which is bad.  The monopoly can effectively do whatever they want, like Serephino's case of raising their rates just because.

In order to counteract this, there has to be a low barrier of entry, so that new companies can start up whenever they want.  Your average Jane can just look at $2,000 gold necklaces and say, "What the crap?  I can have them made for $1,500," and start up a business to do so.  That way, companies who gouge their customers have to be careful about going too crazy, and competition keeps things under control.

Now, that low barrier to entry is where the trouble starts.  We have so many regulations that small businesses can't learn them all, but big businesses have the lawyers that let them weasel through things.  The last time I had this conversation, it got compared to an RPG with several dozen books.  Have you ever had that one friend who knew the entire system inside out and could run roughshod over any GM?

Roleplaying games handle this by coming out with new editions.  They streamline everything and make it easier for new players to pop in.  Government doesn't ever do this; if anything, they just keep compounding stuff and make it even harder.  I think John Stossel said it was 80,000 pages of regulations last year, and I don't know if that's hyperbole or not, but even if it's only 8,000 every year, how is any small business owner supposed to be able to keep up?

(If that number is wrong, let me know how much it really is.)

Now, an alternative to the capitalism method would be having the government set the price, but that really doesn't work.  Prices have to stay fluid, going up or down based on supply and demand, and government has shown time and again that they aren't able to keep up with such things.

I also wouldn't be interested in seeing a government-run ISP.  Look at the horrendous job they do with the public school systems, the roads and so on.  The free market isn't perfect, but when you leave it alone, it handles a lot of these problems on its own.

Now, that doesn't mean that you don't need government at all, it means that government has gotten too bloated, and while big businesses can play the system, small businesses are trapped by the rules which are meant to contain the big businesses.

If you're a Reagan conservative, you may want to look into Art Laffer and some of what he's said about it all.

Online Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2012, 02:16:58 PM »
Okay.. first off.. those HUGE numbers of pages.. not all of them apply to every form of business. A lot of them are tied into finances.. stuff the BANKS wants before they give you the money you need to purchase the means of production.

What does a guy selling books need to know about the OSHA manual for the disposal of gasoline water or the FDA's safety inspection criteria for meat handling?

Don't take what a politician says at face value.. odds are he's lying, mistating or leaving out vital facts. (like the crap the Dem's are doing on the shutdown of the steel mill being Romney's doing. (He set the policies that Bain used.. but by then he was out of leading it), or the suit that the GOP is accusing the president of steeling the right to vote from the military members.)

Consider the source.. all those SuperPACs with names like 'America for Patriots'.. they don't always reflect what they say they represent.

Look into the men shaping the policies and ads of the elections. A lot of the GOP strategists leading the charge have learned from the Nixon white house and had fifty years of learning to hide their lies.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2012, 02:29:25 PM »
Yes, that's why I try to get the other side on things.

I'd love to read more about debates between people on the left and people on the right, who are very educated and can explain things where both sides are trying to be honest, but it seems to be quite a rarity.

You've probably already heard about the things where government groups will ban home-grown food from consumption, or how an endangered insect keeps people from being able to repair their houses.  Stories about kids' lemonade stands getting shut down are a dime a dozen.  These are the kinds of things that don't really block big businesses but hurt small businesses.

What about the idea of going through the various codes line by line, and seeing what things are redundant and can be streamlined?

Online Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2012, 03:07:02 PM »
Yes, that's why I try to get the other side on things.

I'd love to read more about debates between people on the left and people on the right, who are very educated and can explain things where both sides are trying to be honest, but it seems to be quite a rarity.

You've probably already heard about the things where government groups will ban home-grown food from consumption, or how an endangered insect keeps people from being able to repair their houses.  Stories about kids' lemonade stands getting shut down are a dime a dozen.  These are the kinds of things that don't really block big businesses but hurt small businesses.

What about the idea of going through the various codes line by line, and seeing what things are redundant and can be streamlined?

The 'Raw Milk/Eggs' crisis that the FDA is so hellbound on? The one that some sources say were instigated by the dairy industry to go after the 'fringe'? Along with the push to remove 'organic' and 'hormone free' labels from milk as un-needed and such.

Anyone that has looked into the Bovine Growth Hormone issues know that if damn near EVERY other first world nation bans it that there has to be some concerns.. And what is so wrong with labellings things as being BGH free? I don't want to drink the stuff. It's amazing how much 'unhealthy' things pop up that are counter to the Corporate Food industry.

You grow crops cross containated by Monsanto's hybrid/gene altered corn/soy.. it's YOUR fault and you get sued. It's YOUR fault..their pollen blows into your field.. and YOU are the one stealing their copyrighted product. (Please show me how to control stray pollen).

The corporations quash studies into the nutrition value of hybrid/frankenfood crops. They push down moves to label products for gene-altered content. You get cross contamination from gene-altered crops taht were never considered for human consumption. Look into crop diversity counts.. since Monsanto and others got the right to copyright life forms.

And when the Organic farming trends came out.. suddenly it was 'unsafe' to use cleaning methods that weren't hugely industrial at the same time as the number of investigators in meat packing plants and food service were culled down to a fifty year low. As a percentage today, food safety inspections of meat packing plants and such are an all time low. I'm willing to bet it's nearly the lowest since the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906.

Today.. it is ILLEGAL to write something as truthful about the industry as The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. 

Persecuting the Amish for selling 'raw milk' and folks for selling home grown food is great ways to distract from the fact that folks are dying from food processing mistakes by big industry. And they don't have the big law firms to protect themselves either.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2012, 03:42:13 PM »
The way I figure it, you should be able to sell whichever kind you want and let the public decide what they want to buy.  Now, I'd want it to be illegal to have things like broken glass in food, but that's something you could sue for and/or get the violator arrested for anyway.

Now, labels would still have to be accurate, but if someone wants to pay 3 cents for a pound for some animal that most people wouldn't want to eat, let them sell it.  If people actually want it, it'll sell, and if not, the market will take it down on its own.

Your various examples only show how the major corporations and government collude on these things, and the regulations don't actually hurt big business.

Now, compare an article about how New York City has banned food donations to homeless shelters "because the city canít assess their salt, fat and fiber content": http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/19/bloomberg-strikes-again-nyc-bans-food-donations-to-the-homeless/

Of course, you can look at what else Bloomberg has banned and it stops being a surprise.

Now, would some of the companies attempt to take advantage?  Possibly.  Labeling is still important, but we still have enough medical experts and studies done in order to ascertain what is and isn't good for you.  However, not every business would immediately fall into the idea of selling you the worst crap they possibly could.  Even if many of them did, enough farms and such would start up simply to have better stuff, like the organic farm types of things have popped up.

I maintain that big businesses like having all the regulations, because it makes it harder for people like the Amish and small farms.

Online Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #34 on: August 10, 2012, 05:19:41 PM »
Wow..

Just.. wow..

bloomberg once again blows my ability to put things to words.. wow.....


Offline MasterMischief

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #35 on: August 10, 2012, 09:56:23 PM »
Quote from: AndyZ
Stories about kids' lemonade stands getting shut down are a dime a dozen.

No.  Not really.  Unless you are watching Fox News or any other countless propaganda machines.  Of course when you start digging deeper...

Will Obamacare Kill Off White Castle?

Warning: Mother Jones is liberal, so feel free to discount out of hand.

Quote from: AndyZ
Now, would some of the companies attempt to take advantage?  Possibly.

Possibly?  Possibly?!

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2012, 10:56:52 PM »
http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/155167/158/County-Shuts-Down-Kids-Lemonade-Stand-500-Fine

http://bcove.me/b5wzkasu

http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Coralville-Police-Shutdown-Several-Childrens-Lemonade-Stands-126592563.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/08/portland_lemonade_stand_runs_i.html  (In this one, at least, one of the chairmen has the sense to tell the inspectors to back off later on)

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2010/07/sf_cops_lemonade_stand.php

Do you need more?

Possibly?  Possibly?!

Why would it be profitable?  Look what happened to Ford when they tried to cut corners on their recall; they got the pants sued off of them and the media dragged them through the mud.  You think big business is more scared of the government than they are of a fiasco which nosedives their sales?

I don't really understand the idea that corporations will gladly gouge their customers in order to make a profit.  Unhappy customers are not repeat customers unless there's a monopoly, and lowering the barrier to entry is the best way to avoid monopolies.

I also don't really see any correlation between the kids' lemonade and the White Castle, so you'll have to enlighten me there.

Offline Serephino

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2012, 05:16:54 AM »
Yeah, but how many people got hurt before they issued a recall?  I read something a while ago that a Chinese company wanted to sell us plastic cars because they were cheaper.  Unfortunately, they're also death traps.  Engines get hot, and plastic melts.  Add a really hot summer day and moving at say, 65mph...  Those cheap cars didn't come anywhere close to meeting US safety standards.

I can't drink my own water without getting sick.  When I get out of the shower I smell like I've just been in a public pool.  Why?  Because my house is at the beginning of the town water system.  My water has twice the amount of chlorine it's supposed to, and at the end of the system they have half the chlorine they're supposed to.  It's a major design flaw that's been a problem since I was a kid.  It hasn't been fixed because no one has come in and made the water company do so.  All they have to do is give everyone an annual report, and they only have to fix it if certain chemicals of a certain level are detected during testing.  Chlorine is supposed to be in the water, and is relatively safe, so why bother?  I mean, just because my boyfriend and I were drinking a lot of tap water, both felt really sick for a long period of time, and said illness magically went away when we started buying distilled water, that doesn't mean anything. 

I swear, there is a recall of something every other week.  Companies sell stuff that isn't safe, and they probably know it.  It's all about how to produce the product as cheaply as possible, then sell it at the best profit.  They could go years without major incident, with only a few people getting hurt.  But tell me, if it was your baby that was killed by a faulty crib/playpen, wouldn't it piss you off that they were allowed to sell such shoddy crap?  You assume that since it's on store shelves it's safe, but that's really not true.  Pick up some gummy candy made in China sometime and look at the ingredients.  They use titanium dioxide.  Do you really want to eat metal?  I don't, which is why I refuse to buy gummy candy made in China without checking the ingredients first. 

I personally don't think we should buy any food from China.  They feed their own people plastic rice that's killing them for crying out loud.  They don't care.  Then there was that whole thing with arsenic in apple juice from China.  The FDA swore up and down it was relatively safe, and then they made it so juice companies didn't have to put on the label where the juice came from.  Oh, yeah, I really really want to eat titanium dioxide and drink arsenic!  And did juice companies stop buying concentrate from China?  Nope.  The they took advantage of not having to admit it anymore. 

I don't know if it's true, but my boyfriend told me Betty Crocker got in trouble for putting an addictive substance in their food.  I've heard McDonalds is suspected of the same, but no evidence has been found.  I can only imagine what would be in our food and drink if there were no regulations, because the fact of the matter is large companies have no problem doing underhanded shit they try to hide from their customers.  You can't just buy from their competitor when you don't know they're doing something like that.  And here's a thought, what if the competition does it too?  If it makes a good profit for company A, then why wouldn't company B jump at it too, and just undercut the price a few cents?

Offline js207

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2012, 09:24:10 AM »
The closing part of the 'Mother Jones' defense of ObamaCare is unintentionally almost hilarious - that it's really a good thing for their staff because it will"liberate" them from their jobs, after it cuts their hours (and income).

On the bright side, in exchange for the half-trillion dollar Medicare cuts, it only leaves 30m uninsured, instead of the 30m uninsured otherwise...

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2012, 11:06:52 AM »
Yeah, but how many people got hurt before they issued a recall?  I read something a while ago that a Chinese company wanted to sell us plastic cars because they were cheaper.  Unfortunately, they're also death traps.  Engines get hot, and plastic melts.  Add a really hot summer day and moving at say, 65mph...  Those cheap cars didn't come anywhere close to meeting US safety standards.

I can't drink my own water without getting sick.  When I get out of the shower I smell like I've just been in a public pool.  Why?  Because my house is at the beginning of the town water system.  My water has twice the amount of chlorine it's supposed to, and at the end of the system they have half the chlorine they're supposed to.  It's a major design flaw that's been a problem since I was a kid.  It hasn't been fixed because no one has come in and made the water company do so.  All they have to do is give everyone an annual report, and they only have to fix it if certain chemicals of a certain level are detected during testing.  Chlorine is supposed to be in the water, and is relatively safe, so why bother?  I mean, just because my boyfriend and I were drinking a lot of tap water, both felt really sick for a long period of time, and said illness magically went away when we started buying distilled water, that doesn't mean anything. 

I swear, there is a recall of something every other week.  Companies sell stuff that isn't safe, and they probably know it.  It's all about how to produce the product as cheaply as possible, then sell it at the best profit.  They could go years without major incident, with only a few people getting hurt.  But tell me, if it was your baby that was killed by a faulty crib/playpen, wouldn't it piss you off that they were allowed to sell such shoddy crap?  You assume that since it's on store shelves it's safe, but that's really not true.  Pick up some gummy candy made in China sometime and look at the ingredients.  They use titanium dioxide.  Do you really want to eat metal?  I don't, which is why I refuse to buy gummy candy made in China without checking the ingredients first. 

I personally don't think we should buy any food from China.  They feed their own people plastic rice that's killing them for crying out loud.  They don't care.  Then there was that whole thing with arsenic in apple juice from China.  The FDA swore up and down it was relatively safe, and then they made it so juice companies didn't have to put on the label where the juice came from.  Oh, yeah, I really really want to eat titanium dioxide and drink arsenic!  And did juice companies stop buying concentrate from China?  Nope.  The they took advantage of not having to admit it anymore. 

I don't know if it's true, but my boyfriend told me Betty Crocker got in trouble for putting an addictive substance in their food.  I've heard McDonalds is suspected of the same, but no evidence has been found.  I can only imagine what would be in our food and drink if there were no regulations, because the fact of the matter is large companies have no problem doing underhanded shit they try to hide from their customers.  You can't just buy from their competitor when you don't know they're doing something like that.  And here's a thought, what if the competition does it too?  If it makes a good profit for company A, then why wouldn't company B jump at it too, and just undercut the price a few cents?


See, the water company has a monopoly.  As I've already explained, monopolies are bad.

A lot of the issue with the government stuff is that they have monopolies.  Some things, like public schools, you can buy a private school education, but not all.  There's no way to get away from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation if you want to use public roads, which is why you get stuff like this:



Full story here: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/08/penndot_blames_squirrelly_road.html  For those of you reading who aren't in PA, this is only the most recent story.

The change in the logic is that you wouldn't just assume it was safe because it was on shelves.  But then, can you really assume that now?  If companies are always doing these recalls, if the FDA lets these poisonous things go through, what the crap are these agencies even doing?  Why are we spending billions of dollars on them?

One big part of the argument for privatizing a lot of the companies like PennDoT is that it gets rid of the monopoly problem.  If we don't like the shoddy job that a company is doing, we can fire them and hire someone better.

Now, I'll certainly agree that you don't want to give carte blanche.  By all means put people in jail or sue their pants off if they knowingly put harmful substances in the food.  However, why do we need federal agencies dedicated to that?  Negligence charges would be enough for the local cops to arrest them and the FDA doesn't hire you a lawyer when you take them to court.

If you open things up for others to start in, rather than buckling down with rules and regulations so that small businesses can't really compete, then someone out there is going to do things honestly.  Why wouldn't they when people want the product?  Some people out there only want the cheapest possible thing, but a lot of people want quality stuff and are willing to pay a little more money so that it doesn't fall apart at the first touch.

If I hire someone to do a job for me and he can't do the job properly, I don't give him more money or hire on his brother as well.  I fire him and hire someone else.  It's callous, but attempting to do otherwise is what's bankrupting our system.

The closing part of the 'Mother Jones' defense of ObamaCare is unintentionally almost hilarious - that it's really a good thing for their staff because it will"liberate" them from their jobs, after it cuts their hours (and income).

On the bright side, in exchange for the half-trillion dollar Medicare cuts, it only leaves 30m uninsured, instead of the 30m uninsured otherwise...

I appreciate the effort, but you're not helping.  People aren't going to be swayed just because you tell them; you need to explain why it cuts their hours and their income, point out in Obama's own words how it cuts into Medicare and doesn't actually insure more people.  We have too many people simply saying things without being able to back them up (crap knows I'm not that great at this myself) and it would help more to have links and citations for something as huge as Obamacare.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2012, 11:38:11 AM »
Did anyone else groan at the fact that the description of the road as 'squirrely' was a direct quote from PennDOT engineer Ambrosi?

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #41 on: August 11, 2012, 11:42:27 AM »
I was too busy giggling at the puns made by the commenters.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #42 on: August 11, 2012, 11:46:17 AM »
Believe me, it's nothing but excuses mixed in with bad puns.  They don't even care; it's not like they'll be seriously reprimanded or anything.

Pennsylvania is considered to have some of the worst roads in the country.  It's just a blatant example of the problems with government.  The question becomes whether we believe that more government will fix it, or maybe we should start getting rid of the crap we already have which isn't working.

It baffles me that people are so worried about private business screwing you over but don't mind when the government does it.  With a private business, you can choose to stop using them.  With the government, you don't get any choice.

Offline Serephino

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #43 on: August 11, 2012, 02:36:10 PM »
The reason the FDA isn't doing that great of a job is because they have limited power funding.  All that crap from China, they can't do anything.  There are no regulations when it comes to imported food, even though there should be.  There are strict standards in how much arsenic can be in apple juice produced in the US, but China, we have to rely on their laws, and there are none.  Like Callie said, when every other first world country bans something, but our government swears it's relatively safe, you really have to wonder. 

Okay, so part of your argument is that with a bunch of regulations, small business can't compete.  Do you really think they can compete now?  Let's use Walmart as an example.  They come in to an area and pretty much devastate the local economy.  They do this by selling their cheap crap from China cheaper than any small business who sells quality items made in the US ever could.  Maybe some people will take quality over saving money, but most will not.  If the majority cared more about quality, Walmart's strategy wouldn't work so well.  They can even operate at a loss for a while because the corporation is so big the money they'd have to keep pumping in until all the competition is squashed is pocket change.  Then, once all major competition is gone, they raise their prices to operate at a profit again, which they don't have to raise very high, because again, cheap crap made in China...

If you wanted to open a store, how would you compete with that?  Even if you could manage to figure out how to sell the same stuff cheaper, they now have that price match guarantee thing.  They're also open 24/7, which is really handy if, like me, you're a night owl.  When I was little there used to be a lot of small, privately owned stores around here.  We used to do our grocery shopping at a locally owned store.  But then Giant Eagle came in and put them out of business.  Oh, and get this...  They did have union employees.  The small store they bought out had non union employees.  Guess which ones they kept?  They would only have to pay the non union employees minimum wage.  It was a very shitty thing to do, and perfectly legal.  It was also not made public knowledge.  The only reason I know what they did is because my mom's friend's son worked at the local store at the time. 

Business does not regulate itself.  They use dirty tricks to get ahead, and if they cross the line of the law a little, they can always pay someone to look the other way.  Small locally owned stores can't do that.  I see it every day.  Downtown is a ghost town, and when I was a kid there used to be tons of small businesses.  Walmart forced them all out.  I'm just hoping the shop I get my tea from stays afloat. 

Another example; I'm being held hostage by the propane company.  They used to be locally owned too, but then Suburban Propane came in and bought them out.  Their service is horrible, but they have other ways to keep customers from leaving.  If I cancel service, they charge a $175 tank collection fee.  I could always just not pay it, but it is a valid debt since it's part of their TOS.  It'll go to collections and I'll be harassed.  By law collection agencies are allowed to call once a day every day, and they will.  Some even ignore the law completely.  We recently had to change our number because one was calling my boyfriend about eleven times a day every day.  They kept it between the hours of 8am-8pm, but it was seriously like every hour on the hour.

Then there is the hit to my credit score.  In this modern society, your credit score is everything.  We can't get the electric bill under my boyfriend's name because of his bad credit.  We can't rent from anyone who does credit checks.  We couldn't get contracted cell phones, which is another good example.  Verizon really screwed us.  When they sent us the bill we had to send payment out right away, only we couldn't because, you know, you have to have money to pay a bill.  So he'd wait until he got paid.  The payment would often be a little late, and they shut his service off after 3 days.  It was really starting to piss us off, but of course, there was the contract, and the early termination fee.  When we were finally sick of it and wanted to cancel we found out that we had to do so the very day the contract first thing at 8am.  He didn't get through until 8:15 am, so the contract had already renewed, and we got slapped with a $200 early termination fee.

What I would really like to see is a tighter rein being put on all that underhanded shit.  I want to see it made easier for small business to succeed.  They need to stop spending all that time and money making sure the word 'ass' is bleeped out if kids might be watching, and put more effort into making sure big business can't charge outrageous fees for cancelling their service and trying to get better service.  Comcast does that too by the way.  I had to pay a fee for downgrading service when I was trying to save money.  All they had to do was press a few buttons.  Then, suddenly, dial up would've been faster.  When I complained their only suggestion was to upgrade, which I had to pay another fee for.  I didn't have much choice because pages were taking 5 minutes to load, if they loaded at all.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened there.   

Offline Trieste

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Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #44 on: August 11, 2012, 03:08:14 PM »
Probably what happened was the local wiring. Internet is only as good as its physical wiring, and bad wiring plus service downgrade can mean some real frustration.

So, there are clearly a lot of conspiracy theories about large stores and utility companies; um, corporations aren't flat evil most of the time. They do what they can get away with, yes, but there are compassionate people that do run some companies. I think what is being said (mostly, I gather, by Andy) is that if you let the free market loose and abolish monopolies properly, those companies that are compassionate will tend to do better than those that cut corners. It's not that far-fetched. If you've ever had your mom say something like "Nothing really cleans like Comet does" or "It just doesn't taste the same unless I use Bisquick", that's free market at work - the patrons have learned to trust the company, and in return the company earns brand loyalty. That person is more likely to choose that brand preferentially for the rest of their life.

There have been urban legends about addictive substances in food for ages. Canadians joke about 'something in Timmy's coffee'. These are myths that should be disregarded until proven, because we have examples, concrete examples, of companies putting addictive substances in their products. Cigarettes? Still going, despite transparency. Early edition Coca-Cola? People loved it.

It should be noted that free market economics do not support healthy products; they support effective products. (And by the way, arsenic is present in low concentrations naturally in the human body. In fact, some studies suggest that we need a certain level of arsenic in our bodies.) If a product is toxic but effective, it will sell. So I think that the arguments about safety standards are probably a red herring, because arsenic-based makeups, heroin-based tonics, and Radium-infused 'health water' did absolutely fine as consumer products before regulations were brought to bear.

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Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #45 on: August 11, 2012, 03:18:12 PM »
There have been urban legends about addictive substances in food for ages. Canadians joke about 'something in Timmy's coffee'. These are myths that should be disregarded until proven, because we have examples, concrete examples, of companies putting addictive substances in their products. Cigarettes? Still going, despite transparency. Early edition Coca-Cola? People loved it.

Would that be the pre-1903 'early edition'?  :-)

Offline Caela

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #46 on: August 11, 2012, 03:22:23 PM »
The reason the FDA isn't doing that great of a job is because they have limited power funding.  All that crap from China, they can't do anything.  There are no regulations when it comes to imported food, even though there should be.  There are strict standards in how much arsenic can be in apple juice produced in the US, but China, we have to rely on their laws, and there are none.  Like Callie said, when every other first world country bans something, but our government swears it's relatively safe, you really have to wonder. 


Limited power funding may be a part of the problem, BUT, I think a bigger part of the problem is that you have a regulatory agency hiring people that used to be researchers and executives from the very industry they are supposed to be regulating. The FDA has no business hiring people that used to work for companies like Monsanto, ever. Wanting people with a good business or science base, so that they can have a better grasp of the business and science precepts involved in their job makes sense, but you hire them from industries that are not under your watch.

When the wolf is running the hen house, you can't be surprised when he wants chicken for dinner.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2012, 03:26:47 PM »
Thanks, Trieste.  I'm not really always that good at explaining.

As examples of the brand loyalty, would you possibly suggest the propane company to your friends?  If you or a friend or lover has a car, I'd recommend driving the tank right down to their office and dropping it off, which should save you the collection fee issue.  They'll probably balk, but they didn't have to collect it from you and can't charge you.

Now, think about this: how insane does a company have to be in order to do this?  How do they possibly expect to get any new customers?  Why would anyone sign up for them knowing that they can't get out?  When you can start up another company without issue, people will flock to that one.

Now, the China issue is definitely a problem, and I do support tariffs.  China's deliberately devaluing their currency in order to make things cheaper, but our government doesn't seem to want to do anything about that.

If people want to buy stuff that's toxic, though, my only issue is when I have to breathe it.  I wouldn't care about cigarettes at all if being within 10 feet of one didn't send me into hacking fits, and if people want to be pretty for the next five minutes of their life, as long as the stuff is marked as dangerous, go for it.

Caela makes a great point about why the government solution doesn't work: there's way too much collusion between government and business.  You can't trust government to keep business under control when the two work together so closely.

Rather than attempting to separate the two, though, the easier method is to stop letting the government control this stuff and giving the breaks to their sponsors.  I'll cede that it's not a perfect solution, but certainly it's better than what we're doing now.  I don't see any reason why giving more power to government would make things better when it's only made things worse so far.

Offline Serephino

Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #48 on: August 12, 2012, 04:32:41 AM »
Probably what happened was the local wiring. Internet is only as good as its physical wiring, and bad wiring plus service downgrade can mean some real frustration.

So, there are clearly a lot of conspiracy theories about large stores and utility companies; um, corporations aren't flat evil most of the time. They do what they can get away with, yes, but there are compassionate people that do run some companies. I think what is being said (mostly, I gather, by Andy) is that if you let the free market loose and abolish monopolies properly, those companies that are compassionate will tend to do better than those that cut corners. It's not that far-fetched. If you've ever had your mom say something like "Nothing really cleans like Comet does" or "It just doesn't taste the same unless I use Bisquick", that's free market at work - the patrons have learned to trust the company, and in return the company earns brand loyalty. That person is more likely to choose that brand preferentially for the rest of their life.

There have been urban legends about addictive substances in food for ages. Canadians joke about 'something in Timmy's coffee'. These are myths that should be disregarded until proven, because we have examples, concrete examples, of companies putting addictive substances in their products. Cigarettes? Still going, despite transparency. Early edition Coca-Cola? People loved it.

It should be noted that free market economics do not support healthy products; they support effective products. (And by the way, arsenic is present in low concentrations naturally in the human body. In fact, some studies suggest that we need a certain level of arsenic in our bodies.) If a product is toxic but effective, it will sell. So I think that the arguments about safety standards are probably a red herring, because arsenic-based makeups, heroin-based tonics, and Radium-infused 'health water' did absolutely fine as consumer products before regulations were brought to bear.

The first study you have there talks about levels of chemicals in urine.  There's ammonia in urine too.  If you found out your favorite drink contained ammonia in it, and a significant amount, would you keep drinking it?  Our blood has iron in it.  In fact, it's what helps our red blood cells carry oxygen, so it's kinda vital.  Too much can make you sick.  Too much of anything can make you sick.  Even drinking too much water is bad because it dilutes your blood and causes anemia.  The caffeine in a cup of coffee makes you more alert.  Chugging two energy drinks just might give you a heart attack.  So just because a small amount isn't harmful, doesn't mean a larger amount is safe too.  It's kind of like taking an over the counter supplement or diet pill and assuming it's safe because the label says it's all natural.  The FDA has a limit on how much arsenic can be in water and juice and so forth.  The apple juice concentrate from China had double, and in some cases, triple what the FDA says is a safe amount.  However, the FDA can't regulate imports like that, and China just doesn't give a crap.  They sold us toys made with lead paint, and Walmart had a massive recall, was it two years ago?

What Caela said is a very good point.  Things are a mess right now, but that doesn't mean the answer is to get rid of regulations.  If it weren't for the government telling tobacco companies they had to put warning labels on cigarettes, they wouldn't.  In fact, for quite some time, they were swearing that cigarettes weren't harmful at all.  The danger is consuming something that's toxic without knowing it.  I mean, do you even read the ingredients in what you eat?  Most people don't, and half the time you need a degree in chemistry to understand it anyway.

It is most definitely not a good idea for people who regulate something to have a special interest.  That shouldn't be allowed.  I'm not saying give the government more power, just rearrange it some.  Priorities need to be changed.  It's the government's job to see to our welfare, and they need to be able to do that.  The current system isn't working.  Self-regulating industry is what caused this train wreck we call an economy.  Letting it continue on is only going to make the problem worse.  Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  We had the roaring 20's, and then the Great Depression.  In the 80's and 90's, business was booming, and greed was good, and then... um... yeah...   

Offline Trieste

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Re: Why should we be happy with downsizing governement?
« Reply #49 on: August 12, 2012, 06:08:03 AM »
... dilute your... anemia?! Do yourself a favor and before you try to talk about water poisoning again, please google osmotic pressure and how it affects the body. Jesus fucking christ.

Serephino, you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, and apparently only read half of my links (that is, one out of the whole two I posted). You took one sentence - which was more of an interesting aside than the main thrust - and proceeded to use it as a straw man to try to rebut an argument I didn't make. What I actually said was that market forces don't prevent toxic products.

There are no words for how much ignorance is in that post.