Dennis Eric Stout
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A lot of people these days are complaining about government being too big or too out of control.

To counter that, a lot of people are saying that we have fewer government employees per capita now than ever before, and federal spending as a percentage of GDP is lower than ever before.


Some people are unable to understand what other people are saying.

When someone is complaining about the government costing them too much, they're saying that they're taking a ton of money and not giving enough service back. They're also saying that they are not making enough money to live a life worth living.

Now, one can argue the subjective concept of "a life worth living", but let's look at whether or not there might be an objective measure that makes a person feel the need to say that.

This requires some psychological study. First of all, "hard work" is a subjective thing, and what I consider "hard work" and what someone else considers "hard work" can be two different things. To me, lifting 50 pounds is hard. Arnold might disagree. I find building a web server fairly easy. Arnold might again disagree and call it hard. So, in all things, we have a subjective concept of what is hard and what is easy.

Having "a lot" and "not much" is also subjective. I consider myself to have a lot. I have knowledge, I have information, I have memories, I have skills. These are things that are important to me to have. Some people look at the fact that I have a small house, am using fourth-hand furniture and still don't have enough to furnish the house, and say that I do not have a lot. I also look at other people and determine that some have a lot while others have little, and I like to consider material assets to be a part of it but not the whole thing. And still other people with more than I have look at themselves and all that they have and say it just isn't a whole heck of a lot.

So, we have two different subjective things. "Hard work" and "a lot".

When someone is doing what they consider to be hard work and has nothing to show for it sees someone who they believe is not working very hard but yet has a lot, that builds contempt between the two.

The reality of the situation doesn't really matter. Consider the subjectiveness of it. If the guy making the claim that he's working really hard and the other isn't is looking at his life as a mechanic versus the other guys life of pushing paperwork, he is correct from his point of view. Then you get down to the compensation of it and the guy making the claim might be making the same wage as the other guy, but chooses to stick a bunch in savings so he can one day retire. The other guy might be blowing every paycheck on all kinds of knick-knacks and vacations. The guy making the claim that he doesn't have a lot only sees the other persons material wealth compared to his own, and might be making the assumption that not only does he have those things, but he is preparing for retirement as well, because it's just common sense that everyone is saving up for retirement.

The concept of subjectiveness and who has what information is very important. In my example above, the guy claiming the other guy had more than he did actually has less.

But, you have to recognize error when you see it in order to figure out why someone feels the way they do.

Now, how does this fit in with wanting smaller government and government to be more controlled?

I look at how hard I work, doing what the bossman tells me to do day in and day out. I am oppressed by the loans I had to take out to get the slip of paper that allowed me to get the job. I live paycheck to paycheck. Due to inflation, it costs to much for me to go have new experiences to generate more memories with, so even though I have everything I want, I am no longer growing as a person. That means I am dieing.

Then I look at politicians, who are not doing what I tell them to, and they are making money hand over fist because their position allows them to engage in insider trading without punishment because they passed a law legalizing it for congress and the senate. They truly are above the law. Can I pass a law that disallows them to engage in insider trading? No.

Can I elect in other politicians? Yes. Will they persuade enough of the rest to change the law about that? Probably not. And so it goes.

Do they work hard? Not really, they just get up and talk on the floor. They have staff who write bills for them, they present them, and they have staff who reads the bills for them and gives them highlights. That was made evident most recently by the healthcare thing.

Since I am in the position prescribed by the system to be in control of them and I cannot, then is the government out of control? Absolutely.

On the other hand, there are people who are living almost as well as I am but don't have to deal with the misery of soul crushing work. They are welfare recipients. They are not required to work; they are only required to look for work. They get less money than I do, definitely. But they have more hours in a day to do things I can only dream about doing for lack of time. They get to have meaningful conversations, play role-play games like D&D, and enjoy the outdoors when the weather is perfect.

Me? I don't have many meaningful conversations these days, and definitely not every day. My work shift pretty much precludes me from any activity that involves other people socially - I have played exactly one session of D&D since I moved to TX and it was rather unsatisfying (but I appreciate that the two involved gave it a shot). I also don't get to enjoy the outdoors at all.

So.. I make less money than politicians who have all the time in the world to run marathons and attend fancy dinners, I have more money than the welfare peeps who lead a life of adventure and meaning... and here I sit with nothing from either world, but I am told by the politicians that I need to give what little I do have to the poorer people.

Fuck you. The poor people have more than I do. If you want them to have even more, give it to them out of your coffers of millions of dollars. Leave me alone.

The government is out of control, and it is costing me so much that I cannot fight against it.
Part of the problem is that the people who are costing you so much money aren't the poor, but the rich who are taking more and more out of the economy and hoarding it to themselves. Income inequality is the problem. Your wage stagnation is the fault of the wealthy whose incomes have increased exponentially while yours has remained flat. They do not "work" for their money; they let their money "work" for them and that includes buying politicians and funding astroturf "movements" like the Tea Party.

You are not told the truth, which is that your tax dollars are by far being given to the wealthiest in no-bid military contracts. The poor get crumbs by comparison. Those welfare recipients lead meaningless lives and their adventures consist of dodging bullets in the 'hood. Your real enemy if you aspire to become or remain middle class is the wealthy bastards who want it all to themselves.
That kind of proves my point.

What you just said is what people tell me as an argument for why I am wrong to say what I say, but you just agreed with me.

The objects of my statement include "I don't have enough money", "rich people are demanding I give up what little I have", and "I'm told I need to give up even more of my time to cover the people who are not giving up their time."

The Democrats who want to argue that with me would do better to actually recognize the objects of what I am saying, explain to me that they're going to fix it, and then actually proceed to do so.

To dress up agreement as an argument and tell me I'm wrong while agreeing with me just tells me I need to take my vote elsewhere.
Edited at 2011-03-01 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm with you Dennis.

I look at what I have and I feel like I am well off. Sure it's a two bedroom apartment full of furniture graciously donated by dead people, and what I have consist primarily of slightly out of date electronics and bicycles, but to me that makes me wealthy.

What makes me upset in general is there is more than one faction competing to take as much of what I earn as they can, and sometimes they work together to do it. I've lost nearly everything I own, twice, in a five year period. I recovered both times, thanks in large part to the help of family and friends. During both occasions assaults from multiple outside factions worked overtime to try to prevent my recovery. I find it difficult to find a "groove" to settle into or to work myself into "gainfulness" with a shop vac pointed at my pay money.

One of those factions is obvious. The other is the government, what the government takes is compounded by what the other takes. There is a blind eye towards that.

Nolawitch is right about the military contracts. It's not just military contracts, there are other things that filter through the government and are just as bad. Republicans are largely guilty of the military contracts, Democrats are generally guilty of social programs that instead of helping create a new modern vote producing slave class. Republicans build a military complex and kill people, Democrats build human feed lots and make lives not worth living. I don't know which is worse. Now we have a Tea Party movement that is trying to make people think Republicans are Libertarians, which has fractured that party, the Democrat party was already fractured, yet the public at large wont consider going outside of the "two party system" so we're doomed to suffer the two parties that are playing the same game but for different teams.

I'm ready to play a different game all together.
If you believe yourself to be wealthy, then you are. Wealth is not computed by money alone. I have a large wealth of knowledge and intelligence, so I consider myself wealthy.

What you are describing with the multiple factions competing to take what you have is a byproduct of inflation. It used to be that you'd buy the one super expensive thing for a hobby, and then everything else was dirt cheap. 40$ for a fish tank, then the fish were 25cents each and the bags of rock were 50cents a pound. Well, the tanks are still 40$/ea because they won't sell for any more than that, but they've risen the cost of the fish (3$/ea for what used to be a quarter) and the gravel (6$/lb) to compensate. If you calculate the cost of a tank and 4 fish, you'll see an overall increase. Every hobby is like that now.

I used to do a lot of beading, the looms were expensive at around 250$ but the beads were dirt-ass cheap, thread was almost free.. I mean, I could get a huge bag of beads for a buck and spools of thread for free on occasion, or 1$ for 5 spools when it wasn't. Now it's 5$ for a spool and that spool is a tenth the size it used to be, and the beads are 5$ for a small vial. But the loom is still only 250$!

I could cite a hundred more examples of that in computers, astronomy, gardening, sewing, or whatever else. For the ones that haven't suffered that odd inflation, they've just had the regular straight-up "everything costs more" style.

You also have other factions working against you, but you have to admit that's kind of special case. Not everyone has a succubus in tow! But, since that topic exists, I wonder how much cheaper our legal system would be if it were more just. Just is not just the blind obedience to law, true justice determines whether the law is right to exist or not. If we fixed a lot of that, our government cost would go down. I think a good step towards that, unrelated to your succubus, is disallowing agencies from being able to pass legislation without so much as a vote by elected officials. Especially when that legislation bills a farm 600$/cow. Whether you think that is a good bill or not does not negate the fact that it was passed with absolutely no vote from any elected official, at all. That means we had no voice in it, at all. There are 600,000 more bills like that. Are they all good? Are they all bad? I dunno, and neither do our congressmen or senators. Unlike the health care bill that they chose not to read, they didn't even know these existed!

So, next faction, the executive branch. The executive branch is the one creating those executive rules that culminate into 600,000 mystery laws. You can bet they didn't consult the legislative branch when inventing them. Again, whether you think those laws are good or think they're bad doesn't matter. They could be counter to the direction the legislature wishes to go, and given the sheer volume of them, I'd bet that at least one of them is. If not, 100 or even a 1000.

Defense spending is a joke these days. Even the military wants less. They want to shrink our nuclear arsenal (it's expensive to have sitting around, it's expensive to maintain, it's expensive to secure, and we're not going to use it), replace more soldiers with drones (drones may cost a lot upfront, but consider that the average soldier receives 4,000,000$ worth of training in a 20year career; then add in their pay, benefits, etc.. drones don't require training or treatment under fair labor laws), and are being tasked to do things that is not proper for a military to do.

I support liberation, I really do. But we're spread a little thin, so let's stop helping the people who have told us to go away and finish helping the people who do want help. Maybe once we finish one or two of these things, the other people will trust us enough to invite us over to help them. What a concept! And it would cost us less too; we'd be fighting far fewer factions.

The game needs to change, that's for sure. Do you realize that the only person to gain us more freedom here in the past 50 years is an Iranian muslim woman who only speaks Farsi, and only did it as a sort of collateral damage in an attack on oppression in Iran?