Socio-Economic Implications

Over the past month, the Republican campaign has concentrated on the importance of economic issues, clearly trying to minimize its stance on so-called “social issues.”  This isn’t exactly surprising, and, based on polling numbers, this emphasis has clearly had an effect. But what I find surprising is that the Democrats haven’t seized on the underlying meaning of this emphasis… and what’s been lost in the attacks on Obama’s economic record.

A former executive  vice president one of largest U.S. companies once observed that what you pay for something reflects how much you value it.  Or as the old saying goes, “Money is power.” This is very much reflected in the economics behind the “social issues.”

For example, what exactly does it mean when women make only 67% of what men do? If money is indeed power, and it is, then they have a third less power than men.  But this discrepancy pervades the most intimate parts of human relationships, whether we’ll admit it or not.  For example, most health insurance plans will pay for Viagra/Cialis, but not for birth control pills.  Translation:  Those with money value male pleasure over women having control over their bodies.

If a woman gets pregnant, and abortion is not allowed, as the Republican Party platform would have it, she’s responsible for that child – but I don’t notice any legislation requiring the responsible male being required to post a quarter-million dollar bond for his half of the cost of raising that child to adulthood.  Right now, he can essentially walk away.  Oh, yes, she can file a lawsuit – except that takes money, lots of it, and most women don’t have it, and for the few that do, there’s little chance of collecting. So, when you get right down to it, abortion is also an economic issue, and the economics are stacked against the woman.

But it goes beyond abortion.  The rhetoric is all about a right to life, but the word life extends beyond birth.  Right now, the way the Republican platform and policies are, they’re talking about government guaranteeing a right-to-birth, but avoiding the hard issues of what happens after birth. They’re not alone, because most Americans are ignoring this aspect of the issue as well, including the economic burden that ends up on society as a result of children that need support their mothers cannot provide.

Now… the Republicans have pushed for a huge assault on “voter fraud,” with a requirement for a picture ID.  Despite study after study showing that voter fraud is minimal, the push goes on.  Why?  Might it just be because those who lack picture IDs are almost invariably those lowest on the economic totem pole – the poor, elderly, and minorities? And isn’t it interesting that the picture ID requirement would impose an economic cost on the poorest segments of society, who are, just incidentally, those most likely to vote for Democrats?

The Republicans talk about the need for economic growth, and I agree.  We need economic growth, but where are the policies that would improve our highway systems, our aging power grid, our antiquated air traffic control system, and inadequate water and sewer systems?  Those are necessary government oversight/support functions that are vital to economic growth – and they’re definitely not welfare or even “social” programs… and the Republicans have volunteered nothing. Just less restraints on big and small business and tax cuts, none of which address infrastructure, and, oh, yes, lots more defense spending.

As the old saying goes, they’ve put their money where their mouth is – and it’s for corporate America, male dominance, and the wealthy… and against women and the poor.  And no one seems to see this side of the economics of their policies… or the cost to society as a whole.


16 thoughts on “Socio-Economic Implications”

  1. G.Thomas says:

    I have never understood how any woman could end up voting Republican for the reasons you have outined above. I’ve long held the opinion that if you are going to be fervently anti-abortion you’d better have an adopted child (and not a hand picked healthy child bought from a foreign country). I’m glad to see someone bringing up the infrastructure issue as well.

  2. Jack says:

    The other day I sold some brass to a scrap metal dealer. I was photographed in two different locations. I had to present my drivers license. I had to give them my tag number. And last I had to give a thumb print. Now, I don’t hear a lot about people protesting the homeless having to present ID to sell scrap metal for their supper or next drink. Where is the outrage? Who doesn’t have an ID these days? And what does their demographic place have to do with the lack of an ID? ID is required to exist in our society in any meaningful way.
    Voting is fundamental to our nation. As is jury duty. And I surely had to present ID for jury summons last year. So, tell me what is the difference between voting and jury duty. Both are constitutionally derived functions of society. The difference is that the Democrat party views the Voter ID law as a threat to their base. Like all people in power, they will move to protect that base of power.
    The need to show an ID at the poll is not buredensome to the voter. If the person voting doesn’t have an ID, then he can get one. Its not that hard.

  3. Gordon Long says:

    It just occurred to me that the higher the unemployment goes the lower the wages can become. Will we be competing for labor costs with Bangladesh?

  4. G.Thomas says:

    Photo ID requirements, limitations on early voting and burdensome and unreasonable restrictions on groups handling voter registration drives are all thinly veiled attacks on a particular voter base under the guise of fighting voter fraud which is virtually non-existant. That particular voter base happens to be those in the lower income brackets and minorities who as Mr. Modesitt pointed out, also tend to vote Democratic while these same restrictions and requirements are almost entirely sponsored by Republicans. Draw your own conclusions.

  5. Alan says:

    As noted on the voter fraud issue, it is a significantly tiny percentage. There are a far larger number of people who vote using absentee ballets. Yet those absentee ballets are not counted routinely. As a member of the military I submit my vote via absentee ballets nearly each time I vote. But these votes are only counted when the tally for your voting district is within a percentage of which the absentee ballets could swing the results. Otherwise they are simply thrown out.

    Anyone who looks at the polls can see that it is rare for the candidates to be within 15%, or closer, of one another at the end. Thus as a time saving device they ignore the absentee ballets.

    Fraudulent voting falls below even the insignificant amount of absentee ballets.

  6. Wine GuyI says:

    A democrat trying to stand tall on economic policy is like a republican trying to stand tall on social policy. They’re both talking in foreign languages that they don’t understand all that well to people who don’t care that they’re trying to even make a point.

    If the US were founded on the idea of personal freedom (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness), both the far right and the far left need to take a good hard look at what they are actually saying and then shut up and let those of us in the middle do the actual work and set policy. Unfortunately, we can’t shout that loudly.

  7. R. Hamilton says:

    Means-tested subsidy of proper ID would put the issue to rest, except that I doubt either side wants it put to rest. The claim that ID requirements are voter suppression is at most applicable to an _economic_ class (the poor), which should probably be suppressed anyway, lest they keep voting for more subsidy for their failure. That the bottom of the economic ladder often aligns with other groups is an artifact of history, but one that requires changes of behavior both outside and inside those groups to change…not subsidies, compensation, or other such foolishness.

    That voter fraud is trivial…I’m not so sure of that, and its triviality is no excuse for allowing it. It’s worse given that most electronic voting systems are notoriously insecure. A proper paper trail, from ID to registration to ID check at the time of voting to a printed receipt that would separately encode the ID and vote (keeping it secret, but making it verifiable) is the only way to prevent not only fraud but actual attempts by organized groups (not necessarily just political parties) to tamper with elections.

    I’d prefer a difficulty barrier to the systematic willing enablement of voter fraud; the former can at least be overcome by determined individuals.

    Little blue pills shouldn’t be paid for by insurance – that’s not a sufficiently compelling medical issue to spread the cost beyond the one with the complaint.

    Birth control pills should only be paid for by insurance when they are prescribed for some of their other medically applicable uses rather than as birth control. What people do privately, what consequences they think through or fail to think through, should simply not be allowed to become a public expense beyond what private charity voluntarily takes care of.

    All non-earned federal benefits need to be phased out. They’re not in the Constitution (don’t give me the general welfare clause, that’s the preamble, and not proscriptive), and they will always implode over time.

    Remember the quote variously attributed to Tytler or de Toqueville:
    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

  8. R. Hamilton says:

    To add one more thing: no lack of compassion should be inferred from such a hard-line position. It is not compassionate to promulgate an unsustainable lie.

  9. R. Hamilton says:

    Ok, two more things: get the unions and all their political bias, kickbacks, and corruption OUT of infrastructure related projects, and you’ll probably see more support for them from conservatives.

    And where there is a consensus that infrastructure upgrades are necessary, streamline (not eliminate entirely) the environmental approval bureaucracy.

    If something truly needs doing, it needs doing without various corrupt and power-hungry groups taking their slice off the top.

  10. Tim says:

    To R.Hamilton. re your clause on “non-earned federal benefits”. Having paid an awful lot of tax in my time, I would like to agree with you. But do you really want to see people starve on the streets in the US? Try living in Brazil.

    1. R. Hamilton says:

      No, I want to see them flip burgers, wash cars, build skyscrapers, haul garbage, do brain surgery or rocket science, whatever they’re able to do. Anything that doesn’t actually drag other people down is an honorable job. With all the drain on the economy from parasites gone, there would be a LOT more honorable jobs, of all sorts.

      I tend to think that give or take exceptions such as kidney dialysis patients, if there were enough jobs that all the willing could work, all the truly unable could be assisted by private means…and all the able but unwilling can eat excrement and die, as far as I’m concerned. That would almost certainly work if we shut down the demographic warfare from the south…and made it clear that it was better to work on a farm picking produce than not work and starve.

  11. Tim says:

    I understand your point. This is the problem in Europe where the social safety-net is far more attractive when jobs are scarce, Esp. in those countries which are causing such angst for the Euro.

    I heard recently of a parent ‘throwing’ her 15 year old daughter out of the house when she announced she was pregnant. Under current policies, this forced the local authorities to put her to the top of the government-provided housing list, with associated benefits. The Mother’s argument, was that if she had no done that, then her daughter would remain her responsibility.

    This is where the social safety-nets can drive the wrong behaviour. Also in deprived areas, it means more 15-year olds strive to get pregnant.

    Back to LEM’s point, such social support means that abortion is the last thing the girl wants.

    Ok, this is. The UK, not the US and I am not fully aware of what the equivalent social care offers, though I suspect it varies from state to state.

  12. Wine GuyI says:

    “… no lack of compassion should be inferred from such a hard-line position. It is not compassionate to promulgate an unsustainable lie.”

    R. Hamilton: outstanding statement. This is going onto my ‘favorite quotes’ diary. So far, I have 9.

    In the US, a family that ‘threw out’ a 15 year old daughter because she was pregnant could be prosecuted for child abuse and child endangerment. Until the child is 18, she IS the parents’ responsibility.

  13. Joe says:

    I’m curious what R. Hamilton will say once robotics has replaced most jobs.

    1. R. Hamilton says:

      People’s minds are* what distinguish them from reasonably agile animals.

      *well, should be, anyway…

    2. Tim says:

      Actually, I doubt that robots will replace that many more jobs in the west. In China, maybe.

      I spent some wasted time working on so-called expert systems and robotics in the military industry and I will admit it was a complete waste of time. There exist some processes which cannot be automated and still need human. Mind you, it generated a lot of thesis projects to generate PhDs which I suppose was the main it was primarily driven by academia.

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