Sunday, November 8, 2015

More Tim Eyman, less Kshama Sawant please.

Most of the results are in and it looks like Tim Eyman's initiative to lower the state sales tax from 6.5 to 5.5 percent unless voters are allowed to amend the state constitution to require more stringent controls on tax increases has won. I'm happy to have voted for it although it puzzles me how such a proposition (with a lower case p) for such marginal changes that only a policy wonk could care about could produce so much opposition. The major state newspaper editorial boards were opposed which just goes to show that if you let the media shape your reality, you will lose touch with reality.

Most counties voted for I-1366 with the main holdout being Seattle. Not a surprise considering one of Seattle's major races was between a progressive and a socialist. The socialist Kshama Sawant won that one. She's famous for having brought in the bone-headed $15 minimum wage in Seattle.*

If she cares so much about economic inequality, she should mandate full economic egalitarianism. Everyone must be as wealthy as King County's wealthiest, who, in this case, happens to be Bill Gates. Until that happens there can be no justice. It's not fair that Bill Gates has a net worth of $80 Billion.

Since it's impossible to give everyone in Seattle $80 Billion (though Jeff Bezos would only need $37 Billion), the only way to achieve economic equality is through wealth redistribution. No billionaires allowed. Had Sawant's sociopathic vision been implemented earlier, there never would have been a Microsoft or Amazon which is too bad for people like me who enjoy Amazon Prime and Microsoft Windows.

Ironically, had there been no Microsoft, Sawant would likely still be in India.

In general, I think immigration and open borders are good things, but I'd make an exception for people like her.

* Unlike a lot of conservative commentators, I don't think this will lead to large scale unemployment in Seattle, not because minimum wages are immune to the problems affecting price floors (they aren't), but because workers whose skills aren't worth at least $15/hr will go elsewhere. Seattle's average productivity and per-capita income will increase and the policy will look like genius.

 It's a little bit like China's PISA scores. The PISA tests are meant to measure children's educational development in different countries but China's score comes from a favorably selected group in the wealthiest city in the nation. That didn't stop obsolete media outlets from heralding the Chinese educational system.

Not saying the Shanghai data aren't useful. Shanghai is a huge city and even if it is only partially representative, it suggests it could be an economic powerhouse without peer. It's not a surprise they took the top spot, not that international comparisons mean anything.

Data from international comparisons are useful, but these things usually reinforce the position "national" thinking has on people. It's like how talking about people in collectivist terms e.g. class, gender, race, nationality etc. biases the individual to think in those terms as opposed to the correct framework, see Methodological Individualism. This isn't to say that groups don't exist, but the nation-state and the inter-national system are constructs that take for granted the legitimacy and preĆ«minence of the state.

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