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Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Huckleby » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:57 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:The Red Cross took the donations in the end, and Romney events have switched to asking for cash donations for the RC at campaign events. The canned good thing was a little ridiculous, but again, what else was Romney to do that would demonstrate his willingness to help?


I agree it is not a huge deal. But this is the height of election time, so small missteps are fair game.

If I were Romney, I would have made no attempt to compete with Obama in the hurricane response area, he's not the president. It's a no win, he just looks unseemly trying to compete for attention. He should express sympathy for the suffering, and otherwise stay out of it. Do some campaigning in Nevada for a couple days.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Huckleby » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:09 pm

Image

The new BFFs surveying damage today.

Maureen Dowd does her thing.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/opini ... storm.html
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:15 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I personally find it obscene that anyone would seek to profit on the backs of disasters which befall others.
Seeking a profit and genuinely helping those in need are not mutually exclusive actions. Here's a situation that might help clarify why profit is within the set of moral responses to a disaster: You are a WalMart manager with a limited supply of say, 100 cases of bottled water. There are 200 people in your store with the desire to purchase bottled water. At your usual low price of $3/case, people who arrive first would stock up and buy as many cases as they could carry (even if they already had a reasonable supply of water at home), leaving those that arrive later empty-handed (even if they had a desperate need for water and would pay a high price were it available). In response to this situation, you raise the price of water to $20/case, which more accurately reflects the relationship between supply and demand for this highly-valued resource. You still sell the water, with maybe some remaining on the shelves for a longer period of time because more people saw the high price and decided to make do with other resources available to them (which might include cash not spent on water). In the meantime, you order as much water from your warehouse as possible, because you just profited $18/case and would like to do that again, and that water is still desperately needed by your customers. You just maximized your own profit and maximized the benefit that that water could provide, because it was distributed more widely and no one could afford to hoard water. Similarly, if the guy who already has built a hoard of water in his basement hears about the high price, he might decide to sell some of his oversupply to strangers for $10/case. This makes him a profit and brings more water supply into the market.

Simliar arguments can be made regarding contractors, tree services, heavy equipment services, medical services, security services etc. I'm open to discussion on specific areas where government response would be better, or even the exclusively appropriate response, but we should get more specific than a generic appeal to "disaster relief".

I don't mean to personally insult anyone by my use of strong language. I deeply and assertively disagree with those who don't hesitate to vilify the profit motive when there is abundant evidence that profit can and does improve social outcomes for everyone in many sorts of situations. This is not a moral issue, but an empirically demonstrable fact, as evidenced by the article linked earlier about major retailers strategizing for the resupply of their east coast stores. Do you think they should be pursuing a different strategy that will not earn them a profit? If so, what is it?

I haven't explicitly claimed that disaster relief should exclude government assistance, although government assistance in this area is certainly open to criticism. I'm claiming that profit-motivated actions are not obscene, or "wrong", in direct opposition to the claim made by sno, which I bolded. When you say that,
Disaster relief is exactly the kind of thing I think government should exist for...
do you mean that government relief is exactly the right response, to the exclusion of other response types? If not, then we're on the same page.
Last edited by ArturoBandini on Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby O.J. » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:23 pm

Huckleby wrote:Image

The first rule of Zombieland: Cardio. When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go, for obvious reasons... were the fatties.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:31 pm

Investors making big bucks as Lowe's and Home Depot stocks rise in expectation of increased sales as the corporations send resources to the damaged areas.
“We’re pulling product from Atlanta, Florida, Texas, all across the U.S.” Aaron Flowe, president of Home Depot’s Northern Division, told WSB Radio. “We’ve got 1,500 trucks heading into the region.”

Flowe said the first 750 trucks were carrying generators, tarps, flashlights, batteries, plywood and similar supplies. Additional shipments will include chain saws, heaters and cleaning supplies, such as wet-dry vacs, trash bags and bleach.

Of course, there is also this bit:
Lowe’s Store Operations Senior V.P. Terry Johnson told Fox Business the retailer has been able to get supplies quickly to its stores because of distribution centers in the affected areas. He also said consumers don’t have to worry about price hikes in the wake of an event like a hurricane. Johnson said prices are “locked down” for many weeks after such an event.
Looks like investors think they can turn a profit even without 'gouging'.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby rrnate » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:40 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:I haven't explicitly claimed that disaster relief should exclude government assistance, although government assistance in this area is certainly open to criticism.


Headline: Windbag hasn't gotten around to explicitly articulating his bullshit opinion on FEMA.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:41 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Looks like investors think they can turn a profit even without gouging.


And that's fine. I would also like to hope these companies in turn donate a certain amount of goods as well.

ArturoBandini wrote:In response to this situation, you raise the price of water to $20/case, which more accurately reflects the relationship between supply and demand for this highly-valued resource.


Sure, people need goods and these companies have them. They'll still make a profit so they don't in turn have to jack the price up 7 times the cost just cause they can. Well, maybe greedy fucks can, but I'm not sure who that would be. What a wonderfully benevolent society you'd like to create.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:42 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Seeking a profit and genuinely helping those in need are not mutually exclusive actions.
I suppose not, but I find your scenario thoroughly unconvincing. The WalMart manager could just as easily keep his prices the same and simply limit the number of cases sold per customer. Or, and here's what I think is the best response, water should be provided for free by the government. And that could simply mean that if WalMart has water, they should give it to the people in need and the government should reimburse them later, at the original price.
ArturoBandini wrote:Similarly, if the guy who already has built a hoard of water in his basement hears about the high price, he might decide to sell some of his oversupply to strangers for $10/case. This makes him a profit and brings more water supply into the market.
And makes him an asshole. Obviously you disagree, but I don't think you're "profoundly wrong", we just have different ideas about what it should mean to be a part of a community and a member of the human race.
ArturoBandini wrote:This is not a moral issue
I couldn't disagree more.
ArturoBandini wrote:...but an empirically demonstrable fact
I agree that this is true under the current system. I disagree that it is the best system, let alone the only possible one.
ArturoBandini wrote:I'm claiming that profit-motivated actions are not obscene, or "wrong"
I know that's what you're saying. I'm saying I agree with sno. I do believe that considering how to profit from disaster, whether the end result is positive or not, is disgusting, and should be illegal.
ArturoBandini wrote: When you say that, "disaster relief is exactly the kind of thing I think government should exist for...", do you mean that government relief is exactly the right response, to the exclusion of other response types?
Of course not. I wouldn't suggest that people shouldn't be allowed to get water from any and all sources, but that hardly makes profiteering less deplorable in my eyes.
ArturoBandini wrote:If not, then we're on the same page.
I fail to see how. Do you agree that one of the primary purposes of government should be to collect taxes so they are able to provide disaster relief when needed? Because I do.
Do you agree that people who put profit ahead of providing emergency aid are immoral and should be punished? Because I do.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:04 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:Seeking a profit and genuinely helping those in need are not mutually exclusive actions.
I suppose not, but I find your scenario thoroughly unconvincing. The WalMart manager could just as easily keep his prices the same and simply limit the number of cases sold per customer. Or, and here's what I think is the best response, water should be provided for free by the government.
This is a fun discussion. You're basically suggesting rationing of scarce goods at a free or below-market price, right? Can you see any possible negative consequences of this action? And you claim that water should be provided for free, which is impossible. It is paid for by resources that come from somewhere, even if the recipients don't need to pay money for it. That's not to say that giving it away at no cost is wrong, I'm just contesting the idea of "freeness".
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Obviously you disagree, but I don't think you're "profoundly wrong", we just have different ideas about what it should mean to be a part of a community and a member of the human race.
I don't take offense to being called "profoundly wrong". Clearly you think I am wrong, but to what degree? Since our disagreement reaches down to the definition of what it means to be a member of the human race (your words), I think it's safe to call that a profound disagreement.
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:...but an empirically demonstrable fact
I agree that this is true under the current system. I disagree that it is the best system, let alone the only possible one.
I didn't claim that it was the only possible system either. Clearly myriad alternative systems might exist with varying levels of function/dysfunction.
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I do believe that considering how to profit from disaster, whether the end result is positive or not, is disgusting, and should be illegal.
How would you enforce this policy? If disaster profits are illegal, do you enforce this at tax time? Anyone who made a profit in New Jersey this quarter has to hand it over to the government? There is no clear external distinction between wholly-selfless behavior and self-interested behavior that benefits others.
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Do you agree that one of the primary purposes of government should be to collect taxes so they are able to provide disaster relief when needed?
Distinguish the taxes from the disaster relief actions, those are two separate issues.
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Do you agree that people who put profit ahead of providing emergency aid are immoral and should be punished? Because I do.
No, I disagree. Both can profit and emergency aid can be pursued simultaneously, to mutual benefit. There is no need to prioritize or sacrifice one for the other.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:45 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:This is a fun discussion.
On this we profoundly disagree.

ArturoBandini wrote:And you claim that water should be provided for free, which is impossible. It is paid for by resources that come from somewhere, even if the recipients don't need to pay money for it. That's not to say that giving it away at no cost is wrong, I'm just contesting the idea of "freeness".
Oh fer fuckssakes, I meant, "free to the people who need it", not "without any cost to anyone anywhere at anytime." Yeesh. The government, using our taxes, should pay for water and then distribute it free of charge to those in need.

ArturoBandini wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I do believe that considering how to profit from disaster, whether the end result is positive or not, is disgusting, and should be illegal.
How would you enforce this policy? If disaster profits are illegal, do you enforce this at tax time? Anyone who made a profit in New Jersey this quarter has to hand it over to the government?
Really? Being willfully obstinate is fun for you?
There's a difference between "making a profit" as a normal business always strives to do, and price-gouging. To pretend there's no way to tell the difference is ludicrous.

ArturoBandini wrote: There is no clear external distinction between wholly-selfless behavior and self-interested behavior that benefits others.
Sez you. But regardless, I'm arguing that self-interest is the problem, whereas you see it as part of the solution. It is the very fact that people more often than not act almost exclusively in their own self-interest that I believe government is necessary to act in the interests of society as a whole. I am a very strong advocate that yes, government should force people to not act like selfish assholes. Yes, I know you disagree.

ArturoBandini wrote:Distinguish the taxes from the disaster relief actions, those are two separate issues.
I have no idea what your point is here. But please, don't feel it's necessary to elucidate further.

ArturoBandini wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Do you agree that people who put profit ahead of providing emergency aid are immoral and should be punished? Because I do.
No, I disagree.
I know you do, which is why I found your earlier claim that we were on the same page so baffling.

ArturoBandini wrote:Both profit and emergency aid can be pursued simultaneously, to mutual benefit. There is no need to prioritize or sacrifice one for the other.
I fundamentally disagree.

Look, I strongly believe government should force people to do things they would not do on their own, while you vehemently disagree. It's fine that we don't agree, but it's not fine when you label those with different views as "profoundly wrong" (can you tell yet that it's your arrogant phrasing that really sticks in my craw, not your actual opinion?)
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:07 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:(can you tell yet that it's your arrogant phrasing that really sticks in my craw, not your actual opinion?)
My assertive phrasing is an accurate description of the nature of the argument. We are not squabbling over small percentages here. Your use of the words "vehemently disagree", "fundamentally disagree", or "ludicrous" puts your language in the same class of severity as my use of "profound". None of these are inherently insulting words, rather they are adjectives that convey degree. My statements might have ruffled you a bit less if I had added something superfluous like, "I think this is a profoundly wrong opinion", but the rest of the message would have been exactly the same.

Like I suggested before, perhaps it's better to wait a few weeks until emotions have calmed a bit before discussing the fundamental disagreements of this matter any further. In the meantime, your side is getting the federal intervention it wants and I have no power, nor intention or desire, to hinder that under current circumstances.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:24 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Your use of the words "vehemently disagree", "fundamentally disagree", or "ludicrous" puts your language in the same class of severity as my use of "profound".
And again, we are in disagreement.

ArturoBandini wrote:My statements might have ruffled you a bit less if I had added something superfluous like, "I think this is a profoundly wrong opinion", but the rest of the message would have been exactly the same.
If you don't see a difference between the statements, "I think your opinion is wrong" and "You are profoundly wrong", that explains a heckuva lot.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:42 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: "I think your opinion is wrong" and "You are profoundly wrong"


In Arturo's world(and many who share his philosophical view) you ARE wrong and he IS right. No ifs, ands, or buts* about it.

The beauty of the argument(philosophy) is that it has really never been tested, so you can't prove it won't work, hence it WILL work and we're all just dumb, dumbs for not realizing it.

Alas, I think we've just seen the beginning of a 10 page post about the merits of being greedy. Hooray.

*edited to reflect the stupidity of letting my computer tell me that was the right way. Stoopid robots.
Last edited by Stebben84 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:24 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote: "I think your opinion is wrong" and "You are profoundly wrong"


In Arturo's world(and many who share his philosophical view) you ARE wrong and he IS right. No if's, and's, or but's about it.

Misusing apostrophes to pluralize a word is profoundly wrong and obscene.
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Re: Sandy as election spoiler excuse

Postby ilikebeans » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:38 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Like I suggested before, perhaps it's better to wait a few weeks until emotions have calmed a bit before discussing the fundamental disagreements of this matter any further.

You can wait as long as you want. On these fundamental issues of selfishness vs. altruism, as we've before in too-many-threads-to-count, it won't change how vehemently Wags, myself, and a majority of the vocal forons feel that implementing your worldview would be profoundly harmful to society.

This is just the latest example.
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