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Everything posted by Rob-H

  1. In short, harder. Yeah, I actually do work in Defense, in an administrative role of choosing suppliers and obligating taxpayers' money. There is fraud, waste, and abuse, like you see on the news, but not from me. I can't stop it all, but I can be forthright in how *I* do my job. I was hired in under a special authority, which Obama just ended by Executive Order, supposedly to make it easier for vetereans to get federal jobs. But this is funny, because I tried to get in with the government fresh out of college (all things being at parity at that level of my career) and I was always passed over for people with special "veteran" or "disabled veteran" status, even when the agency told me I was their first choice and that they were forced to go with a candidate with a special point-preference. I lucked out in 09 with a special hiring program that sidestepped all that. So yeah, although I've now built a reputation on my work ethic and performance here, plus I've got contacts in the agency, it may now be tougher to make happen "on paper."
  2. I may not have been clear about my approach to this. If this is the case, I apologize. Political cariacatures aside, I have no doubt that will provide an even value-for-value exchange, regardless my employment relationship. But with the unstable nature of private industry employment today, and track record, I'm uneasy about moving back to the private sector, for it's implications on long-term sustainability. From my reading of the situation, this is anything but a focus on the expediency of the moment. Please let know how you see this as mistaken
  3. Hey guys, I've been working for the federal government since early last year, and now it looks like I'm going to have an opportunity to leave for a private sector opportunity with a large company making about twice the salary. I'm waffling on this because after I was laid off in Nov. of 2008 it took me over a year o hard job-seeking to get back into the workforce. I also finished my MBA in the summer of '10, was able to speed it up thanks to the time laid-off. I'm terrified of being just haphazardly and inconsiderately cut like my last company did with no heads up and a paltry severance, even though my salary with the government is artificially low (I've been long overdue for the pay-level the private sector job would pay) I should note the government job will non-competitively promote to a pretty decent level, but it'll take another year or so to get there. I've always been an objectivist by nature, even before coming upon the teachings, and I totally live by the "you make your own destiny" philosophy. What would you do if faced with this decision? Advice I get generally depends upon who you ask; it's either along the lines of: 1. "Absolutely! Governments are havens of mediocrity and you can get your investment back on that MBA and make your market rate in the private sector." (These are generally people who have wealth to fall back on and I question their grasping of the concept of "I'll have nothing if this doesn't work out.") Or: 2. "No way! You want to be forced back in line with the rest of the 1 in 5 Americans looking for a job? Regardless of who you listen to, I can only remind you of how tough it was to be unemployed." These are both accurate, and far as I can tell, very valid views. Any perspective or anything anyone can provide that might make this decision a little easier? I suppose a traditional view is that on a government salary, I have the security of not having to worry about being cut, but have to live with the fact that I'm "raping the system". I agree with the philosophy and theory, but I question this, as I am actually doing work and providing value for my pay. In private industry, I risk being with a company that won't recognize my willingness and ability to achieve, missing out on advancement, or worse, being let go. The only two private sector employers I've had fit this mold, and neither were worth tooting your horn about being a part of. This is a tough call to make.
  4. Hey everybody, So my daughter turned 14 last week and my son is 12, and oh have I been seeing where the problems may lie! I've been reading Rand for the past two years, and really like (especially depicted on this forum) the idea of property rights being the solution for almost all issues. The gulf oil spill was a sticking point. The problem I'm running into, as are most people with rebellious teenage kids, is, "should I apply the principles of Objectivism in dealing with this?" I've said before to my daughter, "You'll behave a certain way if you want to live under this roof" (maybe paraphrased slightly) My daughter responded, "I didn't ask to be born here, so who are you to dictate what rule I should or shouldn't be bound by [sic]." That really hit me one night and I got to thinking...one of Rand's core principles, if I'm not mistaken, has been the whole issue of how can anyone be bound to a constitution which they did not sign...?... I'm really not sure where to go here, I mean sure, I own everything, the housing, the household income, etc, but my only concern is should there be any other consideration? Rand spoke much of abolishing all government agencies except national defense. Don't you think I should be able to expel my daughter for her misdeeds and violations, and let the government mind its own business? If she wants a roof over her head in 30 degree wind, and clothing, food, in addition to keep her belonging, my view, as interpreted from Rand, is that she should either shape up or ship out. The government, as it is, would not allow such a thing, so as a fully realized individual, I'm wondering if government should be stripped of such capacity. To give birth to children only to torture and mistreat them: wrong, of course. To raise kids for over a decade only be told that resources will be demanded of you on your childrens terms, and there's no room for discussion...? I think that's a bit extreme. What do you all think? Do think the property rights cited in the school of Objectivism speak to this sort of isssue? I can't imagine these weren't problems in the 1930-1950's. Just wondering. Thanks everybody, Talk to you soon, - Rob
  5. It totally agree with both of you. I don't feel that anyone who had it better than me owes me anything, simply in consideration of that. I've lived my life too long carrying my own weight. But those who had to work far less because of their disposition, and made it farther than I have at the same time, then go around claiming that their success is solely a result of their personal perserverance and philosophy on life, simply do not help matters.
  6. See, this is the kind of stuff that concerns me. My fellow conservatives mysteriously fall silent on many issues, and I struggle with reconciling this. Many are from families of privilege, yet preach: "If we can do it, anyone can." This is obviously my first brush with real Objectivism in practice, but I can't help but just utilize the momentum of this thread rather than migrate elsewhere; these issues very much run together. Case-in-point: The same friend who recommended I read Atlus Shrugged is Cuban-American (Father immigrated, American mother) and we've grown apart over the past few months because of differences such as this. I'm often regarded as unbearably conservative by many, yet I consider him to be one who has drank the Koolaid. He contends that any homeless person on the street could go somewhere, write a business plan, get investors, and start a company the next day in this country. Cuban Americans are one of the most prosperous ethnic minority groups in the US, much like Asians, in many cases, and Jewish people as well, depending on what you consider an ethnicity. This friend contends that since his father came here with only the clothes on his back and what little the Cuban government allowed him to stuff into a suitcase, and now has a net worth in the millions, that there's no excuse for anyone to complain about career or financial hardships in this country. NEVERMIND, that he came here, having been the owner of five hotels and 7 restaurants in Cuba. Many of the Cubans that came here in the Bay of Pigs simply came here with the skills to succeed. The same applies to many Asian Americans; a friend of mine, and University Professor in California exaplained to me a concept of an "ethnic niche" that many fall into, and are simply successful, because again, they came here with the skills to succeed. That's why you're seeing "Asian" start to drop off of those pre-employment ethnicity-screening documents that many companies use when taking employment applications. Asians on average make more money than white people. Their wealthy/upper-middle-class to middle class ratio of members is dramatically higher than it is for whites. What else would you expect? I've never identified with what is known in this country as the "black plight", but I imagine that I feel similar to how many African Americans do when I'm having this discussion with my friend who just doesn't seem to get it, because he's been prepared for everything throughout his life. This is a guy preaching personal responsibility, yet graduated from college free-and-clear, financially, conceding, "Well, that's different, me and my parents agreed this is important because it's education." I left with college with $10's of thousands in dept. and the Dept. of Ed. wanted a very steep monthly repayment amount even with my meager college-grad salary that I was able to secure, after four months of job-searching. His response, in a contemptuous tone to this objection of mine was, "Why didn't they have the money to pay for your college?" (as if they were expected to, like his did) "Who the heck is he to ask something like this?" I thought. I answered, "Man, I just don't know, it wasn't my place to ask. I was 17. They said, 'Son, we just don't have the money; you're gonna have to take out loans.'" He got in with a great company that paid for his MBA, almost completely. I'm footing every dime of the $50K bill for this. He's still on his parents cell phone account at 28! ...yet preaches about "paying your own way." Sometimes I think there's just a disconnect here. Am I wrong to assume that many that find objectivism appealing are from upper-echelon families where they have a lot of property to protect? Is it not unusual that the five students from my high school grduating class who got into the Univeristy of Virginia (The best and most prestigious Univeristy in the Commonwealth of Virginia) were from the five richest families in my community, lived in the biggest houses in the most exclusive neighborhood in our town, and didn't have to work through high school or college, having all expenses satisfied by their parents? Is it not unusual that they were sent off to these SAT camps, the likes of which most of us had never heard. I was attracted to objectivism because of the accusations I take from time to time of being an "unfeeling, capitalist conservative." If anyone would care to provide feedback, negative (not personal insults) or constructive, I'd greatly appreciate it. Best, Rob
  7. Oh I wanted to say thanks for the sources as well. I liked the one illustrating how BP would have difficulty in a truly fair market economy. I thought I had caught wind of that subject at some point but had failed to consider that perhaps BP isn't a free market firm by Objectivist standards. Government subsidies definitiely prevent a firm from being a true freely competitive firm, although I was taught by a conservative economics department in my MBA program that there's more to farm subsidies (among others) than economics; their local economies are stagnant; the people would otherwise be on welfare, hence (likely an even greater) financial strain on the public payroll anyway. Subsidies have been an issue for some time and I imagine will continue to be for the foreseeable future. A company should definitely be allowed to succeed or fail on its own merits, and I would even allow for government loans. Why not? The problem is when private loans are allowed to be securitized, and sold off, totally disconnectingt he lendor from any risk associated with that transaction. That was obviously part of what got us into the 08/09 mess.
  8. Thanks RebelConservative. That was actually what I was looking for. ScarlettCatherwood's first post was really fair-minded, and spoke to the angle I was hoping to see addressed. I'm actually not left wing or liberal, aside from holding a pro-choice stance on abortion. I'm in Richmond, VA, and I'm considered the most right-wing conservative no matter where I am. I'm against almost all forms of welfare and quota-based affirmative action. I usually vote straight-ticket Republican, save the 06 midterm elections where many Republicans/conservatives broke. One conservative view I've taken exception too is our own local conservative talk radio host who portrays the plans to repeal the 75m liability cap as like the greatest travesty and piece of unjus government intervention in history. A-is-A's response though, was what really set me off. "Once the spill is halted, the ocean will eventually reabsorb virtually all the oil.. . . Which environment? I do not fish in the gulf, do not use the water from the gulf, and do not swim in the gulf. So, I have not chosen to use the environment. I may have eaten some fish from there, but I can get fish from somewhere else. I did take a cruise to Jamaica a couple of years ago, but I have no future plans to return there." Rebelconservative, I understand that the "rest of the world be damned" view is more of a cariacature, but this post seemed to fit it pretty closely. Well I have vacationed in the gulf, and intend to return at some point. Even if I hadn't, and didn't, I still wouldn't want it turned into an oil/tar wasteland because of an industrial accident. There is simply something about this cold reducing and disecting of how the world should be viewed and interacted with into simple cash transactions between interested parties, with no other consideration given that is unsettling and disturbing to me. Obviously, most would view the attitude/mentality that "Well, the gulf can rot for all I care, I'll never personally see it again and it doesn't impact me." as nothing short of insane. I believe another poster took issue with a response by A-is-A as well, citing the perceived irrelevance of the the fact that our environment and ecosystem sustains our lives (oxygen). The credibility of the claim that that much oil will simply be reabsorbed was also called into question. I just finished Atlas Shrugged, per the recommendation of a friend, and had trouble seeing how the BP oil spill would fit in in such a Randyan universe, where everyone is so neatly pigeonholed into "Large business-owning hero", "Looter" or "Villain." When one wants to learn about objectivism, many people say that they are instructed: "Read Atlus Shrugged." I read somewhere that Ayn Rand actually began recommending that people read it as a replacement to her personal elaboration or description of the philosophy. I don't want to mix issues here, but, while it's true, I can see quite a few parrallells that could be drawn between that world and the direction the US government is headed, I can't see how anyone could have a weakness, disability, or even just plain lack of opportunities that many have as being anything other than wretched or crooked in this type of world. Those who are weak are automatically evil looters who are damned solely for their weakness. As for those of the 10% in our country who are laid off, constantly looking for employment, to no avail; it would simply be their own fault. This book paints an extremely grim picture of humanity, insisting that most people demand a livelyhood, not a job (ie Rearden's brother) I would say most people want to work! People who are unemployed don't want to barely survive off of government subsistance and handouts; they want to work, and get ahead. This book makes it look like anyone who is or ever was at a disavantage is demanding some sort of entitlement because of that disadvantage. I thought one of the principles of Objectivism is that man is good by nature...?... Forgive me if I got a little off track. I just wanted to illustrate a little further, where I'm coming from. I like the possibility of property rights being used as the remedy for much, however. Kainscalia, I actually remembered quite a few hard-line conservatives remaining very grudgingly quiet on the Madoff scandal. Maybe they weren't Objectivists; maybe they had a dog in that fight, in some way.
  9. That's good enough for me. I just wanted to see an "objectivist" actually admit that a large corporation can do harm through some misdeed or oversight, which should in all rationality be remedied by the one causing such action. After all, I was half-expecting some justification that BP was simply pursuing its rational self-interest and that no other consideration should be given to this incident, aside from its ability to earn money and produce for its shareholders. I wondered what the Atlus Shrugged mentality would have to say about the BP oil spill. A great case is made for the stifling of free enterprise by government that want to "make things more comforable for the little guy." But what about when big businesses destroy the livelihood of others and their businesses, through their own actions?
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