Monday, March 5, 2007

Politics: The fastest way to make enemies!

I despise talking about politics. I think this comes from my political preferences. On my Facebook profile, you'll see that my "Political Preference" is set under "Other." What does that mean? Well, I guess you could say I'm a bit unique for a Berkeley student, in that I'm a monarchist. And that's not a joke. I am seriously in favor of having a (constitutionally mandated) monarchy in which one person has complete control, with no red tape, no bureaucracy, no voting. It would bring back the phrase "For king and country!" And anyone running under a monarchist ticket would immediately get my vote.

Lamentably, though, there is no American Monarchist Party (well, there is, but it's a small thing headquartered in some backwater town in Texas which I'd like to steer clear from). As is, I'm registered as a Democrat (mainly so I can vote in primaries). However, I'm not exactly one who always votes along party lines. I guess you could call me a moderate, but not even that works perfectly, since a moderate usually has, well, moderate views about most issues. I, on the other, hand, have extremely strong views about certain issues on both sides of the political spectrum. For example:
-I am opposed to both the death penalty and abortion.
-I am not pro-business (I believe in having lot of regulations), but I am also
vehemently anti-union (mainly for personal reasons).
-I am very much anti-war, but I am also anti-peace (in that I dislike hippies, anti-war protesters, and other peaceniks).
-Et cetera.

I guess the best term you could use to describe me would be Liberservative Constitutional Monarchist.

There are only a few situations in which I do enjoy talking politics. Mainly I do so in parody. Sometimes I'll use political figures for other purposes. And then there's other times in which I and two of my friends, Chris and Eddie, will play "the government," so as to mcok the bureaucratic system. Eddie is the president, I am the legislature, and Chris is the Supreme Court. Conversations will sometimes go like this.

Me: "I declare a law in which we go to Arby's tonight."
Eddie: "I veto that law."
Me: "The legislature needs a two-thirds vote to overturn the veto. All in favor of overturning? *Raises hand.* It's unanimous."
Chris: "I declare that law to be unconstitutional!"
Me: "All in favor of impeaching the Chief Justice? *Raises hand.* It's unanimous."
Eddie: "I don't allow this impeachment to proceed."
Me: "All in favor of impeaching the president. *Raises hand.* It's unanimous. That's a double impeachment."
Chris: "I declare these actions to be unconstitutional!"
And so on, and so forth...

But other than that, I'm not big on politics, and I especially dislike them being forced upon me.



...where was I going with this?

Oh, yes! Today, I had some politics (well, some political economics) forced upon me, but I was ready for it. In fact, I was somewhat expecting it. You see, I usually don't like to speak to the solicitors on Upper Sproul unless I have a pre-planned response to whatever they're going to ask. I usually have hypothetical conversations in my head days ahead of time, and I'm actually quite good at predicting what they'll say. And as it turned out, I had thought up one such conversation over the weekend, ever since I saw a flyer for Cal Lobby Day. I felt that if one of the Cal Lobby people came up to me, I would be ready.

And lo and behold, they did! Or, one did, at least. After a nice lunch at the GBC, I walk over to grab a copy of the Squelch, when this chick comes up to me, and the following conversation ensues:

Her: "The average price a Cal student pays is $22,000 a year. And now the governor is planning on raising tuition costs by $435 (or something like that). Doesn't that make you mad?"
Me: "Damn right! It's not nearly enough!"
Her: "Well, would you like to sign...wait, what?"
Me: "We need to increase the costs by at least twice that much if we want to get anywhere."
Her: "You're in favor of increasing tuition."
Me: "Sweetie (I'm not sure if I actually called her that), you're looking at this the wrong way. The University isn't ripping you off. Not with tuition, at least. Year after year, UC Berkeley is named by all those magazines as dollar-for-tuition-dollar the best university in the world. Even with the increase in tuition costs, it's still better than any other university out there."
Her: "But-"
Me: "Here's the thing. Most costs that a student has to pay doesn't have to do with tuition (except for out-of-staters, and they're a lost cause anyway). It has to do with housing. UC Berkeley has the fairly dubious honor of having the highest housing costs in the nation. In fact, Foothill has the single highest room cost, while Clark Kerr Campus has the highest average room cost. Non-student housing is not much better, seeing as this is the Bay Area. What's the problem with this? Well, tuition is tax deductible. Housing costs are not. And yet, for student housing, it's still going to the State of California, but you aren't getting anything back. That's where they're scamming you.
Her: "See-"
Me: "The solution? Transfer housing costs to tuition costs. Instead of paying $5,000 for tuition and $15,000 for housing, tell them to make it $15,000 for tuition and $5,000 for housing. You pay the same amount, but it's suddenly tax deductible."
Her: "But not everyone lives in student-housing."
Me: "Ah, but that's the beauty. Lowering the price of student housing will prompt more people to want to live in the dorms. This will decrease the demand for non-campus housing. Do you have a pen and paper?"
Her: "Umm...yeah."
Me: "Thank you. So, when the demand curve shifts to the left, the new equilibrium point is lower on the vertical supply curve. This means a lower price for all housing." (Dramatic recreation of sketch below.)

"So one way or the other, people save money with this plan. You should promote it or suck it up. The fact of the matter is, the state needs money, and hence people need to give money. I don't envy the governor; he's akin to a doctor who has a patient with poison in their blood, but are unwilling to bleed it out."
Her: "Your logic is astounding! Take me with you! Make love to me!"

That last line was never spoken. In fact, the Cal Lobby worker seemed quite perturbed (to put it lightly) with me. Through a furrowed brow, she mumbled, "Well, if you feel that way, you can lobby your position as well."

"I would," I replied, "except for the fact that I honestly don't care. I don't like politics, anyway. Toodles." And I walked away.

P.S. I just found out that ranch tastes really good on meatloaf!


oculustigris said...

You should read some of Hamilton's early stuff that he later retracted. You might like it. :P


ashley lystne said...

I have to say, I strongly disagree with your standing assertions, as I, also having strong, self-classified political views, am more of a pacifistic situational Anarchist.

But besides our disagreement, I would like to commend your valiant rebuttal of the Lobby Day advocates, and also note that I do think your logic is quite astounding (end quote HERE).