Well, not quite.
We cover all sorts of tangential subjects to voting like taxes and free markets, but then we get to the crux: a discussion about democracy and what makes it work.
Is America a pure democracy? How would mob rule actually play out? Is it always responsible to vote?
We chat about these important questions, as well as many other topics, including . . .
- Why it’s ok to not vote (and why many people shouldn’t vote)
- What determines whether you should vote or not
- Why democracy is difficult to administer
- Why voting should probably be more restricted than it currently is
- What’s more powerful than voting
- And a lot more . . .
Sound interesting? Listen in to our conversation and let me know what you think!
7:45 – Why do we talk about touchy subjects that don’t involve exercise on our podcast?
46:10 – Why is it important to vote and why is it also important not to vote?
1:21:41 – How do I educate myself on voting?
1:47:50 – What about a basic universal work program?
1:50:57 – What are your thoughts on child labor laws?
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello, beautiful people. Welcome to another episode of Muscle For Life. Thank you for joining me today. Now that my book launch is over, I hope you liked the content, the audiobook chapters that I shared over the last couple of weeks. Now that is done, we are going to get back to our normal programming, but not quite because today’s episode is not about health and fitness.
Today’s is an interview I did with Sal from Mind Pump on the topic of voting. Now we start off talking about some other things tangentially related to voting, but then we get to the crux of the conversation that we wanted to have, which is a discussion about democracy. Fundamentally, what makes democracy work.
And of course Sal brings up that this country was never intended to be a pure democracy. It was intended to be a democratic republic, and there is a big difference between a pure. Democracy, which always ends in anar and chaos, by the way, because that’s how mob rule works. But instead, a form of government where we elect representatives who then administer the country.
And in this interview, Sal and I first address why we are doing episodes like this and what qualifies us to even have an opinion about such things that are not strictly related to biceps and abs. Because I do get the occasional email in Instagram DM from someone who doesn’t like something that I said in one of these non fitness episodes I do here and there.
I don’t do many of them, and I do them. Pat Flynn and Sal. Really that’s it, where someone is telling me to stay in my lane. And we address that first and then we get to talking about democracy and voting. And Sal starts out with a critique of the ubiquitous message right now to go vote. Everyone just go vote.
And I think he makes a good argument as to why many people should not vote and why it’s okay to not vote. And of course why many people should vote as well. And what the determining factor should be or ideally would be that decides whether you or someone else will or will not vote. And from there we discuss other aspects of democracy and voting, especially in today’s climate with the power of media, mass media in particular, which is unprecedented in history and why I think it makes democracy.
Very difficult to administer. And I also talk about why I think that voting should probably be more restricted than it currently is. Of course, we currently have restrictions. You have to be at least 18 years old to vote, for example. And felons can’t vote. Non-citizens can’t vote. At least they’re not supposed to be able to vote.
And so we have these restrictions in place. I think a strong argument could be made that we should have more restrictions. And I talk about why and what that could look like. Not something I’m entirely sold on, but I think that it is in the right direction. Because remember back in the beginning with the founding of the country, voting was restricted to landowners.
Now ignorant people and idiots will say that was because of racism and that’s not true. We talk a little bit about why that was and the fundamental reason why that was still applies just as much today as it did hundreds of years ago, because it is based on human nature, which doesn’t change. Or if it does change, it changes very slowly.
We fundamentally are no different now as far as our nature goes, as far as the deeper stuff goes than a couple of hundred years. Anyway. I think I have rambled enough in this intro. Hopefully I have caught your attention and gotten you interested enough to listen to the interview. I enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy it.
And by the way, it’s not just mutual masturbation. Sal and I do disagree on several things, and we do go back and forth and do not come to a resolution in this interview. And it would take many such podcasts probably for us to fully hash out where we do not see eye to eye. But that makes these types of discussions more fun for the both of us because we’re good friends and it’s in good faith.
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Sal’s back for some more hate speech, right?
Sal: Oh man. , thanks for having me on, Mike. It was a good time last time. No, it was great. I
Mike: got overwhelmingly positive feedback. A few people disagreed, but I don’t know about you. I don’t get, Although you do rile people up, you say a bit more edgy, ironically and you know me well, but publicly you say, I think things a little bit more edgy than even I do.
However, I don’t get much in the way of trolling or it’s just getting really triggered people going off. I will sometimes get people who are clearly offended by some of the things I say, but usually if people disagree with me, they’re pretty civil about it, which is appreciated. And one of the criticisms that I came across of our episode on privilege is like, why are you guys talking about this?
You guys should just stick to biceps and abs. You’re not experts on anything else, Essentially is the implication, right? Like, why should any of us care what you think about privilege? Why are you not to me, right? Why are you not interviewing a university professor who can explain to you why you are wrong in all of your views?
And so on and so forth. And I thought we should start this episode with addressing that point. Why are we gonna talk about. Voting why do we talk about anything on our platforms other than just fitness and is it irresponsible to use our platforms like this and to reach people with ideas that may be dangerous or wrong and so forth?
Sal: Yeah, no, I get that. I get that critique and first of all, there’s two reasons. Number one, it’s my platform or your platform, so we can do whatever. Go on. Here’s the second one though. Where do you find an expert on cultural, social, political issues? Do they really exist? No. Typically people that comment on this kind of stuff are lawyers who are experts at law, and you don’t ever hear economists talk about these kinds of things, although I’d love to hear economists, actual economists talk about these types of things.
But yeah, where do you find the actual experts anyway, Everybody’s a pundit and the ones that have the most popularity get that a. probably because they do a good job entertaining or communicating. People like to hear them. . But I don’t know where you would develop any expertise in this kind of stuff.
Mike: Somebody might say, Hey, okay, why don’t you, again, like somebody did say to me, Get a professor of political science on the show cuz that is an expert on these things. Or get somebody who has some other degree or bonafide days related to culture or social science. Now I have my own thoughts and my own rebuttal to that, but that is how many people think they are very quick to turn to credentialism, the overreliance on credentials to indicate whether somebody knows what they’re talking about or can do a job well.
And then of course Sinism is very big too. The overreliance on science and the blind trust of what somebody represents as science.
Sal: Yeah, I would say this, there are objective numbers, objective facts, economics largely follows along this you could see objective results from policy, which unfortunately nobody looks at.
Everybody likes to look at the intention of policy, but nobody pays attention to the actual results of policy. And this gets us in big trouble. Politicians are excellent at selling you on intention and almost never talk about the actual, the results that have happened, which I think is absolutely terrible.
And look, I’m definitely much more multifaceted than fitness. I love fitness. It’s one of my favorite. Things to talk about and study, learn. I also love learning about policy, public policy. I love government. I love politics. I love economics. I probably read and learn about those things these days more than I do fitness.
So I don’t know if that qualifies me. I tell you what, and I would say this for anybody, regardless of what you’re listening to, check facts out yourself. So after you listen, if you disagree with points that are being made, go do some research, Real research. Don’t go and just listen to, confirmation bias, but actually try to find people that maybe have opposing views.
Look at real data. Data’s great because it’s objective. Like math, you can have an opinion, but one plus one equals two. So you can’t argue that. I think
Mike: some people do argue that now, don’t
Sal: they? Don’t they say that’s racist or something? Yeah, that’s the card that gets pulled that, there’s a lot of cards that can get pulled to silence people.
But I think, and we started the last podcast that we talked about on privileged, the same way where we talked about objectivity and eliminating your preconceived notions and even your feelings and emotion. Look at actual data, look at results. Do not look at intention. We passed so many laws based off of intention that result in the opposite result of what the intention was supposed to do.
It puts us in a lot of trouble. So we gotta pay attention to that kind of stuff. Otherwise, we’re gonna be totally screwed. Now you said you had some rebuttals yourself. I’d like to hear, what do you say to people who tell you that?
Mike: One is, so if I get the stay in your lane, then my immediate response is, kind sir, are you a moral philosopher?
What qualifies you to make a moral judgment on my actions? Oh, you don’t have a degree in this. Then maybe you should stay in your lane and shut up. That’s usually my go-to if it’s, Hey, just ship to fitness buddy, because it’s so fundamentally stupid in it. What is it? A performative contradiction just inherent in it.
And then I would also say that, and this is really now me just echoing a point you made, is I think common sense goes far in many disciplines, and especially in the, certainly, so in, in what we spoke about in our previous episode on privilege and what we’re gonna talk about in this episode, I don’t think you have to be a trained expert to, like you’re saying, understand certain facts and understand certain numbers and understand certain elements of human nature and understand things that have happened in history and understand that while history doesn’t repeat, it rhymes.
I think that’s ascribed to Marks, actually. But I think it’s disputed. Nobody really knows where I came from, but hey, whatever, I’ll give credit. So I do think that, and this would, now I’m advocating not for just us, but for everybody listening, that if you do have an interest in.
type of stuff. And if you are willing to apply yourself and not just remain in your echo chamber and at least try to challenge your preconceived ideas and the things that maybe are most appealing to you, then I think that qualifies you to have an opinion. And of course, people that would charge us with reckless opinions, our hypocrites, because they do the same thing.
It’s like when I see rabid anti-Trump people pretend to be offended by some ad ho attack made on them. What are you talking about? I’m sure you say just as bad of things about people who support Trump. So who cares? I’m sure you can
Sal: take it. Yeah. One comment on that I’ll say is, and this is what, and I’ve been, I’ve closely followed and been passionate.
Politics and economics for a while now. I’d say probably, maybe a decade and a half. One thing that I’ve noticed, the trend that I’ve noticed is that it used to be, by the way, it’s always been very contentious. So people need to realize that politics has never been nice. Politicians used to get into fist fights if you actually, they used to have not so long ago.
No. So it’s never been nice. But one thing that’s interesting that I’ve noticed is that it’s no longer debating and voting against somebody whose ideas you think are wrong. It’s good versus evil. Yes, it’s been painted now that the other side is not just wrong. In fact, that’s not even been talked about at all.
It’s that the other side is evil. That is a very dangerous precedent. That’s a very dangerous path to move down because, I’m open to debating and discussing with another human being, an idea. I’m okay with debating. If somebody’s a Marxist and they wanna debate what the best way to, to promote prosperity and peace, let’s have a debate about that.
But if I think the person’s evil, not only do I not wanna debate them, but true evil needs to be stamped out, right? You need to kill it. You need to do, by all means necessary silence. Pure evil. So if we start to think. That the other side is evil, then democracy in the republic is over. Okay? And we need to all check ourselves.
Cause this has been a political ploy now. And the reason why politicians do this is because it’s effective. It’s effective at getting you to vote a particular way. Don’t believe them. Here’s the truth. The vast majority of people in America, the vast majority, and you know how you know this, Shut off your social media and just go talk to people.
The vast majority of people in America want good schools for their kids. They want opportunity. They want fairness. They want safety. They want to be with their families. They wanna be able to enjoy their lives. They wanna be nice to people. They want people to be nice to them. The vast majority of us feel that way.
Most people are not evil. If there were a lot of evil, if half the country was evil, for reals, we would not exist. I would be over. We would not be here today. Correct? Society operates and works because most people are not evil. So don’t buy that. It’s
Mike: the great conspiracy of good. There’s a well known quote about this.
It’s not gonna come to me word for word, but it was just speaking to that, that the only reason any of this stuff works is because the majority of people are good people and are working to make
Sal: society work. That’s it, man. Because if you start thinking that if you’re a Biden supporter and you think Trump supporters are not just wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, by the way.
Thinking the other side is wrong. That’s why we have political parties, and that’s why we have differing opinions. If you just think they’re wrong, but you also think that they’re evil, you are setting a precedent that will cause destruction for everybody. And the same thing for. Supporters. If you think the other side is evil, we’re totally screwed.
And not only that, but it’s false. Most people are good. Half the country is not evil. You may think half the country is wrong, that’s fine, but they’re not evil because the second we start to really buy that, now you’re talking about big problems. Now who cares about voting? If the other side wins evil won.
Now we need to overturn them. We need to have a revolution. We need to have a full war. There was a poll recently that was done with, there are people
Mike: openly calling for that. Cause they would say, Okay, Sal, yeah, I’ll grant you that. But unfortunately, Trump is evil and his cronies are evil. His core, his cabinet are evil.
And so these people who are empowering Trump and all of this evil are unfortunately complicit. Even though they may not be evil themselves, they are the people who supported Adolph Hitler’s rise to power when they would’ve never agreed to go to war, even let alone engage in other atrocities. But they did provide the stepping stones.
So we have
Sal: to stop that. And so here’s my counter to that. Okay? Could a power hungry. Evil, greedy person. Get into public office. Of course, probably . You probably have a little bit of a self-selection bias. I would say that among politicians, a greater percentage of them are probably narcissistic power hung people because of the types of people that seek out those kinds of positions.
Okay. That’s understood. By the way. That’s true for all. That’s the whole category of people seek that type of position or power. How do we protect ourselves from that? Don’t give them that much power. That’s all. All you gotta do. If you are really afraid that we’re gonna have evil political leaders, okay, then you neuter them, you limit their power.
In fact, our entire structure of a government here in America, the whole framework of how our government was designed is actually based on that premise, But the belief that half the country that millions and millions, hundreds of millions of people are evil is totally wrong. Society would crumble. It would never work.
For the most part, people act in their self-interest and what works in their self-interest is to get along and be good. Other people, humans cooperate. We work together. Social creatures, this is why society exists. Get that outta your head. Our
Mike: economic system for all of its faults, rewards fundamentally production and providing valuable products and services.
That’s how you make it in business. Fundamentally. You can cut corners and you can rip people off, but it’s very hard to stay in business that way for
Sal: long . That’s correct. Here’s the deal, and this is, again, this is a, a little off topic, but whenever I hear people say that capitalism or free market systems, which is another word essentially for capitalism, if at least at the way it’s applied here in the world, one of the criticisms I’ll get is that it, it promotes greed and that as if political greed is any better than financial greed, as if the Soviet Union didn’t have leaders with extreme political greed as if the, the communist CSARs of China don’t have greed as well.
So greed is a human, it’s part of human nature. It’s tends to be an ugly part of human nature. So the best thing we can do is develop a system in which a greedy battered has to give other people what they want in order to get what they will. Capitalism does that better than anything. If you’re a greedy person and you want to be a billionaire in the capitalist society, Really the only way to do press or services that a lot of people want.
So you gotta give people what they want in order to get what you want. Now you’ve got a government that is totalitarian, that is communism or socialism or some kind of dictatorship. Now your greed is political and then you achieve power through force. Now you’ve got guns and you have military and you have police, you have force people or something in the middle,
Mike: like Russian oligarchs is a good example of, yeah, maybe it wasn’t taken literally at the barrel of a gun, but at the end it was because the distribution of resources as far as I understand, the government played a large role in that and Putin played a large role in that.
And of course, he was able to immediately strip certain people of everything and reroute resources over to this person. And it has the veneer of kind of a free market system. There’s stuff going on behind the scenes and I would say that you have to differentiate the billionaires that have been created that way versus the billionaires who have been created.
But why, What you’re saying they came up with something that a lot of people liked. That’s really what it comes down to. And did they do maybe things that were not so ethical along the way? Yeah, probably. But so does everybody else. You can’t fault, It makes me think of the Trump taxes, which to me is reads like a nothing burger.
Yeah. You have this 70 million write off that’s being disputed in courts and you have very ho hum run of the mill tax mitigation strategies paying consult, large consulting fees to families members, blah, blah, blah. Which to people who aren’t sophisticated at all and don’t know what goes on at larger net worths, I’m not even defending what Trump’s doing.
I’m just saying that’s very boring. Like I work with somebody on my taxes and I’m a peasant compared to his client roster. He works with billionaires and families that have billion plus dollar net worths. And there are stories, The things that some of these people do are hilarious. To get out of taxes, re mitigate taxes is absolutely as much as possible.
And so my point with saying that is that even stuff like that is, yeah, it’s part of the game. And ironically, this is also a comeback that I’ve yet to receive a good response to. To anybody who’s, again, pretending to be so outraged over Trump’s taxes, I’m like, You would do the exact same thing if you were in his shoes.
Sal: Nobody pays more taxes than they’re required to do. Number one, I don’t know anybody that gives money to the government voluntarily. They give it to charity if they want to donate money. And by the way, that’s a more effect efficient way of doing it. Here’s the deal. If you had a problem with the tax code, you gotta really be effective with the things that you’re looking at.
We have a massive bureau. Because our tax code is so damn complicated. Our tax system’s so complicated. We have a government bureaucracy that we pay our tax dollars too in order to make sense of it all. Not only that, but companies and individuals have to pay tax accountants and people that understand tax law, that’s wasted resources.
If you really wanna fix the tax code, you make it simple as hell. No write offs, everybody pays 10%. Maybe you have a negative tax on people who make, under a certain amount, like maybe like a Milton Friedman type of system.
Mike: Or maybe you could move away from income tax. Maybe you could have a high consumption tax, essentially.
Sal: Sure. Something like that. But yeah, nobody pays more taxes than they’re required to pay. And taxes are a very inefficient way of using resources. Government in general, it’s all centralized. They don’t read any real signals or signs. And government agencies that don’t do the job that they’re created to do end up getting more money because that ends up being reason.
Oh, we can’t do it. We’re supposed to do because we don’t have enough money, unlike the market. In which case, if a company isn’t able to do what they do, you don’t say it’s because you, Oh, you don’t have enough money. You say The way you’re doing is wrong and we’re gonna stop giving you.
Government systems that break, they end up getting more funding and they’re terribly inefficient. So the tax thing to me is totally silly. I get that it may be a necessary evil, I’m not an anarchist, but this whole if we just paid more taxes, we’d fix more problems, not really. That’s usually not what happens.
Usually we just end up spending more money and we have the same problem or other problems. And there’s
Mike: so much evidence of that, that anybody who were to say that to me, I would immediately challenge them to explain that to me and cite your sources as the mid wis. Love to say, but actually explain to me specifically how that is supposed to work.
And give me some really good examples of where just giving more money to the government or just in general, throwing more money at large, complicated social problems that our current systems have not solved. Explain to me how injecting those systems with more capital is gonna fix things like you’re talking about essentially brute force.
I’m gonna have to be convinced.
Sal: The reason why Mike, I think people think that is a solution for complex problems, is because there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how resources are allocated in a market and why resource allocation is so important when you have government deciding things, for example, let’s say that the government decided that they wanted to build a railroad from point A to point B, and there.
A mountain in between and they have to decide whether or not they build around the mountain, which requires less engineering, but more, hard products, more steel, more concrete and whatever, or go through the mountain, which requires less steel, but more engineering. The way they decide is they just say, Okay, I think we’ll do this one.
Now, in a market based system, without realizing it, a private company would just go the cheapest route, Which one’s the least expensive? Now people think, Oh, there’s nothing behind that. There’s a lot that goes behind that because the price tell you where resources are needed, which ones most demand. The country needs more engineers for other important services, therefore, going through the mountain is gonna cost more than going around, or we need more steel, therefore, going around the mountain is more expensive than going through the mountain.
So all these things are really, all these very complicated things we don’t realize going to the price. Of products and all a business person has to do is go with the least expensive one. When government is trying to fix things, especially from a central point, from Washington, the best they can do is guess.
That’s the absolute best thing they can do. And so what you have is this incredibly wasteful system markets and instead just through the price system, end up allocating resources in the most efficient ways possible. This is why wealth explodes under market systems and is crushed under systems that have less market systems and power when you have government based economic systems.
Because resources, look, we are not more wealthy because more money exists doesn’t work that way. The reason why we’re more wealthy is things have become more e. Over time and
Mike: productivity has gone way up. That’s what I mean. That’s really what it comes down to, right? Is the efficiency is, has allowed us to be more productive.
And that can be measured in gdp, fine. You can measure it in other ways, but by productive, I mean creating things of value, creating things, products and services that people want and are willing to trade their hard earned resources for. And productivity is so much higher now than it was a hundred years ago.
And so to your point, that is the driver of wealth, not fiat currency or a central bank that can just print unlimited
Sal: money. No, no money has to represent something. So just having more money just devalued it. And if it represents more productivity, better efficiency, now we have more wealth. This is why, a country with a third of the people of another country can have so much more wealth.
It’s because it’s more efficient and the efficiency comes from the market system and prices. And here’s the thing. Look, government tries to figure out what the people want, right? And they do this through voting. And voting happens, every other year or something like that. The market is being voted.
The market receives, voted signals through our purchasing habits, the things that we buy every minute of every single day, all the time. The market is nimble, it’s fast, and it doesn’t predict what people want. It gives them what people want. Now this isn’t perfect, Nothing is. Because if want is distractions, alcohol and pornography, then we’re gonna have a lot of innovation in those directions.
So we still need to have a society of people that healthy, that have good ethics and morals. But that’s true of any society, whether you’re a communist country or you’re market country. But this is why markets are so effective and efficient. And I’ll even look, I’ll even take a step back. Okay, I’ll take a step back.
If you look at charity versus government, you know there’s a huge homeless problem right now in a lot of Western states, Washington, California, especially if you look at the amount of money that government spends on providing beds and resources for homeless people versus charities and something like 10 to one.
Why is it such a big difference? Charities tend to be small. They tend to be on the ground, and they give people what they want and they stop giving people what they don’t want, and they can see what’s happening right in front of them. This person’s taking advantage, this person isn’t. Here’s how we can use these resources.
Government is big. It’s bold, It’s harder
Mike: to obtain resources. You have to actually sell people on why they should give their money to you. And in the end, unless you’re a con artist, that means that you have to actually be producing valuable effects in society. Whereas in government, it’s just a budget.
Who cares? 50 million goes here, a hundred million goes here, 500 million goes here. Do we ever even look into what
Sal: comes back? Of course not. Listen, this is a fact now, okay. The Soviet Union had thousands of acres of wheat that were rot. They had, I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian farmers that starved to death because of central planning.
Because they eliminated, Whereas previously, that was the bread basket of Europe Ukrainian. Correct. And why? Because you had people in central government saying, We’re gonna change things around not understanding any of the intricacies. There’s no human or group of people that could possibly interpret all the data on a minute by minute basis, like the price system of markets in order to allocate resources as effectively as it does.
When it comes to taxes, I’m like, Look, here’s the deal. Companies keeping more of their money is far more efficient and they’ll be better at giving us what we want than giving it to government. Now, I’m not saying government needs to not exist. I definitely think that it’s a necessary evil in particular, and I think this is the topic we wanna talk about at protecting individual liberty.
That’s a big part, a role of American government. But really aside from that, giving them more money is one of the biggest waste of our resources we could possibly do. If there is a market demand, the market will produce what we need very efficiently, very quickly, with the least waste of resources.
And here’s the best part, okay? People in markets risk their own capital, people in government risk other people’s capital. That’s a big difference. If you give me $10,000 and it’s not my money and you send me to Vegas to gamble it, I’m more likely to waste all of it, especially by the way, if I have a guarantee that I’ll get that money back if I fail, which is a lot of government programs versus taking my own.
In going to Vegas, I’m gonna be a little bit more wise. And if
Mike: no one’s gonna look into how it went, if you can come back and be like, Oh, it went really well you wanna gimme another 10,000? Sure. Here you
Sal: go. A hundred percent. And
Mike: just a comment on all of that for people who want to dive into what you were talking about in terms of really, we were talking about our feedback loops in terms of systems thinking.
I did a book review on called Thinking in Systems and in the book I forget the author’s name, A woman. She was talking about how feedback loops, how important feedback loops are in the, in determining the behavior of systems and how important delays are. So let’s say you have a store and you’re trying to adjust your store’s inventory.
If you have delayed information about what the state of the inventory is, if you get it a week late, let’s say you’re gonna have a hard time, you’re gonna always be overshooting and undershooting your goal. And the same is true if information is timely or not. And so to your point, when you have a system that is very complex and there are a lot of things changing very quickly, the only way for it to respond quickly is to be very decentralized.
That’s where massive central planning systems like the Soviet Union and the General Motors is a good example of that. They just don’t work. No, there are too many things changing too quickly and too often for it to be managed by a group of politicians who are receiving information on a, it might be a
Just let prices do their thing. And again, we talked earlier about intentions versus result. I’ll give you a great example and this is in our space of health and fitness. There was a, I don’t remember where this town was, but they ran this experiment trying to combat the obesity issues that they were encountering in chronic health issues.
And so what they did is they required, they passed a law feel good law, right? And the law said that all restaurants, fast food or otherwise needs to list the calories and macros of all of the meals that they’re serving. And they said, okay, if we can list the calories and the macros, the fats and carbs and proteins, but in particular the calories, people are gonna be more informed and make better decisions and this is going to result in less obesity.
And that’s a feel good law and it sounds like it makes sense on the surface. Anyway, they ran this test and what they end up founding was the average person consumed a few hundred more calories a day after they pass this law. And so you think to yourself, that doesn’t make any sense, but it does when you really understand people’s psychology.
Now I’m a trainer when it comes to psychology around fitness and nutrition. I understand it pretty well. So what I did for decades is I trained clients and a big part of my job was understanding the psychology of clients and helping them work around it. Cuz they had to develop, long term good relationships with food and exercise that would provide ’em success Long.
And so here’s what ended up happening. People would go to McDonald’s, right? And they’re looking at the different options on the menu, and they see the chicken salad is 400 calories, and the Big Mac is 650 calories. I don’t know what the calories are, I’m just making about, but they see 650 calories for the burger.
Mike: It becomes a value proposition. They’re like, What? I get more calories for less money,
Sal: But here’s what happened. First of all, this is after the fact, right? They had the results. People ate more calories and they tried to figure out what happened, and then this is what happened. People looked at it and rather than saying, I’ll eat the salad, 250 calories, they said, Oh wow, the burgers only 250 more calories.
I’m gonna get that instead. So now why people don’t understand. Calories in versus calories out and how many they burn or whatever. Oh, I saw, sure. And that’s actually a lot for a meal, yeah. But they don’t know that. They say, Oh, 300 more calories for the extra fries. What’s the big deal? I’m gonna throw that on top.
1500 calories versus a thousand calories. It’s only another 500 calories. So that’s a good example of a law.
Mike: That’s not surprising that experiment failed, because when I first heard about that experiment, I didn’t hear the whole story. I just had heard that had been tried. And I didn’t remember the outcome when you were telling the story, at least However, I do remember when I first heard about that, that my initial thought was like, Oh, that’s gonna fail, because the average person doesn’t even know what a calorie is.
They can’t even define the word, let alone explain why they should care about how many calories they’re eating and how calories relates to body composition. They don’t know. They don’t know anything. So it just becomes an abstract number. And so I’m not surprised that it played out like that, where it’s just comparing two things like, Oh, what’s 200 calories?
Who knows? It doesn’t sound that bad to me. I’ll take the
Sal: back. Yeah. I’m already here at McDonald’s. I might as well get the thing that, that I really want. And so that’s an example. If it was like 2000 more, maybe I would think about it, but , Yeah, they don’t know any better. So that’s an example of intention versus result.
Another good example are the drug war, right? The way that we regulate. Illegal drugs. Now the intentions are drug use is probably bad for most people, especially abuse. And so we want to stop that. We wanna stop. I like how you hedge on
Mike: that drug
Sal: use is bad. Yeah. I think we could safely say that if for the most part heroin, cocaine, dropping acid, smoking a lot of marijuana, whatever, probably most people would probably be better not doing it than doing it for the most part.
I think that’s a safe thing to say and it’s a feel good thing. I’ll agree with you. It’s a feel good thing to say, right? Oh, let’s, We need drug laws to prevent people from like alcohol prohibition, right? We need to create these laws. This will get people to stop drinking alcohol. This will get people to stop doing all these drugs.
So what they did is they passed these feel good extreme regulatory laws that all they did is they didn’t take into account that there’s a strong market demand. People want drugs. So if we make it illegal enough, we’re just going to create this very powerful black market, which now has its own unintended consequences of which have probably caused more problems than the drugs themselves.
I’m not advocating for the full legalization of all drugs. My point with that again, is that in, there are arguments to say that the war on drugs probably contribute to the. Fatherless societies that we see in certain cultures or certain neighborhoods because you got a man with personal possession of cocaine.
He’s no evidence that he’s selling. It’s his own use. He hasn’t done anything. He hasn’t hurt anybody. But because they’re these minimum sentencing law, we’re gonna take this guy, throw him in jail for six months or a year. Now he has a felony, can never get a job. Now he’s not raising his kid, now he’s working in the black market.
That’s the only way he can make money. And now we create generations of problems. So that’s just another example of laws with good intentions or that sound good with bad results. This is the crux of the issue and I think this leads well into what we wanna talk about, which was voting and whether or not we should really push people to vote, if that’s a good thing and what the deal is with that.
Because I know my position is opposite of what you’re gonna hear everywhere on media. I can’t, I swear it’s so funny. I can’t log into Instagram or Facebook without anything without seeing, oh, go vote. Oh, so ridiculous. Vote or die. What the hell are you talking about? Before we get into that, Mike, I think it’s important, and this is something that unfortunately the average person isn’t quite informed on, maybe a little ignorant on, and part of this is our public school system.
Part of it is just, it’s not in popular media, so we tend to not read about it, learn about it, but the idea that we are a democracy. A full democracy in that everybody needs to vote so that the majority can talk about how the country should be run and how policies should be done as if everything is a referendum.
It’s totally false. Our government is not a democracy. Our government is a constitutional republic. In fact, the founders of America the people who created the framework of our government were extremely skeptical of and afraid of pure democracies. They were afraid of all tyranny. Okay? So tyranny being people oppressing and having power over other people.
And they designed our government literally to protect the people from a pure democracy, tyrannical situation or what’s known as tyranny of the majority. So if you look at our government, just
Mike: mob rule, like if you want a good example of that, probably the most recent best example I know of is the French Revolution ReadUP, about how that went.
And then you can go back. Another classic example that immediately comes to mind of the failures of democracy is Athens. You can read about what happened there and you can read about Plato. I mean he talked about the cycles of government and how democracy always ends in anarchy and chaos. That is how it ends.
Sal: It does, but we gotta clarify cuz what you’re saying. I think a lot of people are like, What are you talking about? I thought democracy was great. America as democratic aspects of it. Our government, we elect our officials democratically, but we. Liberty that are explicitly protected in the constitution, that are protected specifically from majority opinion or rule or tyranny.
Okay. And just to simplify, okay, so here’s what tyranny of the majority would be. In a very simple example, let’s say you had a country that was run purely on majority rule and 51% of the country voted that everybody should have a short haircut. Now the 49% of the country is required by law to have a short haircut, right?
That’s a simple example, but that’s exactly what happened. The Greek city states that had these pure democracies where at some point you had 51% or more of the people voting themselves more free stuff from the other smaller percentage of people that were actually producing a lot of stuff. And eventually it’s easy to see what ends up happening there.
It just goes into complete ruin. Freedom of speech. I’ll use that one because that’s one that I think most people, or at least most America, Rome is another good
Mike: example for anybody wanting to review the historical track record of Republican and democratic governments studying about the Roman Empire and how it didn’t fall in the way that many people think.
It really just, it split, right? You had the eastern. Part of it continued on actually the Byzantine Empire continue on for a long time. But the Western component was the one that had a rougher time of it. But regardless, before that, it’s actually uncanny. You can go down like a good example for anybody who wants to quickly understand what I’m talking about, go on YouTube and find Will Durant.
If you search for, I believe Will Durant fall of Rome, you’ll find it’s like a 10 or 11 minute clip from an audiobook. And Will Durant was a pure surprise winning historian. One of my favorite historians and writers, just brilliant, amazing writer. He’s dead now. And so this was written and recorded a long time ago.
But he was talking about the social, economic, political, and just personal problems that Rome was facing toward the end. And we check currently every box. Every single one.
Sal: Yeah. Yeah, we do. And a lot of it has to do with this. We’re becoming more and more of a majority rule society. Luckily, the founders really did a, a brilliant job of creating a government structure that’s got a lot of checks and balances that help prevent that.
And one of the ones that I’m talking about that I think was just the most brilliant was we have a bill of rights. And these rights cannot be infringed upon, even with the majority vote. And really the only way to get rid of one of these rights is you have to go through this very complicated, difficult process.
Of going through Congress and a huge majority needs to vote for it. And then the states have to ratify it, and a majority of states, and it’s really hard to have majority rule or at least infringe on your liberty. So let’s use speech for example. Okay? Speech is a protected liberty in America. That means that even if a majority of Americans think what you’re saying is crazy, they can’t pass laws to ban your speech.
You can’t be thrown in jail for having a vocal opinion. Now, why is this a good thing? This is a great thing because oftentimes the majority of people, the number one, the wrong. If I were a open critic of slavery in the early days, I would’ve been a total minority in terms of my opinion. What about criticizing government itself?
What if I was openly critical of our government talking about how terrible they are? They can’t throw me in jail for doing that. That’s a very good thing. It’s a good thing that we don’t all just vote on what speech to ban and what speech is. Okay. The liberty of speech. Exclusively to protect unprotect unpopular speech because popular speech needs no protection.
So this is what we are, we’re a republic. We elect our officials democratically and we have different branches of government that have a division of powers that protects against tyranny. You have the legislative branch that funds, they are the ones that can allocate money to enact certain things. You have the executive branch has the power to enact certain things, but they can’t get the money.
So let’s say President Trump declares war cuz he’s the commander in chief and he says, We’re gonna go to war with this other country. If Congress disagrees, they could just cut his funding. Now he has no money and he can’t go to war. Then we have the Supreme Court, right? We have the judicial branch whose job is to not legislate at all.
It’s to not provide funding at all, but rather just to interpret and protect our liberties through interpreting the constitution. This is a very brilliant framework, and of course the electoral college, we can get into that. But that exists again, to protect from this mob rule of, like right now, if it was just the majority vote, in some cases you’d have.
The metropolitan areas of America would run that and that’s it. No, it’d be over. That’s
Mike: all you’d have to do. You just win New York, Illinois, Los Angeles, I don’t even know if you need any, maybe one or two other big
Sal: cities and you’re done and you’d run the whole country. And so they literally, the framework of this government was literally, there are far more words in the framework of our government to protect the individual, to protect each of us against tyranny.
There are more words that say what the government can’t do than say what the government should do. So this is the entire thing in how it’s designed and constructed. This is why it can be frustratingly slow to change things. By the way, I like that government that moves really fast, very dangerous. You get one bad apple in there.
Next thing you have crazy laws or whatever. I think this is a good way to start about our voting. Talking about how we vote and why it’s important to vote, but also why it’s important to not vote if you’re not a well-informed individual and why that’s not the end of the world. I think that’s also an important thing to talk about.
First off, let’s talk about why I think it’s a terrible idea and message to tell everybody that they have to vote. Get out there and vote. It’s the most important thing you could possibly. It’s a bad idea because most people, their information on the policies that they’re voting for or the politicians that they’re voting for based off of political ads media, that is really just a loud speaker for politicians.
It’s not hard to see that. By the way if you just very easily could pause this podcast, pull up cnn, pull up Fox, toggle between the two of ’em, and you’ll see this crazy spin on the same story. Like the narrative is very clear. You can see what the Democrat narrative is the Republican narrative is. And so most people’s information on policy and especially on economics, that’s my big rub.
Economics in particular, they really don’t that informed. And so they go and they vote and what ends up happening is they end up voting without realizing that they’re either voting against their own self-interest cuz they don’t really understand any better or they vote things that probably aren’t a good idea.
So I’m against this whole pushing people to vote like crazy. I think people need to become very informed. One of the best things you could do, if you like to vote and you wanna vote and you want to take advantage of that, right? That we have to vote is, this is the simplest thing you can do. Forget about public policy, forget about social issues, just learn economics.
That will solve 95%. Of all the issues, if you understand economics a little bit and what produces the best outcomes, you can look at all the propositions that you get every midterm election. You can hear what politicians are promoting. And if you understand economics, it’s really easy to look behind the curtain.
It’s really easy to understand what’s going on and say, Okay, I know they’re saying this is for that. What’s a good example of that right? Now, here’s a great example. Minimum wage laws are a phenomenal example of that, okay? So minimum wage laws or politicians that say, We’re going to increase minimum wage to the average person, here’s what they hear.
We are gonna give people who make the least amount of money in society a raise, okay? And we have this idea that people who make the least amount of money in society need the most help. They are disenfranchised, low skills, maybe low experience. Maybe they have a past prison record and they wanna do better for themselves.
We think of a single mom who’s got two jobs at minimum wage. And so we think to ourselves yeah, I wanna give that person a raise. I think that’s a great thing. So there’s that good intentions thing that we talked about. Okay, so here’s the problem with that, and here’s where understanding economics really empowers you to vote in the best interest of the people around you and in your best interest.
When we say minimum wage goes from $10 to $15, Here is what you are doing, this is what you’re doing. Essentially, there’s more to this, but this is, I think, the most important part to understand. If the minimum wage, which is a, By the way, this is a fixing of price. So in markets prices largely reflect supply and demand.
If something is very, if high in demand and there’s low supply, it’s more expensive. Vice versa. There’s a lot of supply and low demand that something’s really cheap. Same thing is for labor. Labor is no different. We have a price for labor, and if it’s dictated by the market, then what that does is it tells us how many people can do this job and are willing to do this job, and how valuable is this job, and that helps dictate price.
This is why teachers make less money than Beyonce, right? Beyonce, and I can argue that teachers are more important, but Beyonce, she attracts a lot of money. Very few people can perform on stage like Beyonce very few people. And so there’s a high demand for her low supply of people like Beyonce. She makes a shit ton of money.
Teaching does require some skill, but there’s a lot of people that are willing to do it. We have a high supply of it. The demand isn’t super high. We’re not at a shortage for teachers, so they just make less money. And although it doesn’t sound fair, the market just reflects that kind of value. Okay. So when we go to minimum, If I move it from $10 or let’s say there’s no minimum wage, and then I move it up to $15, here’s what I’ve done.
I’ve made everybody whose skills and experience are worth less than $15. Now, unemployable, you cannot get a job now. Now because your skills and because your lack of experience is not worth $15 an hour. As an employer, I am not going to hire. This is essentially what happens and every time we raise minimum wage, this is what teenagers, unemployment goes up, unemployment go up a amongst the disenfranchised, amongst the lowest guild, unemployment goes up because they’re no longer employable. And what you’ve done is you’ve taken their most powerful bargaining chip. If I am somebody who I got outta prison and I wanna change my life, I have no skills, and I go to a fast food restaurant, they are hiring for a, somebody to flip burgers in the back and I know the position pays $10 an hour and I go meet with the manager.
And let’s say there’s no minimum wage. Here’s what I can say to the manager, Here’s the deal. I know I have no experience. I know I don’t have any skills on this, but I tell. I’ll do that job for $5 an hour and I’ll prove to you that I’m worth it and I’ll build my skills and I’ll gain experience and I’ll show you what I can do.
And in the meantime, that experience is gonna show up on my resume and I’m gonna build skills and be able to earn more money. But if the law says that you cannot pay anybody less than $10 or $15 an. Now I go there, employer looks at my resume, looks at all these things and says, You’re not gonna get hired.
And so a law with good intentions, minimum wage actually results in more trouble and challenges and more unemployment among the very people it purports to help. This is why we need to look at not just the intentions, but look at the result. If we raise the minimum wage, are we really helping disenfranchise people or not?
We’re making it harder for them to get jobs. We’re making them unemployable in many cases, eliminating the bottom rung of a ladder for them to climb up and help themselves out. And then, by the way, here’s another side effect of that, or here’s the answer to that usually from people is they’ll say we’ll just give them government assistance.
Now we’ve made them dependent on the government and a system, and we’ve taken away their dignity. We’ve taken away their self-empowerment. That’s one of my favorite examples of. Good intentions resulting in bad result. And what you just
Mike: said makes sense to me, but it’s not something I’ve looked into enough to say that I agree with you.
I think it’s an interesting hypothesis, but, and this is an example of me trying to embody some of what we were talking about in the beginning of this podcast. I would be inclined to agree with you maybe emotionally, but I haven’t looked into it enough. I don’t want to go off on too long of a tangent on this point, but if it were just you and I sitting around talking, I would ask you, Okay, what are the best counter-arguments for your position and why do you still have the position you have?
Why do you disagree? What would smart people who disagree with you who are educated in this, what would they say and why is that not convincing to you? I don’t know that, so that’s why I would reserve my endorsement of that until I looked into it further, because I’m sure there are some good counter-arguments.
And I would also wanna know how these laws came about, because I can look back to the turn of the century and when people were working six or seven days a week in Carnegie’s factories, and at one point the percentage of workers getting maimed or killed in the course of their. Are sometimes short careers.
Working for Carnegie was, I’m not gonna remember the exact number, but it was staggeringly high. It was probably around 50%. So you had this guy who was worth $200 billion in today’s money, and he had people making almost nothing. He had children working in his factories as well, making almost nothing, barely able to survive getting named and killed.
So he could what? So he could make another billion dollars to add to his 200 billion. So there were real problems and maybe the minimum wage laws, I don’t know if those problems gave rise to minimum wage laws, but if they did or if it were problems like those, I do understand why people were like, No, this has to change.
That’s a cool theory that free markets are supposed to fix all this. They’re not. You have a handful of people who have amassed essentially all of the wealth and all of the power and regulatory capture is outta control. There was a time when John Rockefeller, you can read about this in Ron Chernow’s biography Titan, he had people, he would send people to DC with briefcase of cash, and what they would do is they would set up in a hotel, legislators would literally come and line up outside the fucking hotel room, walk in, get.
Marching orders, get their envelope, and it told them, This is what Mr. Rockefeller wants of you. This is, these are the laws, this is what needs to happen. He had judges, and he had taken over enough of the legislative and judicial branches to dictate the terms of his quote unquote surrender, for example, to Teddy Roosevelt, which all it did, and he joked about this in his private correspondence, was double his net worth.
Standard oil never got broken up. That oil trust never got broken or destroyed. He just engineered a PR win for Roosevelt and the government that literally, in his own words, said it just, all it did was double his net worth. So you had this problem and you had legislators who, again, it was a cash payoff.
Here you go, baby. Next next. And it’s that easy to corrupt a system. Again, I don’t wanna turn this podcast into a discussion of these points, but I do just wanna speak out and say that I’m not sure it’s that simple, Mike.
Sal: There’s a lot to unpack there. Number one, whenever you look back and you look at the Industrial Revolution, for example, and the terrible working conditions and children are working, it’s unfair to compare that to today.
The, what was worse than working conditions during the industrial Revolut. Working conditions before the industrial revolution. Okay, so you can’t compare the two. It was an improvement, definitely not perfect. It was an improvement. I agree.
Mike: But it, all I’m saying is that if that is part of the origin story of minimum wage laws, that would be interesting to me.
If I were doing research on the topic, I would want to know what problem was trying to be solved here.
Sal: Minimum wage laws actually have racist origins. The very first minimum wage laws were pass. To prevent black laborers from undercutting or underselling in comparison to white laborers. So black laborers were doing jobs, construction jobs, and work jobs, and they were getting hired because they were charging less than white laborers.
White laborers lobbied their local governments and created price fixing. You could not charge less than this amount for this type of job and eliminated the bargaining chip for black laborers during obviously a very racist time in our country. Those are the origins of minimum wage loss and price fixing.
Look, let me make it simple. I’ll make it very simple. And again, this is short very simple. I can make the argument that milk is a staple food. Now we need milk. Children need milk, and we need to produce milk, and people need milk. So I could, as a politician say, You know what? We need people to have more milk.
So I’m gonna pass a law that says a gallon of milk can no longer be sold for more than 50 cents. That is gonna be the maximum price. That is the price fix. For a gallon of milk and what’ll end up happening, if I do that, milk production will decrease and then disappear because nobody will be able to produce it for any kind of a profit.
It won’t make any sense. And now we have no milk. What if I do the opposite and then government will
Mike: have to come in and
Sal: subsidize milk productions, . Yeah. And what if I do the opposite? What if I say, Hey, milk farmers, the backbone of this country, every gallon of milk, the minimum price needs to be $10 a gallon.
You would have a, Nobody would buy milk. Nobody would buy it because it. Too expensive. So this is the same thing with labor. Okay? Same thing with labor. You price fix labor with a minimum wage. Yes, some people get a raise, but there’s massive unintended consequences. Most of the people negatively affected from a minimum wage law are the very people it purports to help the disenfranchised, the low skilled, and of course, you’re taking resources and you’re allocating them in very inefficient ways.
So companies produce less jobs. They’re able to innovate less. And then you put market pressures for companies Like if I raise minimum wage of $25 an hour, you’re gonna see AI machines take over right away. Because now it makes sense. That’s already happening, right? It’s already happening. But we can make it happen faster with the artificial market.
And I’ve seen it
Mike: in the media in the context of fast food restaurants, for example. Just as further evidence of what you’re saying, I remember reading about a year ago a news story about it was a 15 or $20 minimum wage law that was passed. And what happened is you had these people, like you’re saying, who don’t have much in the way of skills or intelligence or ambition even.
And not that they shouldn’t have a job and that they can’t contribute, but these were people who were not doing too well. And so the law was passed to try to help those people. But what happened is people who were better for these jobs, more qualified for these jobs from surrounding, if I remember correctly, it was even surrounding states started coming in and taking those jobs.
Cause they’re like, shit that pays that now. Sure, I’ll do that. And then the business now is faced with hiring somebody who is probably. Not gonna do very well versus someone who is probably going to do well for the same amount of money. And of course they go with the person who’s probably gonna do well and that has nothing to do with racism or classism or any other ism that’s just running a business.
And I couldn’t cite the specifics cuz it has been sometimes since I read about it. But I do remember reading about that at least in there was at least one example, if not several examples of that. And of course, and this is an example of something that it only requires common sense to understand. That doesn’t mean that somebody has to immediately agree with you.
What you just laid out doesn’t require a degree in anything
Sal: to understand. No. And one comment to your example of Rockefeller or Carnegie or one of those, Titans or whatever you wanna call ’em back in those days. Robert Barons, my friend. Yeah. Robert Barons, right? Here’s the deal, okay.
I’m not advocating for crony capitalism, I’m not advocating for businesses to use their money and influence to get legislation to benefit them. But that’s always gonna exist so long as the government has a big role in the market. Okay? If the government has a big role in the market, if they can make laws that’ll make or break a company, if they can legislate and regulate the market, that is a massive incentive for companies to lobby government.
If you shrink that incentive, if you make it so that government plays a very small role in the market, you’ll see political dollars dry up. Overnight. There’s no reason to lobby government if they’re not really regulating your market that much. But you
Mike: also see what we got previously, which is massive monopolization and merciless elimination of competition.
Sal: Yeah. The only way you eliminate competition for reals is by passing laws, raising the barrier to enter the market. No, I don’t wanna get
Mike: too far off on this, but No, I would say if you read up more on the Robert Barons and like what specifically Rockefeller did, for example, to stamp out his competitors, it had nothing to do with leveraging government.
Sometimes it did. Many times it did
Sal: not. You do realize that he did not own a hundred percent of the market. Right?
Mike: He owned 90 something percent of oil refining at his peak. Like he was the market .
Sal: He was the main player, just like Google owns. I don’t know how much of the search market, but Oh dude, it was a complete monopoly.
Ah, I dunno. I disagree with that.
Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in.
Sal: Okay, so back to voting again. If you look at the majority of people who are eligible to vote, a very large percentage of them don’t understand the difference between intentions and result.
They don’t have a good understanding of economics. And so what they end up doing is they end up moving to the whims of political ads and politically driven media. And so we become very easily manipulated by politicians in media to vote a particular way. And this is one of the reason why one political party in particular wants to drive people to the polls.
They know. The more people that vote, the more influence they have with their media. And this can cause really big problems, which I’ll say is a
Mike: smart strategy. It doesn’t upset me. I don’t think it’s great for the country, but it is practical politics.
Sal: It’s clever. It is. But I like to tell people this. I like to say, Look, don’t vote unless you’re really informed.
When you become very informed, then you can go out and vote, and then you’ll make a good decision. But here’s the other side of it, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t vote. because you have way more power as a consumer than you do as a voter. Way more power. Your purchasing habits and who you give your money to and who you give your attention to.
You do that every single day. And the market is extremely responsive, at least when you compare it to government. So if you are not very informed, don’t go out and vote, but rather pay attention to the things that you’re buying, pay attention to the people that you’re giving money to. Do you want more products that look like this?
Are you a health fanatic? Do you want to give your money to companies that promote health that are, let’s say, organic or that try to at least prioritize health in their products? Or are you, here’s a great example. If you look at the market for health food or organic food that’s exploded over the last 15 years in a 15 year period, it’s really changed radically.
10 years. I remember 10 years ago, maybe 10 years ago, maybe a little more, your typical grocery store didn’t have an organic section. In order to get organic food, you had to go to Whole Foods. Now, every single grocery store, including Walmart, Has a large organic section because it’s meeting market demand.
So as consumers is where we have all of our power. Now, when it comes to these big general elections, first of all, the president doesn’t have for, they have way more power than they should, but they still don’t have as much power as you think. So it’s every four years, it’s the most important election of our lives, by the way, every four years.
And I remember the meltdown that happened when Trump got elected and everybody thought it was the end of the world. And in reality, some stuff changed, but a lot of it stayed the same. He doesn’t have that kind of power. Stalks are up. Yeah. He has to work with Congress and there’s a lot of checks and balances there.
Your voting power is far more effective. I would say at the local level, local government, it probably count. It definitely counts much more in those local elections. If you’re in these hard blue or hard red states, when a presidential election comes around, I’m in California, right?
California’s blue, no matter what, Biden’s gonna win all the electoral votes of California unless I’m a Democrat. Does it really matter who I vote for? It’s, this state is gonna totally. To Biden in this next election. And so it really doesn’t make a huge difference. Now, I can make the case that maybe you vote for your conscious to show that this particular candidate or this party, I tend to vote libertarian in general elections, and maybe I’ll show that there’s more demand, so maybe they’ll get more money or whatever.
But I, I pay more attention, especially in the state that I’m in to the local elections because I think that’s where I have a little bit more power. But I do think it’s a dangerous precedent to push just everybody to vote, to make it a thing, to make it cool, because a lot of people are just, they’re uninformed.
And I know I, earlier I talked about economics in how that can really help a lot. There’s a very great series you can watch on YouTube that breaks it down. It’s an old series. It was done in the 1970s. Extremely relevant, even today, really educates you. It’s hosted by Milton Friedman, who I believe to be one of the best communicators ever in economics.
So it is really good at communicating economics in ways that are understandable. It’s a series called Free to Choose and watch that on YouTube, and it breaks things down and explains them so that things start to make a little bit more sense. That way when you hear politicians or media talk about this, New thing they wanna do, it’s easy to see through it and say, Okay, actually, I know this is named, the Patriot Act, for example.
But in reality it’s actually anti patriate and it destroys liberties. Or I know that this act is the anti-poverty act, but in reality I saw what it does and it’s actually gonna create more poverty. It’ll really help you make better decisions when you vote. I agree. And
Mike: I, my position is more extreme than yours.
I don’t know if you share my sentiments, but I look back to what the founders put in place. And at that time, voting was a right that certain people had and other people did not. It could be viewed maybe more as a, You mean like landowners? Yeah, at the time it was landowners. But we still have that to some degree.
Like felons can’t vote. You need to be a certain age until you are allowed to vote. Why? Like why restrict voting at all? Now? Some people would say, we should not restrict it at all, period. Felons should be able to vote. We should lower the voting age to 16. I believe that was proposed in San Francisco, I think somewhere in California.
Sal: Oh my. Yes it was. And it, What a terrible idea. Let’s start
Mike: with the frontal cortex is not fully developed until you’re what? 24, 25, 26 kids are not known for making good decisions. , I’ll start there.
Sal: No. But even besides that, cuz you know, you can make the argument that an 18 year old, they can go to war.
Mike: that is the boomer argument. And then so to that I would say, Oh, what? So then we say, okay, fine. Veterans under, let’s say it was 21 was the age, or 23 or 25. Okay. Veterans can vote. If they’re willing to do that, then they can vote. But that’s sory, that’s moving the goal post. Because really what I’m getting at is I think there are moral arguments against universal suffrage, which is again, what some people are pushing for everyone, no matter their age.
Give those people enough time and they’ll say 13 year olds should vote because of course it makes seizing and holding on it. Winning elections and ultimately seizing power easier. So does it really make sense? Go back to why. Why was it landowners? Now, people who are ignorant or stupid or both would say, Oh, because of racism, it was just an anti-black thing.
No, that’s not why. Fundamentally, what it comes down to is skin in the game. That’s actually why, because the more people who are eligible to vote, the higher crime rates are, the more taxes we get, the more foreign wars we get. When nobody owns the state or the country, nobody owns the outcome. It’s the tragedy of the commons writ large.
And that is why the founders set it up that way. Now, I know some people, what they would say is taking the time to inform yourself, which for most people, like you were saying, means watching the TV or maybe the Twitters, and then engaging in your political system and engaging in the polity. You are putting skin in the game by voting.
No. Fuck you in your semantic games definition, skin in the game means putting your own resources at risk. What are you putting at risk? A little bit of your time on Twitter and sending in a ballot in the mail. No, that’s not skin in the game. Anybody who, to your point, understands economics, knows what skin in the
Sal: game means.
I was gonna say my, You definitely have a more extreme, I get where you’re coming from, right? If 40% of the country is productive and 60% is. Productive. And those are about right.
Mike: I think, what is it about half of the country does not pay
Sal: taxes, right? So theoretically the 60% can continue to vote themselves more stuff from the other 40%.
So I, I get where you’re coming
Mike: from and does it make sense? Take somebody who is a chronically unemployed drug abuser, does it make sense that person has the same voting power as a business owner who employs 500 people, generates millions of dollars of taxes per year and has a family of five, Does it make sense that you have people who literally don’t even know what is good for themselves, to have a meaningful say in what happens in the country?
Does that make sense? Fundamentally?
Sal: I’ll tell you why I think it makes sense because you also wanna do is you also don’t wanna create a system that allows for the people who have money and influence to have even more power through the legislative profit.
Mike: But That’s a straw man. That’s a straw man.
Okay. Let’s just say that, and I don’t know if this would make sense. I’m not saying I’m completely sold on this idea, it’s a thought experiment. But let’s say that to be eligible to vote, you have to have paid taxes. I don’t care how much, if you paid a dollar, $1 from, you went to the irs, you paid taxes.
You have to have paid taxes in three of the last five
Sal: years, for example. Yeah, I could definitely see that argument. That makes a little bit of sense. Again, luckily our government really is democratic in how we elect our officials. And I think if we stuck to that and we didn’t allow.
If we’d stuck to the Constitution, allowed our liberties be protected, it would be a big buffer. Sticking to the Constitution
Mike: would be more extreme than what I’m talking about.
Sal: I what I mean by that is I think we would be buffered by that kind of majority rule that you’re talking about. Back to the age thing, here’s why I think 18 year old, or a 17 year old, they may be able to make some decisions for themselves.
But when you’re voting, you start to make decisions for other people. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a good idea.
Mike: Let’s face it, your average 18 year old is lost at sea to put it nicely. And we’ve all been there. So any 18 year old’s listening, I’m sorry to say, but you might think you have it all figured out.
You do not. You don’t.
Sal: It is true. And wisdom comes from experience plus knowledge. And 18 year old, 17 year olds might have a lot of knowledge, especially nowadays with access to the internet. They have more knowledge at their fingertips than any human ever did in all of human history. But that doesn’t make them wise.
And you can see people’s voting preferences change radically when they move out and they get a job or start a business and have their own family, all of a sudden they start to vote differently. It is very different. When you’re living at mom and Dad’s house, you don’t have a lot of responsibility.
It’s very easy to vote yourself free stuff at the expense of other people and not realize or just vote
Mike: for feel good things. You don’t really look into it too much. That just, that seems really progressive and good, whatever, vote for it.
Sal: Here’s what the evidence shows. Mike America has one of the lowest voter turnout rates of almost any, I believe, or any Western nation.
Okay? So we have a very low turnout rate. The person that you described, the ex-felon, drug addict, very unlikely to vote for the most part. People that get out and vote tend to be people who pay attention a little bit more and care and take the time. And that’s okay. I’m okay with those barriers because if we made voting, for example, as easy as clicking a button on the internet, I think we’d be screwed.
And I used
Mike: to either write in Ron Paul or not vote. And so I understand I have sympathy for when, I mean I couldn’t get behind the Libertarian party ever in any serious way. But when I was younger, when I was 21 or 22, I remember arguing with some of my parents, rock ribbed Republican friends who are trying to explain to me why I need to vote for W over Kerry.
And my response was, you’re dumb. These guys are members of the same secret society, the Skull and bones in Yale. You really think you’re getting anything different between the two of them. The joke is on you. The system is rigged. You are voting for the same people who are pulling the strings behind the scenes, and ultimately it comes down to the money.
He who controls the nation’s currency doesn’t have to care about he who makes the country’s laws. But so I remember, I, I had these arguments with people and it really, it usually just fizzled out because they didn’t have much in the way of rebuttals other than it’s the lesser of two evils.
And I think that’s stupid. And so
Sal: what government can do is government can get in your way, but they really can’t help you a whole lot aside from. The cronyism that sometimes we see where big business will partner up with government and get subsidies and special deals. Or where I live in Northern
Mike: Virginia, there are so many people here who suck off the
So you know, something like that. There’s a belief, this misunderstanding that who we vote for makes such a big difference. It makes such a huge difference. It’s the most important thing we could possibly do. And it pales in comparison. It literally pales in comparison to the daily decisions you make with the market.
Every time you give a dollar, every time you buy something or put your attention, Look, I’ll give you a great example. Okay, let’s use the NBA for example. The NBA went hard politically this season. They went hard. Yeah, I saw, We
Mike: had a company retreat where I got together, like our core group of guys, actually there, it was only guys on this trip.
There was supposed to be one woman that was gonna join us, but she couldn’t. And I don’t watch sports. And so they had one of the games on and I was like, What is this? There’s Black Lives Matter everywhere. And their
Sal: jerseys where, yeah, they went really hard. And I’m not arguing for or against their position.
That’s totally up to them. But they did, They went really hard. And what I said on my podcast was, the market will decide if this was a good decision. The results are in their viewership, tanked. It was the worst, I think, ratings that they’ve, Yeah, I
Mike: saw. It was like down
Sal: 66% right? And the NBA made a statement and they said, Next season we’re not doing this anymore.
Mike: really, I would think that they would just double or triple down and say, It’s all of you racists. And
Sal: no, they are a market based company. They need viewers, they need money, otherwise they don’t exist. And so they’re gonna change because the market has spoken. Now with government, good luck. It’s good luck getting them to move the way you want them to move.
And again, they don’t have as much power over your daily life like the market does. And so the best thing to do is inform yourself and if you vote, Vote for government that has less to do with your life, that has less influence over your day to day life. That way you have more control over it. And this is the thing that I try to encourage people.
I say, Look, nobody has more power over your life than you do. Nobody can dictate the direction you’re gonna go and how wealthy you are. Success of you are like you like if you are a hardworking, honest person, that’s way more powerful in impacting your life than who is the president of the United States or who is your congressperson.
Mike: and I was gonna make that point is you can also work on yourself and you can make yourself more, if we’re talking about really the economic side of life, make yourself more commercially viable and be able to earn more money, which then of course you can parlay into a better life. Cuz ultimately money buys you freedom to live the way you wanna live.
Sal: Absolutely. And again, if you look back like the values of Liberty really were what the founders wanted to protect at all costs against democratic tyranny. That’s literally how it was designed. They were far more concerned with liberty than they were democracy. In fact, if you look at history, you hear them talking all the time about how do we protect.
Against tyranny of the majority. And so that’s the way they constructed government. Now it’s a lot more big, the government now is much larger. It’s definitely in our lives more than it was back then. It has more influence, but still it doesn’t have a huge influence over your day to day. And you look, this is why I always will vote for the government, the politicians that are less likely to regulate the market.
I do believe that there should be some regulations. Again, I’m not an anarchist, but I think there’s way too many regulations in the market. I think less is better and allows us to grow, innovate, invest our own capital, risk our own capital to build things and make things, Put some skin in the game and to change things.
Exactly. And this message of vote or die, you have to vote. It’s your responsibility to vote. It’s a terrible message. It’s terrible. I think there’s nothing
Mike: wrong. I would respect somebody if I asked them, Did you vote? And they said no, because I just don’t know enough about it and it’s not enough of a priority for me to educate myself for these reasons.
Now that last thing would be something maybe I’d be more interested in talking about, but I would respect somebody who says, No, I don’t vote because I don’t understand what’s going on and I don’t trust either side. I know that both. In the game of lying for votes, . And so that’s why I don’t vote. I have a friend who does is like that.
So he’s very successful in business, makes a lot of money, high net worth. He votes for whoever he thinks is going to lower taxes and the reason why now some people will be like, Oh my god, typical fat cat. Ridiculous. His reason for that is what I just explained, where he’s if we get down to the ideologies and the nitty gritty details, I don’t know enough to know really where I align.
And he works a lot and he spends time with his family and he just doesn’t want to go into it that much. But he is open. Hey, I employ three, 400 people and I pay a lot of taxes as it is. He does what he can do legally to reduce his taxes, but he doesn’t do anything that I know of that is illegal.
And he goes, It’s in my self-interest one. So at least I know that. I know that if taxes go down, that’s going to benefit me and it’s gonna benefit my companies. Cuz, and I know firsthand, I know the internals of this guy is like under the hood of his finances. He reinvests a lot of money in his businesses actually to reduce his taxes.
Like his quote unquote problem is he has tens of millions of dollars of profit a year in his businesses and he doesn’t need that for himself. He’s not a very extravagant person. And so he is hey, if I can give less of that to the government, I can put more of it back into my businesses. I can hire more people, I can create new businesses.
He, every few years he creates something new. And I understand that position,
Sal: right? I would say look, because the question then is someone listening might be like, Okay, how do I educate myself? What’s the best. Thing that I can do so I can become more informed. I talked about learning about economics, that series I talked about on YouTube.
Great way to start. Here’s a second thing you could do. Look at the results of policies and also look at the actions of politicians. Never listen to their words. Their words mean literally nothing. Politicians are excellent at promises, and they speak according to what their researchers tell ’em to say.
That’s gonna get more boats. Yeah. They’re the wind
Mike: vein. Wherever it’s blowing, they’re like, Oh, we’re going over there now.
Sal: Okay, so this happened to me, right? I remember in 2008 when Barack Obama. Was running his president in very charismatic, eloquent speaker. He was as a senator, he was anti-war. He spoke against the Patriot Act.
He was against the N D aa, both of which I was opposed to like the Patriot Act for example, said that government could, Yeah. Remember he was
Mike: promising the most transparent administration
Sal: ever. Yeah. And government could spy on me without any warrant, which I thought was terrifying. A lot of people had no idea what that meant.
I was like, this is scary.
Mike: But Sal, if you have nothing to hide, why do you
Sal: care? Yeah. Yeah. It’s dumb. Different discussion. , give the people who have the power to legislate and throw you in a cage or legally kill you, the power to spy on you. Gee, I wonder what could possibly ever go wrong? But anyway, good thing governments
Mike: never go tyrannical.
Good thing. It always just
Sal: goes the only thing that ever goes tyrannical. But yeah, so Obama was against a lot of this stuff and he spoke so eloquently and I was like, This is awesome. And I voted for him and then I looked at his actions. Okay. Obama in office bombed more countries than Bush did. He was more pro-war than Bush was.
He opposed the Patriot Act and NDAA in words, but he signed them and extended them and actually made them more powerful. As a president, he was bush on steroids. His words were one thing, his actions were another thing, a lot of people don’t realize this, but Obama brought the National Garden to break up riots that were happening in other parts of the country.
But while he spoke, people thought, Oh, he’s. So pro peace and he, so whatever. So to me, I always try to look at the actions and I think that’s what people should do. So for example, I’ll give you a great example. You look at like Biden, who is running on the, I’m pro equality, I’m, it’s really just, I’m not Trump.
This is a great example. Okay? So Biden is about, oh, there’s systemic injustice. He said, he didn’t use the word systemic races, racism. He said systemic injustice in our policing, in our justice system. His bill in 1994, his crime bill, he’s the guy by the way, he’s been in office for 50 something years. He’s been in office for decades.
His bill imprisoned, more minorities than any other bill think we’ve ever passed. These are his actions. These are the things that he actually did. Now I’m not, saying this because I’m necessarily pro-Trump. I have my own problems and issues with Trump as well. I’m definitely more anti bitt than I am anti-Trump based off of actions.
So if you want to educate yourself, don’t listen to anything they have to say. Look at the actual. Actions. Okay, so Trump, let’s look at actions in foreign affairs, for example. Here’s something that’ll piss people off. Again, I’m not a pro-Trump person. I tend to vote libertarian, although these days, I guess you could call me a conservative and it has nothing to do with my positions changing.
It has everything to do with the fact that the modern left went way far left. So all of a sudden now I’m, a conservative, but my positions have been the same for the last, I don’t know, 10 years or so, or longer. Foreign affairs Trump. This is true. Now this is his actions. Forget his words. I know what Trump’s rhetoric sounds like.
He can definitely sound like a tyrant. Then he just sounds like a carnival broker. He does, and he’s not likable to a lot of people. I get that. But look at his actions. Okay? He’s more, This is true. He’s more pro peace and anti-war than the last, I don’t know, five presidents that we’ve had, or maybe more.
He’s the first president in decade in, I don’t know how many presidents. It’s been a lot. A lot of ’em. I think it’s four or five. The last four or five presidents, he’s the first president in a decent chain of presidents that did not start another conflict overseas. People don’t know that. Like Obama, Bush, Reagan, they all started international conflicts in other places, right?
Trump started zero. You start, so that’s great. He’s also signing peace trees. He got North Korea to talk and it, that’s counter to what the media says. It’s counter to even the way he. But those are his actions. Here’s something now. Now just to app please the other side, cuz that people are gonna think I’m super diehard Trump supporter or fan.
You’re a white supremacist. We have established that. So here I’ll go against now some of his stuff, just so people can believe me that I’m not like super pro-Trump. He talks about being pro-free market in some ways. He’s cut regulations. I like that. He’s cut some taxes. Okay, I like that.
But he’s also enacted more tariffs in taxes, tariffs, or taxes than I think the last four presidents. That is a anti-free market that’s just taxing American consumers in order to force us to either buy more American products because now they’re cheaper due to, which many people are happy to
Mike: do. There’s survey data out there.
Many people are bullshit. I’m just referring to survey data that where people say that they’re willing to pay not a huge premium, but a slight premium for something made in the United States. And I can also speak to my experience with Legion that made in the usa We call that out on purpose because many people who do care about that
Sal: actually, yes, but it’s not nearly okay.
It’s, this is why it’s bullshit, Mike. It’s not nearly the cost that we’re spending right now on tariffs. If people really wanted to just buy American and were willing to spend as much money as it’s cost us and tariffs, then they would’ve just made that choice in the market. They would’ve just bought. No.
Mike: People aren’t that logical. The allure of the cheap Chinese goods is, it’s too strong for many people to a, as you were talking about, vote with their dollars and people, I don’t know if you’ve had many discussions with people regarding finances or have seen how many people manage their finances, but it is utter chaos often.
Sal: Okay, that’s fine. But I always believe people spend their money better than other people can tell them how to spend their money for the most part. Especially when it’s centralized. Cuz let me put it this way. If Trump said this, instead of passing tariffs, if he said, we’re gonna have a new income tax, or we’re gonna increase your income taxes and the extra money is gonna go to American producers, I bet you people would’ve not voted for that.
They wouldn’t wanna pay an extra tax that way. But if we call it a tariff and we make it look like we’re punishing China, everybody’s supportive of it. But the reality is they’re not because the market reflected
Mike: that. Can’t you say though, you’re also creating a market incentive to produce more things now in America because the prices are higher or people could just buy things that aren’t being imported
Sal: from China.
Yeah, but that’s not a good market. That’s a false market signal. That’s not one that. Productivity or efficiency, that’s one that reflects a law. But
Mike: then you’re saying we should just reward China with everything. We should buy a trillion dollars a year of Chinese junk, which is made by literal slaves who are paid nothing
How are we supposed to compete with that? You laugh, but that is true. You
Sal: know what though? Here’s the deal. Okay? Here’s the deal. As societies advance and become more wealthy, you require more skills to be viable on the market and you other countries that are haven’t caught up yet, do the other jobs.
Trust me, in 50 years, if China is still a country, which that’s, we can argue as to whether or not they’ll survive 50 years because of how centrally planned they are. But let’s just pretend that they were a free market or capitalistic country in 50 years, China is gonna look very different and maybe we’d be sending manufacturing jobs to, I don’t.
Another country, or we’d have to do it ourselves now because everybody has moved up now. So that’s the point. The point is, but
Mike: China is not, they’re not operating on free market principles. They have, just look at their situation with Uighurs, for example, who are, for example, some of these slave laborers that are producing these goods.
They could maintain that system indefinitely. They can’t, could they really? I
Sal: think so has any communist country, but they’re
Mike: not purely communists though. They’ve allowed enough capitalism and they’ve also had a lot of support in the way of international financiers and people who are the real power brokers in the world.
And there definitely is a strategic initiative to shift economic hegemony and then political hegemony east, and ultimately to have China become a global superpower. But that aside, of course, I mean you look to history, look at how Egypt, how ancient Egypt, how they ran their government, that society was basically uninterrupted.
That civilization flourished for thousands of years. And they had slaves and they had kings
Sal: who said they were gods, and yes, but they were never competing against a free and open market society, which now dominates. And here’s the thing. Okay. You always have to ask compared to what? Okay. Okay. So yes, China, there’s communist elements, there’s things that they do that we might not like.
What’s the alternative? Look, there’s a reason why a nuclear superpower like China, Poses far less of a threat to America and to the world than this Soviet Union did. And the reason for that is because they trade with the world. It’s the greatest peacekeeper that’s ever existed. The Soviet Union in America almost went to war, nuclear war and destroyed everything several times.
That is far less likely to happen with China because we trade with them and because they trade with the rest of the world, we’re interconnected. This is not a bad thing. Now, as far as their slave labor or factories, that would never pass our standards. You know about the suicide
Mike: nets and stuff.
It’s real, it’s bad.
Sal: Sure. But you have to ask the question compared to what? This is a good example. I’m glad you brought that up. Look, it’s like when we go into other countries who, and we say, Oh, this is terrible that children are working in these factories. We’re gonna help you guys out. We’re gonna make things better.
And then we work with their government to ban child labor. And so we think, Yay, we did a fantastic job. You know what the result of that is in those countries? Children, prostitutes, and children working in the black markets in the streets because the altern. What’s far worse, and here’s what ends up happening.
When you have markets, we can’t compare other undeveloped markets to America’s far more developed markets. We can’t compare the standards, but I can guarantee you this, China’s factories and how bad they look as long as they continue to exist. And maybe if they go more free market, whatever, that’s a different conversation.
If their continue exists, you think in 50 years it’s gonna look like that. Of course not. In fact, China has started outsourcing their manufacturing to other countries because it’s beneficial to them and because their standards of living have increased. So you always ask and compared to what? And nothing is perfect, absolutely nothing is perfect.
But if we trade openly with other countries, A, it guarantees safety and peace more than anything in the world. In fact, historically, tariff wars have led to war, I think eight outta 10 times or something ridiculous like that. They tend to. To war. Open trade is perfectly fine. If China makes products that we like and we save money, it’s better for us too.
It’s not just better for them, it’s also better for us. So that part of Trump’s rhetoric about being this pro free market kind of guy, he’s not, he’s that’s pro nationalism, That’s pro protecting America. But in reality we’re not. We’re just paying more money without realizing it because it sounds good. And I wanted to make that point so people don’t think I’m just super, pro-Trump.
So that’s the point I wanted to make.
Mike: And quickly, I understand. I wasn’t even speaking relativistically. I was speaking in absolute terms because I think absolutely that people should not be enslaved in camps and made to make trinkets. I think, I don’t care relative to anything I say that’s bad , I say it’s bad when foxcon factories have suicide nets and people would rather try to kill themselves and they were actually killing themselves.
Rather than sit in their chair and make iPhones for another 15 hour workday when they’re sleeping under their desk. That’s just unnecessary. And that comes back to my critiques of the robber Barrons. It was egregious. Their exploitation of people was egregious and it was grotesque it was pure evil.
It was completely unnecessary. Mike,
Sal: I agree with you. I don’t like that either. I think that’s also terrible. But again, we have to say, Compared to what? There is nothing that has ever lifted more people out of poverty, that has fed more people, housed. More people clothe, more people like free and open markets.
It doesn’t happen of course overnight, but look, it’s what took Hong Kong, which was a third world country, and in 40 years became a superpower, economic superpower. It was free markets. So we can definitely look at the conditions and say, That’s terrible. Passing law isn’t gonna fix it, though. If anything, that’ll cause worse consequences.
If anything, now you’ve eliminated an option for poor people to try to better their lives and better the lives and the opportunities for their children. If anything, you open up markets and you allow them to progress and grow and become more efficient. And what ends up happening is quality of life increases.
Like my grandfather, his working conditions were terrible in the in, when he came to this country, when he first came to the country. Nowadays those working conditions don’t even exist for most people. Why? Yeah, because we’ve progressed. But if we had passed a law back then that said, Hey, this job is too hard, it’s backbreaking.
These jobs are illegal. What would’ve been my grandfather’s. What would he have done? Begged on the streets?
Mike: Some people, like you’ve said, some people would say no, the government should just
Sal: give him ubi. And where does the government get money? The government doesn’t create wealth. Take it from the rich people.
Mike: it. Who cares? Yes.
Sal: That’s what people say. And where to rich people get money? This, I swear. This is why Mike, I tell people understanding here’s a good channel on YouTube, Learn Liberty is a very good channel and it tackles a lot of these difficult, like they’ll talk about price gouging laws, they’ll talk about sweat shops.
What you need to ask is, Whether or not this is good or bad in my context In my living in California in the year 2020 context. But rather, what is the alternative? What is a realistic alternative? And what are the consequences of feel good policies?
Mike: And that’s an important point because it’s easy to criticize.
It’s very hard to solve. So what is the alternative? You’re saying you don’t like this. What are you proposing? And I’ve had this discussion with, I guess mostly left-leaning people and it hasn’t really gone anywhere. And in the instances I’m thinking of where, Sure, and I’d even agree with some of their criticisms of how our society is functioning and how our economy is functioning.
But then when it comes down to, all right what do we do about it? Like specifically policies explain to me how do we fix these things? And it’s usually just the blank stare, The fluoride stare is all I get.
Sal: the fluoride. Yeah. And again, look at the actual results of whatever policy you’re advocating for.
It’s easy to look at poverty or challenges and say, We should make that illegal, right? Let’s pass a law, or let’s just give them money that’ll fix a lot of the problems. And oftentimes that’s not the case. And sometimes making things illegal just creates black markets that make things far worse.
Sometimes making things illegal now makes the alternative, which is. The only option that people have, it can skew the market. I’ll give you an example of skewing the market. Now we have laws in most states that make it illegal to price gouge. Meaning let’s say there’s an earthquake here in California, we have earthquakes here.
People go, they need buy water. Let’s say their water, their pipes aren’t working or whatever. And if I’m a grocery store with water, I can’t charge two or three times as much for my water because that’s considered price gouging, right? It’s like I’m taking advantage of these needy people, but what are the unintended consequences of that?
And that’s what people never ask, cuz it’s a feel good policy, right? Makes it feels good. It feels good for me to say, Hey, grocery store owner, you’re an asshole for charging $10 for two bottles of water. Yeah. Now you can’t ha. Now you can’t. Yeah, Here’s a law that says you can’t do that and that feels good, but here’s what ends up happening.
You end up getting shortages. You end up going to the grocery store now and there’s no water. Because remember the great toilet paper shortages 2020, right? So what they should have done is allowed toilet paper prices to reflect the demand. And I guarantee we would’ve had no shortages. I guarantee people who really needed toilet paper badly would’ve spent 10 bucks on a couple rolls instead of buying 5,000 rolls and storing ’em in the garage.
But not only that, but you skew the market signals because if there’s a market, let’s say the San Jose market gets hit with an earthquake and everybody wants to buy water, we allow the price of water to reflect the demand. Now instead of a bottle of water costing a dollar, it costs $5 because so many.
Want water. Now producers of water around the country see the demand and guess what they do? And markets do this better than anybody. They get water there. Yeah. Overnight
Mike: you have ambitious and resourceful people figuring out how to meet the demand. Exactly. And then of course you naturally
Sal: find equilibrium.
That’s why it’s important to look at the actual results and not just the feel good. Cuz price dodging laws cause shortages. They cause more laws that say, you’re only allowed two rolls of toilet paper. You only allowed one pack of water. And they reduced the incentive for entrepreneurs and businesses and companies that already have well developed means and ways of delivering their products and services.
You disincentivize them from doing those kinds of things and you actually, and many times create more problems than you’re trying to solve. So it’s very important that we look at the consequences and we ask compared to what? And what are the alternatives? What ends up happening? Prostitution is another great example.
Oh, we shouldn’t allow people to sell their bodies for sex. The result of that is a thriving black market that spreads disease. And because it’s a black market now, the only way they can enforce on crime, Yeah. They can enforce their, someone doesn’t pay them, is with violence and pimps. And that fuels a large, dangerous black market.
What if we could regulate. Put it to corner of the city, require them to have testing and now they can go to court. If people don’t pay them, you don’t have to. That would
Mike: require government though you said the dirty word
Sal: regulate. You are absolutely right, but here’s the deal. It’s less government. More government is a regulation that says completely legal.
Less government says will allow it, here’s some regulations. So that’s what I mean, although I
Mike: don’t know about that because you still are going to need an enforcement arm or the regulations mean nothing. If people can ffl them without consequence, they’re
Sal: going to, We already have courts and if it’s a legal market, and let’s say some John doesn’t pay his hooker the money, rather than having her pimp find the guy and beat the shed, take him to civil court.
You take him to court. And by the way, I’m not pro prostitution, I think that’s a immoral thing. I think it’s bad for society. But the reality, again, the reality is what are the consequences? And as compared to what? And if you ask those questions and you look at the actions of politicians and not the words, and you understand economics, you can vote and you’ll vote in a very intelligent way.
But if you don’t do those things, you are literally floating in the wind. And every election season, when they spend 5 billion on pissing you off or scaring the shit outta you, those are the two things that they do. By the way. They scare the shit outta you or piss you off. You end up doing exactly what they want.
And you know what that results in, Mike, this is a fact by the way, which I looked this up earlier, cuz I knew we were gonna do this podcast. 95% of incumbents in Congress typical. Retain office, meaning if you’re already in Congress, you have basically a 90 plus percent chance of winning the next election around.
That’s a higher proportion than the Supreme Soviets of the defunct USSR did. And it’s a lower turnover rate than Britain’s Hereditary House of Lords where people only lose their seats. By dying and the Senate
Mike: is gonna be no better in that regard. In fact, it’s more, really what we’re talking about here is profitable in terms of money and power.
It’s even more beneficial to get into the Senate because you’re not up for reelection as often.
Sal: But this is the result of people not really informing themselves and then just voting. And you have name recognition. Oh, Nancy Pelosi, let’s put her back end. Or Yeah. Diane Einstein and you could have a super
Mike: low voter turnout too.
A lot of people don’t understand that. You only need, Oh, there was an example. I believe it was in the election of the LA Count County Mayor, I believe, where you have millions of people in LA County, and I’m gonna probably get the number wrong so I won’t cite it, but it was a shockingly low percentage of people who actually turned out to vote.
You don’t. You have a very politically disengaged, and you had mentioned this, we know that countrywide, what is it about half of the country doesn’t vote, I think, right? Yeah. Maybe even more. Yeah, maybe even more. But you have that in the extreme in many areas where take congressmen and senators and congresswoman and they don’t need to actually get that many votes to win their elections because there just aren’t that many people who pay attention.
Sal: No. And so this is, again, it’s a system that, we can really make work. First off, if a result, if we understand that the market has way more power over our daily lives than government does, that’s number one. Number two, look at actions. Ignore what they say cuz what they say is gonna, always gonna either scare you or sound good or whatever, than the full of shit.
Their actions almost never match their rhetoric. So look at their actions and then look at the results of policies and ask yourself the follow. Compared to what? Or what is the alternative that ends up happening as a result of either passing or not passing this particular policy. That’s the only fair comparison.
You cannot use intentions and if something feels good, because that gets you nowhere, it absolutely gets you nowhere. It’d be like a politician saying, Elect me and I’ll give everybody $10,000. And it’s like without understanding economics or what that would do, what that means or where do they get the money and what?
What’s going on. We’re close
Mike: to that.
Sal: We’re almost there. We’re touching on that. I know. I hear that all the time. I’ll use one more example, Mike, before we sign off here, but here’s one more good example, is this ubi right? Or this believing that every American should get at least a minimum amount of income guaranteed by the government, and it’s a.
You know what’s what? Like healthcare, it’s a right define, right of,
Mike: it’s like a thing that’s good that is given to you by the government. ,
Sal: no. There’s desirable things and undesirable things and rights are things that exist without anybody else having to provide anything for you. You don’t have a right to other people’s labor.
So I can’t have a right to healthcare because that would mean that I have a right to the doctor and I have a right to the nurse. It may be desirable, but rights are self-evident. They require nothing from anyone else. I have a right to speak. I have a right to protect myself, but I don’t have a right to a gun.
In other words, you can’t just give me a gun. I have to buy it myself. I have a right to be able to speak, but I don’t have a right to a computer where I can speak it out. I have to buy that myself. So now talking about universal basic income, now I know that I’m libertarian ish. I’m not belong to the libertarian party.
I don’t always vote for their politicians, cuz sometimes I think they’re crazy and ridiculous. Just like the other parties. So
Mike: you don’t like kitty porn, but you’re okay with it existing. God, you
Sal: always go there. I definitely think that I support free markets. I also support free bodies and free minds.
So socially liberal, fiscally conservative, right? So this is typically where I fall. So for the most part, if I look at government taxing and giving to other people, I don’t typically support that very much because I think the free market would do a better job if we just got out of the way and got rid of barriers to enter the market and all that stuff.
But it exists and I understand now we have people that depend on it. And so here’s why I would. Universal basic income. I would support something like that if we eliminated the massive, behemoth bureaucracy that exists currently to minister. Yes.
Mike: 60 to 70% of our government spending. A lot of people think they would think that’s military.
No. Military is like in the twenties, 60 to 70% is the
Sal: welfare state. Yes. So if we, and by the way, for every dollar that goes to welfare, half of it, if not more, goes to paying the bureau. That exists to organize it and administer it. So it’s like more than half your money’s get not even going to the people.
It’s like a
Mike: really corrupt and poorly
Sal: run charity. Yeah. So if we got rid of all the bureaucracy, there’s no more welfare office, there’s no more people administering, and managing this. Yeah. You just get your check. You just get rid of all of it. And now give every American, I don’t know, Let’s say the minimum is $1,200.
That would save us a ton of money. I believe that enough people who had that money would take that money and potentially turn it into something better. And I think people know what to do with their money more so generally, Not always, but generally more so better than government. So now you got the single mom, she takes her $1,200 instead of all this other, benefits and she says, You know what, I’m gonna start a business with this, or I’m gonna pay for education for my child, or I need a new AC unit, or I need a new refrigerator.
I need new tires for my car. That’s where I would support that because as compared to the current system, would save us a shit ton of money. I strongly believe that a larger percentage that’s currently. We’re seeing now would do better for themselves if they just had cash rather than us. And what about a universal basic
Mike: work program?
There was after World War ii I forget the acronym, I believe it was ccc. What it was a government funded program to give, if I remember correctly, soldiers coming back from the war work so they could find careers essentially to help them ease back into the economy and the society.
And so you had a bunch of people who were working on infrastructure projects. What about something like that? Imagine if we had millions of people working on our infrastructure. Imagine what that would do in 10 years. And they got paid for it and they got paid a market rate for it. Not like prison labor
Sal: or something.
Yeah, that sounds good. But the problem with that, it’s like the government says, Oh, we’re employing, 10,000 people and they’re just digging holes and filling ’em back up and now they’re working and we’re giving ’em money. It
Mike: can be done. To use a funny example, that is one of the.
Great things that Hitler did for Germany. Oh gosh. Is when he got into power. It’s a fact. I’m not saying he was a great guy. No, he was a terrible guy. He was a psychopath. But one of the smart things that whoever came up with it, maybe it wasn’t him, but one of the smart things his government did was a massive public works project.
Everybody knows about the auto bond, but there was a lot more, and this is mainstream. Historians credit a lot of the economic recovery to that alone because he got the people productive and he then used their productivity to further enhance the, Now of course it was with war making in mind, and that’s very bad.
But he was able to harness that and create a more industrialized and efficient economy. It wasn’t just, okay, let’s let’s build random statues and things. It was, let’s build roads and let’s make this infrastructure more conducive to a
Sal: functioning nation. Yeah. But these days, when you look at infrastructure spending by government, it doesn’t give us nearly the return that’s invested.
Education tends to give us a better return, but even. Isn’t phenomenal But
Mike: you’re gonna educate a 40 year old person who has no skills
Sal: and no education. Maybe job training or maybe you pay a company to,
Mike: or, but they would learn how to build things and make things like
Sal: they could learn. But again, I would rather go with what the market is telling me that is valuable rather than what government says is valuable.
But here’s my alternative. My alternative would be to dramatically lower the barriers to enter the market. Make it easier. I’ll give you a good example. There was a story of a woman who started a hair braiding business. I think it was in New York City if I’m not mistaken. And she was actually doing pretty well and she got shut down because she didn’t meet the regulations.
That business that did anything with hair had to meet. Now the regulations were, you had to have, I think five sinks, two bathrooms. You had to have this many registered people cutting hair, even though all she was doing. Hair braiding. So there’s like these crazy regulations to start a simple business. Get rid of that, get rid of those burials, get rid of permits, allow people to start businesses.
If people do a good job, they’ll succeed. If they don’t. There’s still courts where if people rip you off, you could sue them, get lower. Those eliminate minimum wage laws so people could start businesses and employ people who maybe don’t have any skills. So they’ll pay ’em less money and really watch what happened.
Child labor, what are your thoughts on that? No. You know what’s funny about child labor, What’s funny about that is child labor.
Mike: It sounds, again, I understand that’s a loaded term and that’s carefully chosen. Just like how conspiracy theory has been weaponized. Like child, oh, child
And then as if that would happen in this country. By the way, there’s other market pressures. If an American company was employing children to make tennis shoes in America, they probably wouldn’t succeed very well. As soon as people, Are you kidding me? With
Mike: the power of the Illuminati rising, their facilities would be burned to the ground.
Sal: Yeah. And I also don’t think that would be very productive. Nowadays, things are far more advanced. We have technology and automation, and I do think that, when children work in other countries, it’s because they don’t have better alternatives. They don’t have money, They starve. That’s the alternative.
And again, I’m a first generation American. My family are poor Sicilian immigrants. They worked as children because the alternative was, So that wouldn’t happen in this country, but I, yes, lower the barriers to enter the market, eliminate minimum wages, get rid of all these permits and ridiculous things that people have to, hoops they have to jump through and costs they have to do to start their own businesses.
Let people start their businesses, give them money, get rid of the bureaucracy for welfare, and then watch what happens. I think that would be a better alternative to this monster bureaucratic system that we have that wastes, I don’t know, 50 cents for every dollar that we spend, and also results in no dignity.
Like when you’re getting money for nothing, you don’t feel like you are worth very much. People need dignity. They need to feel like they’re earning what the it
Mike: is though. You still have that fundamental problem. It is degrading to just wait for your check from the government and to essentially do nothing with the rest of the,
What does that do to people psychologically, it just, it doesn’t work very well.
And again, that’s different than what you would think from, someone who’s, like I said, who has more libertarian views. But again, I ask myself as compared to what and what are the gonna be the pragmatic actual effects, not just how good does this policy feel to pass some takeaways if you’re listening right.
Watch Free to Choose on YouTube. Great series on economics. Very easy to understand. It’s actually quite entertaining. It’s really fun. Very relevant today. Pay attention to politicians’ actions. Look at what they vote for. Look at bills that they pass. Don’t listen to their words, and then always ask yourself as compared to what and what are the unintended consequences?
I think if you just do those things right there, I think that your vote will be far better informed. Then, what tip, what’s happening nowadays, which is the social media, clips and politicians ads, and oh, that guy sounds really good, or that girl sounds really good, I think I’ll vote for them.
And that ends up putting us, where we’re at right now. And I’ll
Mike: add, I guess the takeaways of don’t vote, buy a lot of stuff and be like China, right? That’s what
Sal: I got from this whole discussion. . Oh man.
Mike: No. I’ll make one valuable edition is ironically, I have a book on the Bill of Rights that I published under a pen name because I thought it’d be a bit random as I just published fitness stuff under my name.
So it’s called the Know Your Bill of Rights book, and the pen name is Sean Patrick, which is two names in my family that I just grabbed. Didn’t put too much thought into it, honestly, but it’s pretty short and it’s straightforward and it will give you, dear listener, whoever is still with us, a kind of.
Crash course on the Bill of Rights and it’ll help you understand the words of them, but also the background of, especially the contentious ones, the Second Amendment. I spent a bit of time on that giving. I thought what was some vile historical context to the Second Amendment and what it was actually intended for.
It was not about hunting or even the militia per se. It was about, what we’ve been talking about this episode is about deterring tyranny as well as the First Amendment and there’s some comments on that and the history of the fourth and so forth. So the Know Your Bill of Rights book, and I actually am gonna be doing an update to it because ironically, that is now my number one best.
Oh my gosh. That’s a, In the United States that is. How random is that? I published that book years ago. I researched it and wrote it for fun just cuz it was something that I was interested in. And if I was gonna do the research, I was like, Yeah, I’ll put together a simple book. It was really the same mentality I had when I published Bigger Than Stronger is what is a simple short book that I wish somebody would’ve just given me back when I was, when I started paying attention to politics, which was after nine 11, I’ll write that.
I’m not going to put a ton of time into it. I’m not gonna read 42 books and try to write my own tone. I’m just gonna produce something clean and simple that stands most on common sense and understanding the meanings of words. And of course there was research in reading on the historical context and especially I was very interested in what the founders themselves had to say as opposed to later interpretations or embroider upon their words.
So know your bill writes a book. Sean Patrick, that’s
Sal: awesome. And I’ll do one esoteric comment here. I firmly believe that for mankind to have any chance at really achieving a society where we’re advanced and we’re getting along with each other. Valuing each other and human life and war
Mike: with aliens,
Sal: that’s what we need.
No. I think that our only chances of doing that is if we learn to work together voluntarily and markets do that. Markets are, I will only work for you if I think it’s in my best interest and you will only hire me or work with me if you believe it’s the best piece promoter we have ever. Is markets allow people to trade their labor, allow people to buy things and sell things without realizing it.
People from all walks of life, all religions, all races, different belief systems, they work together voluntarily. And I feel think that’s the only, I don’t say it’s a guarantee because again, we need to have moral, ethical people. That’s a whole nother podcast. But I think that’s the only way, cuz it can’t be forced.
You cannot. Through law and legislation, it’s not gonna really progress anybody. People have to learn to work together and free markets do that naturally.
Mike: It allows the conspiracy of good to flourish, so to speak. It. It provides the beautiful incentive for people to it. It aligns self-interest with greater interests.
I agree. Excellent. Fun is always, I think we get a lot of good feedback on this one as well. And if anybody still listening disagrees, I’d love to hear your thoughts, coherent thoughts as to what you disagree about. You can always email me Mike, at most for life.com. It’s the easiest way to reach me.
But thanks again for being willing to do this Sal. And I’ll mention mind pump of course in the intro, but for anybody who didn’t listen to the intro, of course Sal’s one of the co-hosts of the number one fitness podcast, I guess in the world. Certainly
Sal: in the United States. Yeah. Generally if it were in the world, in the university.
Mike: Yeah. Whatever. You jockey that position. . . That’s probably a fact actually. I like that. You could go with that. That’s good marketing.
Sal: I don’t know of any other podcasts in the universe that are that we
Mike: know of. Maybe that will be the first contact. Wouldn’t that be ironic is we somehow find an alien podcast?
Sal: the, No, I really enjoy these conversations with you, Mike, and as people heard in this podcast, you and I do not agree on everything, but, and this is something that I think is very important, especially nowaday. We debate, we discuss at the end of this. That’s fine. I know your intentions are good. I know you’re a good guy.
I value and respect you and I appreciate the fact that you’re open for debate and discussion. I feel I wish more people did this. I think this would solve a lot of our problems. And so I would love to see feedback. I wonder if people want us to go further on the stuff that we disagree on. I think that would be a lot of fun too.
Mike: That is generally something that people will mention with episodes between that, that we do. And I also do non fitness stuff with Pat Flynn and people do, from what I’ve seen, they’ll comment on that specifically that they like, that I will press back on some things that I don’t agree with or I don’t understand, or I don’t know enough about to just nod along.
And so I try to do that without being
Sal: obnoxious, yeah, no, it’s fun man. And I’ll tell you what, it tests me. It allows me to further sharpen my sword with my position and hey, worst case scenario, you change my mind, in which case I’m better off than I was before. So I enjoy it. I really do enjoy it, and I enjoy talking to you.
I think you’re one of the better people in the fitness space, and obviously a very intelligent guy. You definitely research and talk about things that you do a lot of research on. You’re definitely not somebody who comments on things that you don’t feel like you’ve done enough due diligence on.
So that’s for me. You and I don’t work together. I don’t work for you. That’s a true statement. I’ll tell that to your audio. Mike doesn’t comment unless he’s done a lot of research and due diligence doesn’t mean he is always right, but it does mean that he does go through and does the work.
It usually means his right, but not always. You heard that in his podcast, . The
Mike: checks. The checks in the mail, as always. Yeah. . I do slip sometimes, but to my credit, I will be quick to acknowledge that point of if I did quickly jump to a position on something and then I realize, wait a minute, do I really know what I’m talking about here?
I have no problem saying that I was wrong. And even if somebody’s being belligerent about it, it doesn’t bother me. If somebody makes a good point and shares good evidence or makes just a strong argument as to why I was wrong, and then I go why was I wrong? I didn’t look into it enough. I have no problem with that.
It’s not, I would say maybe pleasant, but I look at it as, okay, now I’m a little bit less wrong. I try to view it as motivation to be more right and to care, to take the time to inform myself if I am going to take a position on something, or at least to preface my position with. I don’t know enough about this to feel strongly.
And I think that is doing people a favor. And of course if I were to say that about everything, then people might wonder like, why am I listening to this guy if he doesn’t really know anything? So there are some things where I feel very strongly that, hey, I’ve looked into this a lot. I’ve tried to get the crowbar under beneath my position, and I can’t, and let me explain why.
But there are certainly things where, there are a couple of examples in this interview where I was like, eh, I don’t know if I agree, and here’s why I’d have to look into it. Minimum wage is a good example. Where of, again I understand your argument and it makes sense to me, but for me to repeat that to people, I would have to do some more research.
So I felt comfortable if I
Sal: were challenged, and I respect that tremendously. Thanks again, Sal.
Mike: Again I appreciate you. I appreciate our friendship. I appreciate these discussions and I appreciate that people, that these episodes do well, I appreciate that the market is telling us that we’re allowed to spend our time this way and we’re not just alienating our followers,
Sal: Yes. Yes. That’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. Look forward to the next one.
Mike: Thanks. All right. That’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from?
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And last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right, thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.