Debating Minimum Wage In SEATTLE and NEW YORK CITY

So, I debated on whether to add this to our (Chris L. and myself conversation, posted HERE) earlier conversation, but, I decided to post it separately. So, in the same conversation he finally took a jaunt over to my MINIMUM WAGE portion of my ECON 101 page. He still doesn’t know why the minimum wage was used during the Davis/Bacon Act days (a), why the apartheid unions in South Africa used it (b), and why unions here use it and which community it hurts the most (c) — but at least he a c t u a l l y went to my link… and got it all wrong – lol:

An even more insidious substitution effect of minimum wages can be seen from a few quotations. During South Africa’s apartheid era, racist unions, which would never accept a black member, were the major supporters of minimum wages for blacks. In 1925, the South African Economic and Wage Commission said, “The method would be to fix a minimum rate for an occupation or craft so high that no Native would be likely to be employed.” Gert Beetge, secretary of the racist Building Workers’ Union, complained, “There is no job reservation left in the building industry, and in the circumstances, I support the rate for the job (minimum wage) as the second-best way of protecting our white artisans.” “Equal pay for equal work” became the rallying slogan of the South African white labor movement. These laborers knew that if employers were forced to pay black workers the same wages as white workers, there’d be reduced incentive to hire blacks.

South Africans were not alone in their minimum wage conspiracy against blacks. After a bitter 1909 strike by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen in the U.S., an arbitration board decreed that blacks and whites were to be paid equal wages. Union members expressed their delight, saying, “If this course of action is followed by the company and the incentive for employing the Negro thus removed, the strike will not have been in vain.”

Our nation’s first minimum wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, had racist motivation. During its legislative debate, its congressional supporters made such statements as, “That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.” During hearings, American Federation of Labor President William Green complained, “Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.”

Today’s stated intentions behind the support of minimum wages are nothing like yesteryear’s. However, intentions are irrelevant. In the name of decency, we must examine the effects….

The white labor unions and other white supremacists lobbied for other regulations which, in effect, prohibited blacks from being hired. These groups demanded that the hiring of blacks and other nonwhites be subject to the same compulsory employer compensation and minimum wage requirements granted to white union members. The intent of such legislation, Williams contends, is obvious. Such labor laws took away the only bar-gaming chip available to the blacks and other non-whites—their willingness to work for a lower wage. Many whites recognized this. In 1925, for example, the report of the Mining Regulations Commission proposed a mandatory system of minimum wages per job “in order to rescue the European miner from the economic fetters which at present render him the easy victim of advancing native competition.”

Contrary to the view accepted by many on the political left, apartheid is not the result of white businessmen attempting to maximize profits by enslaving cheap black labor. It is instead a product of political privilege. Says Williams:

The mere existence of South Africa’s extensive racial regulatory laws is evidence enough that racial privilege is difficult through free market forces. Consider South Africa’s job reservation laws, which mandate that certain jobs be performed by whites only . . . . The presence of job reservation laws suggests that at least some employers would hire blacks in the “white jobs.” The fact that they would hire blacks to do white jobs neither requires nor suggests that these employers be necessarily any less white supremacist than anyone else. It does suggest that those employers who would hire blacks considered such a course of action to be an attractive alternative because blacks were willing to work for lower wages—“uncivilized wages”—than white workers. The business pursuit of profits—which caused employers to be less ardent supporters of the white supremacist doc-trine-has always been the enemy of white privilege. This is why South African white workers resorted to government.

“The whole ugly history of apartheid has been an attack on free markets and the rights of individuals, and a glorification of centralized government power,” Williams concludes. Only when South Africa’s people—black, white, or colored—“de-dare war against centralized government power” will there be genuine progress toward freedom. Walter Williams’ new book provides powerful intellectual ammunition for that war.

  • Matthew B. Kibbe, FEE

(Via AEI)

There is no inherent reason why low-skilled or high-risk employees are any less employable than high-skilled, low-risk employees. Someone who is five times as valuable to an employer is no more or less employable than someone who is one-fifth as valuable, when the pay differences reflect their differences in benefits to the employer.

This is more than a theoretical point. Historically, lower skill levels did not prevent black males from having labor force participation rates higher than that of white males for every US Census from 1890 through 1930. Since then, the general growth of wage-fixing arrangements: minimum wage laws, labor unions, civil service pay scales, etc. has reversed that and made more and more blacks unemployable despite their rising levels of education and skills: absolutely and relative to whites.

And here’s the “money quote”:

In short, no one is employable or unemployable absolutely, but only relative to a given pay scale.

And that highlights the essence of the economic logic that explains why the most vulnerable workers (low-skilled, uneducated, teenagers, etc.) are the group that is most harmed by minimum wage laws — those laws artificially raise the wages of low-skilled workers without increasing their productivity, and therefore significantly reduce their employability relative to higher-skilled workers.

For example, in the study from the team of researchers at the University of Washington on Seattle’s $15 an hour minimum wage, they reported (emphasis added):

Our preferred estimates suggest that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance caused hours worked by low-skilled workers (i.e., those earning under $19 per hour) to fall by 9.4% during the three quarters when the minimum wage was $13 per hour, resulting in a loss of 3.5 million hours worked per calendar quarterAlternative estimates show the number of low-wage jobs declined by 6.8%, which represents a loss of more than 5,000 jobs.

The work of least-paid workers might be performed more efficiently by more skilled and experienced workers commanding a substantially higher wage.

Bottom Line: Thomas Sowell’s comments illustrate an economic reality that is frequently overlooked: Workers compete against other workers (not employers) to find jobs and get the highest wages. Employers compete against other employers to find the best workers. In other words, low-skilled workers compete against high-skilled workers in the labor market. Low-skilled workers who would be employable at a low wage become unemployable at an artificially higher wage. And that explains the perverse cruelty of minimum wage laws: it inflicts the greatest harm on the very workers it is allegedly designed to help.

However, this is not the reason for this post. I merely wanted to show the hubris out there in stating propaganda (not intentionally, just in ignorance). Here is the portion that that I wanted to highlight and respond to. Here is the video so people can glean context:

So, here are the main points of the above:

  1. Minimum wage is still not $15.00 an hour
  2. It is $13.50 and in 2021 will be $13.69 (which he is right about, but we are talking about SEATTLE)
  3. [QUOTE] “Sean Giordano this is why I & everyone else should dismiss what ever you post. First minute & a half & anyone can prove she’s full of shit” [UNQUOTE]
  4. New York (remember, she said New York CITY) does not have $15.00 minimum wage, they are near $11.80
  5. California isn’t even over %15.00 an hour
  6. THEY ARE FULL OF SHIT!!

So my first response is to points #1 and #2

The Prager U video specifically mentions Seattle and New York City. This is key. I used two websites to find the current minimum wage in Seattle, Washington: MINIMUM-WAGE.ORG and SEATTLE GOVERNEMNT’S website. In the conversation I noted this many times, but granted, I wasn’t clear.

During the long discussion that followed a few paths, what I learned is that franchises are all included together as a large business. So if I were to franchise, say, The Brass Tap (bar/restaurant chain focuses mostly on its craft beer offerings), if the franchises nationwide have 501 employees, the tips earned do not lower the to $13.50. To make the point clearer I made a crude version:

A sad article of sorts was this one detailing the info:

Justices Reject Franchise Appeal Over Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage (May 2, 2016)

SEATTLE — The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage from franchise owners who say the law discriminates against them by treating them as large businesses.

Seattle was one of the first cities in the nation to adopt a law aiming for a $15 minimum wage, giving small businesses employing fewer than 500 people seven years to phase it in. Large employers must do so over three or four years, depending on whether they offer health insurance to their employees.

Five franchises and the International Franchise Association sued the city, saying the law treats Seattle’s 623 franchises like large businesses because they are part of multistate networks. But the franchises say they are small businesses and should have more time to phase in the higher wage.

[….]

“Seattle’s ordinance is blatantly discriminatory and affirmatively harms Seattle hard-working franchise small business owners every day since it has gone into effect,” Robert Cresanti said in a statement. “We are simply attempting to level the playing field for the 600 local franchise business owners employing 19,000 people in Seattle.”….

Remember, Seattle has a higher minimum wage than the rest of the state.

I likewise responded to points #4 thus

This comes from the NEW YORK CITY GOVERNMENTS website:

The minimum wage in New York City is $15.00 per hour. The New York State Department of Labor oversees wage regulations in New York State. Businesses employing people in New York State should be aware of wage requirements and regulations.

After December 31, 2019, all employees in New York City must be paid at least $15.00 per hour. …

#5 deals with California as a state

However, just like New York state/New York City and Washington state/Seattle, so to goes California. There are many cities in California that have differing minimum wage laws than the state. Here is just one example (click to enlarge):

So, there are a couple numbers not dealt with yet…

they are numbers #3 and #6

  • #3 [QUOTE] “Sean Giordano this is why I & everyone else should dismiss what ever you post. First minute & a half & anyone can prove she’s full of shit” [UNQUOTE]

If the opposite of Chris L’s premise is in fact shown, and if his position is “true” of me — that is: “why I & everyone else should dismiss what ever you post.” Why should I, or we, not dismiss whatever he says. I mean, he is full of shit (#6!!).

Later in the conversation discussion about the effects of minimum wage hurting restaurants, to which Chris posted the following:

I merely responded with

  • The hospitality group, which lobbies on behalf of the restaurant and hotel industry, concluded that Seattle was the hardest-hit city in Washington state, with 624 bars and bistros that have permanently shut down. (BLOG.RESTUARANT)  

So, if 29 opened up DESPITE minimum wage and covid… would the 624 be closed BECAUSE of the minimum wage and covid?

So the verdict?

  1. Minimum wage is still not $15.00 an hour
  2. It is $13.50 and in 2021 will be $13.69 (which he is right about, but we are talking about SEATTLE)
  3. [QUOTE] “Sean Giordano this is why I & everyone else should dismiss what ever you post. First minute & a half & anyone can prove she’s full of shit” [UNQUOTE]
  4. New York (remember, she said New York CITY) does not have $15.00 minimum wage, they are near $11.80
  5. California isn’t even over %15.00 an hour
  6. THEY ARE FULL OF SHIT!!

TAX THE RICH (Plus: CEO Pay vs. Worker Pay)

Updated (Originally posted in March 2014)

Debt Ramirez

(Pic has relevant link in it)

The first set of videos show the main point for quick and easy consumption. The rest is the larger case made that by taking or taxing the rich excessively ends up hurting the poor just as excessively, even more. Other topics related:

Enjoy.

Video Description:

  • The Left Keeps talking about the Gap between CEOs and Minimum Wage Employees…. I will analyze these salaries and break it down…. (about 10-mins):

Video description:

  • Is America really broke? Michael Moore (and others) tells us that there are oceans of cash being hoarded by the wealthy. But Iowahawk (iowahawk.typepad.com // Twitter) did a little addition, and armed with these statistics Bill and the ‘Hawk blow a hole in the “hoarding” lie big enough to fit a documentary filmmaker through (about 9-mins):

Video description:

  • Do the rich pay their fair share of taxes? It’s not a simple question. First of all, what do you mean by rich? And how much is fair? What are the rich, whoever they are, paying now? Is there any tax rate that would be unfair? UCLA Professor of Economics, Lee Ohanian, has some fascinating and unexpected answers (about 5-mins):


A Case Study


Big corporations WANT a medical device tax because it thins out the herd (the competition). Why? Because the little guy cannot compete with the high costs and so the giants worry less about competition and thus large corporations who corner the market become the rule.

Stryker Corporation has announced that it will close its facility in Orchard Park, New York, eliminating 96 jobs next month. It will also counter the medical device tax in Obamacare by eliminating 5% of their global workforce, an estimated 1,170 positions.

Jon Stryker is heir to the Stryker Corporation, one of the largest medical device and equipment manufacturers in the world. Stryker’s grandfather was the surgeon who invented the mobile hospital bed. The company now sells $8.3 billion worth of hospital beds, artificial joints, medical cameras, and medical software every year.

Stryker, a member of the Forbes 400 list, was one of the top five donors to the Obama campaign. Having donated $2 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC, Stryker also gave $66,000 in contributions to Obama and the Democrat Party.

[….]

Stryker’s corporation is part of an industry that has been a big loser at the hands of Obamacare. Having refused to get on board with the White House and the Senate Finance Committee when the law was being crafted in 2009, the medical device industry was punished with an excise tax of 2.3% of their revenues, regardless of whether they make a profit.

Republicans in the House have attempted to repeal the excise tax with a bill called the Protect Medical Innovation Act. The Democrat-led Senate, however, has refused to cooperate, saying that withdrawing the tax would cause Obamacare to come unraveled.

Last June, while the nation awaited the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, Stryker Corp. announced that it was tying plans to slash 5% of its global workforce to the tax if the law was upheld.

★ ATTENTION ★★ 

The medical device tax is hurting women

even more than it’s hurting men

USA TODAY notes the job losses in the medical Device Tax ACA implementation:

WASHINGTON — Even as the new health care law adds millions of insured customers to the paying pool, medical device manufacturers say a tax on their product could cost them billions.

The tax came as the government looked for ways to fund the new law. Insurers agreed to pay a tax beginning in 2013 because they would gain new customers.

Hospitals agreed to lower Medicare payments because they would have fewer uninsured customers and therefore, would not be left with the bill.

And the government looked to higher-earning citizens — those who make more than $200,000 a year — to also contribute. In industry, the government focused on the $130 billion-a-year medical device manufacturing industry.

But the manufacturers say the tax will force money away from research, send jobs overseas and stop them from expanding in the U.S.

Analysts say the industry will easily make the money back in profits from overseas sales — where there’s a growing market of individuals with diabetes and heart disease — and that more insured customers mean more devices.

[….]

Steve Ubl, CEO of AdvaMed, the trade organization that represents the industry, said the tax would force companies to cut 43,000 jobs and will cost the industry $30 billion in the next 10 years.

“It’s very concerning to us,” he said. “It’s a tax on revenue, and it translates to a very deep cut in the bottom line.”

Ubl said the companies won’t look for more efficient products, contrary to what advocates of the law say.

Denny’s is the latest to admit that this will make them raise costs, hurting those who depend on their services using allotted retirement funds for eating (the retired elderly), as well as those single mothers the Left profess to love… no work.

President Obama’s election victory ensured his Affordable Care Act would remain the centerpiece of his first term in power – but that has left some business owners baulking at the extra cost Obamcare will bring.

Florida based restaurant boss John Metz, who runs approximately 40 Denny’s and owns the Hurricane Grill & Wings franchise has decided to offset that by adding a five percent surcharge to customers’ bills and will reduce his employees’ hours.

With Obamacare due to be fully implemented in January 2014, Metz has justified his move by claiming it is “the only alternative. I’ve got to pass on the cost to the customer.”

…read more at Mail Online…

Lately, a lot of people who are in the restaurant business have said the same, here are a couple of short videos on the matter:

NY Applebee’s CEO Zane Tankel

A Papa John’s Pizza franchise owner

Rermember my old story about the Burbank Country Club and how liberal city councils feel good in passing legislation without second thought to those they hurt in the process — whom they profess to be helping. Here it is used in a reponse to a small paper near my town:

Here is the answer with a great example from a few years back, right down the road a bit from both John and I… it comes from an article I have saved from the June 26, 2002 Daily News, Editorial Section, entitled “Killing Jobs”:

Billingsley’s Restaurant at the Van Nuys Golf Course may soon fall victim to the economic illiteracy of the Los Angeles City Council [almost all liberals by the by].

Five years ago, the council pandered to organized labor by passing a measure requiring all businesses that contract with the city to pay their employees a “living wage,” an hourly salary tied to the Consumer Price Index that tends to run about three dollars more than the California minimum wage.

The measure, intended to bolster economic status of the city’s working families, was a classic example of arrogant politicians thinking they could magically legislate wealth into existence.

But grandiose schemes have consequences. Extra money for salaries has to come from somewhere. Usually from customers, workers or taxpayers who end up paying the bill.

Billingsley’s is a case in point of what’s wrong with this scheme [which Santa Monica has made policy].

Because the restaurant’s lease on the city-owned golf course is up for renewal, it will soon have to start paying the living wage, which owner Drew Billingsley says will cost him $100,00 a year [keep in mind this is not only in wages, but the time and money spent on the mountains of new paperwork to make sure he is following this new regulation]. In an effort to meet that expense, he has laid off as many employees as possible, but its not enough.

Thus Billingsley now has two choices: Either he can raise prices and alienate his loyal clientele (which consists largely of retirees on fixed incomes), or he can close up shop altogether.

Either way, the community will suffer. That’s what happens when feel-good posturing, not sound policy, governs lawmaking.

City Hall has done its best to chase away well-paying jobs, and public schools have done their worst at educating people so they aren’t qualified for well-paying jobs. Artificial living wages won’t solve real people’s problems.

Chasing Alternative Energy Companies OUT of California

Loss of jobs and customer dissatisfaction are the result of government interference. Here are more examples noted by Dennis Prager:

C.S. LEWIS hits the nail on the head when he said:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

What did Reagan say? Oh Yeah. Well, many business owners are feeling this fear right now.

This story comes from the Orange County Register and documents yet another company leaving the sunshine state:

California has changed dramatically since 1941, when Carl and Margaret Karcher scraped together about 325 bucks to start a hot dog cart in Los Angeles – a precursor to a drive-through restaurant they opened in Anaheim and which grew into the Carl’s Jr. fast-food empire. The Karchers were household names in Southern California, not just for their restaurants but for their activism in conservative politics and Catholic charities.

Whatever you think of the Karchers’ politics, you’ve got to love the entrepreneurial story that surrounds their success and what it said about California in its heyday. The Karchers – he died in 2008 and she in 2006 – came to the Land of Opportunity from the staid backwater of Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

California has beckoned many Midwesterners – and people from every part of America and the globe – not just because of its pleasant weather, but because of a culture of openness that allowed creative people to go as far as their ideas would take them. Unfortunately, people with energy and creativity are now likely to go elsewhere, to places where the state government has different attitudes toward the private sector.

Indeed, CKE Restaurants, parent of Carl’s Jr., is likely to move its headquarters from Carpinteria, near Ventura, to Texas and is undergoing a rapid expansion of restaurants in the Lone Star State. Right before the budget circus got going Wednesday, CKE CEO Andrew Puzder spoke at the California Chamber of Commerce, blocks from the Capitol dome. Like most of us, Puzder loves California and has no interest in leaving it, but he told harrowing tales about doing business in a state that has gone from an entrepreneurial heaven to a bureaucratic nightmare.

It costs us $250,000 more to build one California restaurant than in Texas,” he said. “And once it is opened, we’re not allowed to run it.” This explains why Carl’s is opening 300 restaurants in Texas and only maintaining its presence in California. Texas has lower taxes than California, but the reason for the shift has more to do with regulation and with the attitude of the respective governments.

Puzder complained about the permitting process here, where it takes eight months to two years to open a new restaurant compared to an average of 1 1/2 months in Texas. In California, restaurants have to provide new curb cuts, new traffic lights, you name it. The company must endure so many requirements and must submit to so many inspections that it becomes excessively costly – and the bureaucrats are in charge of the project.

Once the restaurant is open, Puzder said, the store’s general managers are not allowed to run the business as if they own it. That’s the key to the company’s customer service approach – allowing general managers to do whatever it takes to make customers happy. But California’s inflexible, union-designed work rules, for instance, classify general managers as regular employees. They must be paid overtime for any work beyond an eight-hour day. They must take mandated breaks at specified times.

…(read more)…

Andy Pudzer, CEO of Carls Jr. Restaurants on over regulation from Dan Logue on Vimeo.

California is the micro of the growing Federal Government. Obama-Care is just another layer of the boot of government on the backs of business owners, who hire a lions share of people in the U.S. The reporter above says “the regulations are well-intended, but piled-on…” And do take note, we (as a body politik) add layers and layers of laws. Here is an old quote I often use:

  • This is most evident in the fact that Americans today must obey thirty times as many laws as their great-grandfathers had to obey at the turn of the century. Federal agencies publish an average of over 200 pages of new rulings, regulations, and proposals in the Federal Register each business day. That growth of the federal statute book is one of the clearest measures of the increase of the government control of the citizenry… (adapted from: James Bovard, Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty [St. Martins Griffen; 1994], p. 1.)

All these private people want, really, is for the boot to be lifted. But not for 4-more years. Sad. Which brings me to another quote that explains the egalitarian thinking behind legislation based on feelings:

There is a Liberal sentiment that it should also punish those who take more than their “fair share.” But what is their fair share? (Shakespeare suggests that each should be treated not according to his deserts, but according to God’s mercy, or none of us would escape whipping.)

The concept of Fairness, for all its attractiveness to sentiment, is a dangerous one (cf. quota hiring and enrollment, and talk of “reparations”). Deviations from the Law, which is to say the Constitution, to accommodate specifically alleged identity-group injustices will all inevitably be expanded, universalized, and exploited until there remains no law, but only constant petition of Government.

We cannot live in peace without Law. And though law cannot be perfect, it may be just if it is written in ignorance of the identity of the claimants and applied equally to all. Then it is a possession not only of the claimants but of the society, which may now base its actions upon a reasonable assumption of the law’s treatment.

But “fairness” is not only a nonlegal but an antilegal process, for it deals not with universally applicable principles and strictures, but with specific cases, responding to the perceived or proclaimed needs of individual claimants, and their desire for extralegal preference. And it could be said to substitute fairness (a determination which must always be subjective) for justice (the application of the legislated will of the electorate), is to enshrine greed—the greed, in this case, not for wealth, but for preference. The socialistic spirit of the Left indicts ambition and the pursuit of wealth as Greed, and appeals, supposedly on behalf of “the people,” to the State for “fairness.”….

….But such fairness can only be the non-Constitutional intervention of the State in the legal, Constitutional process—awarding, as it sees fit, money (reparations), preferment (affirmative action), or entertainment (confiscation)….

….”Don’t you care?” is the admonition implicit in the very visage of the Liberals of my acquaintance on their understanding that I have embraced Conservatism. But the Talmud understood of old that good intentions can lead to evil—vide Busing, Urban Renewal, Affirmative Action, Welfare, et cetera, to name the more immedi­ately apparent, and not to mention the, literally, tens of thousands of Federal and State statutes limiting freedom of trade, which is to say, of the right of the individual to make a living, and, so earn that wealth which would, in its necessary expenditure, allow him to provide a living to others….

…. I recognized that though, as a lifelong Liberal, I endorsed and paid lip service to “social justice,” which is to say, to equality of result, I actually based the important decisions of my life—those in which I was personally going to be affected by the outcome—upon the principle of equality of opportunity; and, further, that so did everyone I knew. Many, I saw, were prepared to pay more taxes, as a form of Charity, which is to say, to hand off to the Government the choice of programs and recipients of their hard-earned money, but no one was prepared to be on the short end of the failed Government pro­grams, however well-intentioned. (For example—one might endorse a program giving to minorities preference in award of government contracts; but, as a business owner, one would fight to get the best possible job under the best possible terms regardless of such a pro­gram, and would, in fact, work by all legal and, perhaps by semi- or illegal means to subvert any program that enforced upon the pro­prietor a bad business decision.)*

Further, one, in paying the government to relieve him of a feeling of social responsibility, might not be bothered to question what in fact constituted a minority, and whether, in fact, such minority con­tracts were actually benefiting the minority so enshrined, or were being subverted to shell corporations and straw men. †

______________________________________________
*No one would say of a firefighter, hired under rules reducing the height requirement, and thus unable to carry one’s child to safety, “Nonetheless, I am glad I voted for that ‘more fair’ law.”

† As, indeed, they are, or, in the best case, to those among the applicants claiming eligibility most capable of framing, supporting, or bribing their claims to the front of the line. All claims cannot be met. The politicians and bureaucrats discriminating between claims will neces­sarily favor those redounding to their individual or party benefit—so the eternal problem of “Fairness,” supposedly solved by Government distribution of funds, becomes, yet again and inevitably, a question of graft.

  • David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 116-117, 122, 151, 154.

One might say that the politician, the doctor, and the dramatist make their living from human misery; the doctor in attempting to alleviate it, the politician to capitalize on it, and the dramatist, to describe it.

But perhaps that is too epigrammatic.

When I was young, there was a period in American drama in which the writers strove to free themselves of the question of character.

Protagonists of their worthy plays had made no choices, but were afflicted by a condition not of their making; and this condition, homosexuality, illness, being a woman, etc., was the center of the play. As these protagonists had made no choices, they were in a state of innocence. They had not acted, so they could not have sinned.

A play is basically an exercise in the raising, lowering, and altering of expectations (such known, collectively, as the Plot); but these plays dealt not with expectations (how could they, for the state of the protagonist was not going to change?) but with sympathy.

What these audiences were witnessing was not a drama, but a troublesome human condition displayed as an attraction. This was, formerly, known as a freak show.

The subjects of these dramas were bearing burdens not of their choosing, as do we all. But misfortune, in life, we know, deserves forbearance on the part of the unafflicted. For though the display of courage in the face of adversity is worthy of all respect, the display of that respect by the unaffected is presumptuous and patronizing.

One does not gain merit from congratulating an afflicted person for his courage. One only gains entertainment.

Further, endorsement of the courage of the affliction play’s hero was not merely impertinent, but, more basically, spurious, as applause was vouchsafed not to a worthy stoic, but to an actor portraying him.

These plays were an (unfortunate) by-product of the contemporary love-of-the-victim. For a victim, as above, is pure, and cannot have sinned; and one, by endorsing him, may perhaps gain, by magic, part of his incontrovertible status.

  • David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture (New York, NY: Sentinel Publishing, 2011), 134-135.

And of course, the SNOOKY TAX example:

Take note that the persons opposed to tanning altogether are the ones who got this 10% tax added. They know that even a 10% tax (just like all the taxes added to smoking) dissuades someone from that action. Similarly, all the taxes coming down the pike will do what exactly to consumers wanting to go out and spend??

POLITICO:

In one scene, Snooki — with her impressively orange tan — broke the shocking news that she’s been staying away from her home away from home: Tanning salons.

“I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10% tax on tanning. McCain would never put a 10% tax on tanning. Because he’s pale and would probably want to be tan,” she said.

Snooki was referring to a provision in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act that mandates tanning salons impose a 10 percent tax on UV-ray sessions.

McCain and Jersey Shore team up. Why would a President who is concerned about jobs and people (supposedly) put a 10% on small business owners that would do nothing but hinder job growth. Many of his policies hinder this.

UPDATED!

Via Libertarian Republican

Excerpted, column by Howard Rich, Investor’s Business Daily, “ObamaCare Mandate To Cut Worker Hours, Leaving The Poor Worse Off”:

Having secured another four years in the White House, Obama can now block any effort to overturn his socialized medicine law — although states can (thankfully) still stop much of its new spending if they reject ObamaCare’s “exchanges” and refuse its Medicaid enrollment expansions. For the sake of our future deficits, let’s hope they do so en masse.

One provision of ObamaCare that can no longer be stopped, however, is its “employer mandate.” While nowhere near as infamous as the “individual mandate” compelling citizen participation in the health insurance market, ObamaCare’s requirement that companies provide coverage to all employees working more than 30 hours a week will be a job killer nonetheless.

Not only will this mandate prevent job growth among small businesses, it will also result in fewer hours and less income for workers at larger companies. These are people struggling to make ends meet on limited income — people who cannot afford to lose these hours.

Last month Darden Restaurants — which employs 185,000 people at nearly 2,000 Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster restaurants — revealed that it was scaling back many of its employees’ workweeks to 28 hours. Ordinarily such a move would result in high turnover and an influx of less-competent employees — but not in Obama’s economy.

This month Kroger — the grocer that employs 350,000 people — announced that existing part-time workers and new hires would be limited to working 28 hours per week. “Kroger is doing this to avoid paying for full-time health care for employees who currently only receive part-time benefits,” one employee explains. “And (so) they will not get hit with the $3,000 penalty.”

 

Businesses Forced To Hurt The Poor ~ Thanks Dems

As the #FightFor15 movement get fast food workers to strike in order to get a $15, and they watch businesses in Seattle closing because of the forced raise in wages. Automated cashier options are now an option to be weighed. Of course a business wants a human face to represent it. But the business wants to stay in business, so many are being forced to choose a cheaper, more sustainable option for its budget.

McDonald’s is buying 7,000 automated machines to replace people

Would you like some microchips with that burger? McDonald’s Europe strikes another blow against human interaction by installing 7,000 touch-screen computers to take your order and money.

[….]

McDonalds recently went on a hiring binge in the U.S., adding 62,000 employees to its roster. The hiring picture doesn’t look quite so rosy for Europe, where the fast food chain is drafting 7,000 touch-screen kiosks to handle cashiering duties.

And this real world affect of what politicians can merely raise taxes to meet budgets with (or, on the Federal level just print more money [a dumb move BTW]) is that small business go out of business, thus affecting the poor who want jobs.

But now the option through technology is to replace workers for businesses altogether:

(Washington Policy Center) Everyone is predicting what the real world impact of Seattle’s newly passed $15 minimum wage will be.  The truth is there will not be a mass exodus of businesses from the city, nor will the economy crash.

Certainly, some businesses will move or close down, consumers will pay more, some workers will receive fewer benefits and the lowest skilled workers will have a harder time finding a job because they are competing with more experienced workers. 

But many businesses will simply figure out how to employ fewer low-wage workers.  They will do that by substituting machines and technology for people.

Service industry CEOs have cautioned a higher minimum wage is “encouraging automation,” which can improve efficiency.  Even Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates warns that a higher minimum wage would “encourage labor substitution” and incentivize employers to “buy machines and automate things” and ultimately “cause job destruction.”

He’s right. When government increases the cost of labor, employers find other ways to save money. 

Just look at how McDonald’s has responded to France’s $12 an hour minimum wage.  In 2011, McDonald’s invested in 7,000 touch screen computers in France to reduce the number of workers needed.  Restaurants around the country are already exploring automation as a means to cut costs; Applebee’s is installing 100,000 tabletop tablets for ordering and payments.

Many food businesses are considering a machine that can freshly grind, shape and custom grill 360 gourmet burgers per hour, no human labor needed.   Alpha, the burger-making robot, can even slice and dice the pickles and tomatoes, put them on the burger, add condiments and wrap it up.  The manufacturer makes the point that cashiers or servers aren’t even needed: “Customers could just punch in their order, pay, and wait at a dispensing window.”  The maker says Alpha will pay for itself in a year. 

…read it all…

`Socialism or Capitalism?` ~ Concepts (7-14-2012)

(As usual, you can click the article to enlarge) I do not have the time to delve into John’s latest like I would want, but simply, I wish to respond to three ideas in the article. For instance, John said:

  • Should the government never get involved in private enterprise or should it create a fair playing field for all participants? Most of the time, the latter is already the case.

Firstly, “never,” is setting up a false dichotomy, a straw-man. He is using an extreme to set up his case. secondly, this is the divide between progressives and conservatives that Dennis Prager zeroes in on so well — Prosperity or Egalitarianism:

Two Models: Prosperity or Egalitarianism from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

Johns second statement is this one, and I will again zero in on some California examples (where John lives) so the reader can understand what government involvement means. John says

  • When I buy a product from a hardware store, I am satisfied, the owner is satisfied, the government gets its share and the employees get to keep their jobs. There are many win-wins. Why do some people perceive the government as a friend, others as an enemy?

Here is the answer with a great example from a few years back, right down the road a bit from both John and I… it comes from an article I have saved from the June 26, 2002 Daily News, Editorial Section, entitled “Killing Jobs”:

Billingsley’s Restaurant at the Van Nuys Golf Course may soon fall victim to the economic illiteracy of the Los Angeles City Council [almost all liberals by the by].

Five years ago, the council pandered to organized labor by passing a measure requiring all businesses that contract with the city to pay their employees a “living wage,” an hourly salary tied to the Consumer Price Index that tends to run about three dollars more than the California minimum wage.

The measure, intended to bolster economic status of the city’s working families, was a classic example of arrogant politicians thinking they could magically legislate wealth into existence.

But grandiose schemes have consequences. Extra money for salaries has to come from somewhere. Usually from customers, workers or taxpayers who end up paying the bill.

Billingsley’s is a case in point of what’s wrong with this scheme [which Santa Monica has made policy].

Because the restaurant’s lease on the city-owned golf course is up for renewal, it will soon have to start paying the living wage, which owner Drew Billingsley says will cost him $100,00 a year [keep in mind this is not only in wages, but the time and money spent on the mountains of new paperwork to make sure he is following this new regulation]. In an effort to meet that expense, he has laid off as many employees as possible, but its not enough.

Thus Billingsley now has two choices: Either he can raise prices and alienate his loyale clientele (which consists largely of retirees on fixed incomes), or he can close up shop altogether.

Either way, the community will suffer. That’s what happens when feel-good posturing, not sound policy, governs lawmaking.

City Hall has done its best to chase away well-paying jobs, and public schools have done their worst at educating people so they aren’t qualified for well-paying jobs. Artificial living wages won’t solve real people’s problems.

Loss of jobs and customer dissatisfaction are the result of government interference. Here are more examples noted by Dennis Prager:

More Businesses Leave California from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

And any person should acknowledge why someone should “fear” government more than business. In fact, I made this point on my FB outgrowth of this blog in talking to my liberal friend:

…you see, when the government chooses winners-and-losers instead of getting contracts with private companies (like Ford, GM, etc.), they are invested to [i.e., forced to] only choose a government run business and stock their fish (so-to-speak) with GM fleets… leaving the non-government company to flounder.

This next audio (below/left) deals with the differences of the Koch brothers, in comparison to the Left’s version of them, Soros. There are many areas that one can discuss about the two… but let us focus in on the main/foundational difference. One wants a large government that is able to legislate more than just what kind of light-bulbs one can use in the privacy of their own home. Soros wants large government able to control a large portion of the economy (see link to chart below), and he has been very vocal on this goal. The other party always mentioned are the Koch brothers. These rich conservatives want a weak government. A government that cannot effect our daily lives nearly as much (personal, business, etc) as the Soros enterprise wants. And really, if you think about it, what business can really “harm” you, when people come to my door with pistols on their hip… are they a) more likely to be from GM, or, b) from the IRS?

The possibility of them being from the IRS is even more possible with the passing of Obama-Care [i.e., larger government]. So the “fear” (audio in next comment) I think the Left has of “Big-Business” is unfounded, and the problem comes when big-business gets in bed with big-government. Here I am thinking of (like with the penalties that were found to be Constitutional in the recent SCOTUS decision) a government that can penalize you if you do not buy a Chevy Volt, or some other green car in order to save the planet. When this happens, guys coming to my door because of unpaid (hypothetical… but historical examples abound of the tax history of our nation) “fines” are likely to be IRS agents because of a personal choice made in the “free-market.”

Appendix: If the above example didn’t inspire any liberal fear (forced to go green or be penalized), maybe this one will

…First, the government needs to issue a mandate that all households must own at least one firearm. We will need a federal agency to ensure that people aren’t just buying cheap BB guns or .22 pistols, even though that may be all they need or want. It has to be 9mm or above, with .44 magnums getting a one-time tax credit on their own. Let’s pick an agency known for its aptitude on firearms and home protection to issue required annual certifications each year, without which the government will have to levy hefty fines. Which agency would do the best job? Hmmmm … I know! How about TSA? With their track record of excellence, we should have no problems implementing this mandate.

Don’t want to own a gun? Hey, no worries. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says citizens have the right to refuse to comply with mandates. The government will just seize some of your cash in fines, that’s all. Isn’t choice great? Those fines will go toward federal credits that will fund firearm purchases for the less well off, so that they can protect their homes as adequately as those who can afford guns on their own. Since they generally live in neighborhoods where police response is appreciably worse than their higher-earning fellow Americans, they need them more anyway. Besides — gun ownership is actually mentioned in the Constitution, unlike health care, which isn’t. Obviously, that means that the federal government should be funding gun ownership….

…read more…

This is why people fear government, to answer John’s question. Thirdly, John tackles charity versus government mandated “charity.”

  • Why should charity be a virtue for a person, but a sin or fault for a government? Why is it a virtue for every church, but “socialism” for a government? You might say in one situation it is voluntary; in the other, it is mandated by law. You would be right, but ask people if they can do without their mandated Social Security or without their mandated Medicare. My guess is that most would be in deep poverty.

Here are some analogies to make the point and then some comparison of the effectiveness of such ideas.

A great analogy that explains the dilemma of our “redistribution program” here in America (welfare, food stamps, or Medicaid, etc.) is one of a triplex.  I must thank Neal Boortz for this analogy (his book, The Terrible Truth About Liberals), by the by.

Our government, as our Constitution says, derives its powers “from the consent of the governed.” The idea here is that we cannot and should not ask the government to do anything for us that we cannot legally or morally do for ourselves.  Sounds logical, doesn’t it?  With that premise in mind, lets build the following scenario.

You live in a triplex.  You are in apartment No. 1, Johnson is in apartment No. 2, and Wilson lives in No. 3.  You discover that Wilson is ill and cannot work.  He never bothered to buy a health insurance policy because he just didn’t believe he would need it for quite some time.  Wilson, it seems, is not good at making rational decisions.  He has no savings because it was more important to use that money for bondo on his Camaro and a good Panama City Beach vacation every summer.

You believe that Wilson is about to starve to death.  His electricity is going to be cut off, and he can’t afford to buy his blood pressure medication.  You decide to help, charitable soul that you are.  You scrounge through your bank account and find $200 to help your neighbor out.

Good for you.  What a guy!

A month later Wilson is still in trouble.  Your $200 wasn’t enough.  It turns out that he spent $20 for a case of beer and at least another $100 or so at the horse races.  Things may not be all that desperate, though.  One of the thirty-five Lotto tickets he bought with that carton of cigarettes might pan out.

You decide to visit Johnson in apartment No. 2 to see if he can chip in.  Johnson tells you that, while he certainly understands the seriousness of Wilson’s situation, he needs his money to send his daughter to college in the fall and to pay some of his own medical bills.  Besides, he’s trying to save up some cash for a down payment on a house so he can get out of this weird apartment building.

You make the determination that it is far more important for Wilson to have some of Johnson’s money than it is for Johnson to keep it and spend it on his own daughter’s education and a new home.  So, here’s the question:

“Do you have the right to pull out a gun and point it right at the middle of Johnson’s forehead?  Can you use that gun to compel Johnson to hand over a few hundred dollars for Wilson’s care, and then tell Johnson that you’ll be back for more next month?”

Obviously, when put like this, you won’t run into too many people who will tell you that they have the right to take Johnson’s money by force and give it to Wilson.  They might say that they would try to talk Johnson into being a bit more charitable, but they don’t think that they have the right to just rob him at gunpoint.  But this is the next question:

Well, if our government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, how can you ask your government to do something for you that, if you did it for yourself, would be a crime?  Why would it not be OK for you to take that money from Johnson by force and give it to Wilson, but it would be perfectly OK with you if the government went ahead and did it?”

Last time I checked, IRS agents were armed.

Another way to put this is an example from J. Budziszewski’s book, The Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man:

a. On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs.

b. Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church.

c. Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who act as bagman.

d. Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says.

e. Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government.

If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft.

Here is the idea as put forward by University Republicans (audio is not ideal):

From video description:

Many students believe that it is moral to confiscate money from hard-working Americans and entrepreneurs and give it to those who didn’t earn it, yet don’t support the same philosophy when it is applied to their GPA scores. Check out our website http://www.ExposingLeftists.com and follow us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ExposingLeftists

Another aspect of this is exemplified in how well private business/charities/churches can do what government cannot. In regards to Social Security, the CATO Institute explains a bit about the Chilean model that would work well here in the Stetes:

…Chile allowed every worker to choose whether to stay in the state-run, pay-as-you-go social security system or to put the whole payroll tax into an individual retirement account. For the first time in history we have allowed the common worker to benefit from one of the most powerful forces on earth: compound interest.

Some 93% of Chilean workers chose the new system. They trust the private sector and prefer market risk to political risk. If you invest money in the market, it could go up or down. Over a 40-year period, though, a diversified portfolio will have very low risk and provide a positive rate of real return. But when the government runs the pension system, it can slash benefits at any time.

The Chilean system is run completely by private companies. We now have 15 mutual funds competing for workers’ savings.

We guaranteed benefits for the elderly — we told those people who had already retired that they had nothing to fear from this reform. We also told people entering the labor force for the first time that they had to go to the new system.

Today, all workers in Chile are capitalists, because their money is invested in the stock market. And they also understand that if government tomorrow were to create the conditions for inflation, they would be damaged because some of the money is also invested in bonds — around 60%. So the whole working population of Chile has a vested interest in sound economic policies and a pro-market, pro-private-enterprise environment.

There have been enormous external benefits: the savings rate of Chile was 10% of gross national product traditionally. It has gone up to 27% of GNP. The payroll tax in Chile is zero. Of course we have an estate tax and an income tax, but not a payroll tax. With full employment and a 27% savings rate, the rate of growth of the Chilean economy has doubled….

The bottom line: Government spends about 70% of tax dollars to get 30% of tax dollars to the needy. The private sector does the opposite, spending about 30% or less to get 70% of aid to the needy.

Again, the savings rate in Chile went up from 10% to 27% of GNP. There’s no payroll tax, and with full employment and that great savings rate, the economy has blossomed. Here is the second portion I think is important, that is, private interests redistribute a higher percentage per dollar. I will end with this great question/answer post:

Question:

About ten years ago you wrote: “When help is given privately, approximately 80% of each charitable dollar gets to a worthy recipient. Only 20% of each tax welfare dollar reaches the poor.”

This is a very powerful argument for why government should leave issues of the poor and disabled to non-profits and people who care. In fact, those numbers make it sound almost cruel to support government welfare programs. What’s your source for this estimate?

Answer:

I am currently using a slightly more conservative figure, though it still makes the same point. I would now, if asked, say: “When help is given privately, 70% or more of each charitable dollar gets to a worthy recipient. But only about 30% of each tax welfare dollar reaches the needy.”

Here is a citable source for that. The Costs of Public Income Redistribution and Private Charity [pdf], by economist James Rolph Edwards, Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 21, Number 2 (Summer 2007).

On pages one and two, Edwards cites two studies, over a seven-year period, backing up that figure. He writes:

“[Government] income redistribution agencies are estimated to absorb about two-thirds of each dollar budgeted to them in overhead costs, and in some cases as much as three-quarters of each dollar. Using government data, Robert L. Woodson (1989, p. 63) calculated that, on average, 70 cents of each dollar budgeted for government assistance goes not to the poor, but to the members of the welfare bureaucracy and others serving the poor. Michael Tanner (1996, p. 136 n. 18) cites regional studies supporting this 70/30 split.

“In contrast, administrative and other operating costs in private charities absorb, on average, only one-third or less of each dollar donated, leaving the other two-thirds (or more) to be delivered to recipients. Charity Navigator, the newest of several private sector organizations that rate charities by various criteria and supply that information to the public on their web sites, found that, as of 2004, 70 percent of charities they rated spent at least 75 percent of their budgets on the programs and services they exist to provide, and 90 percent spent at least 65 percent. The median administrative expense among all charities in their sample was only 10.3 percent.”

Later on he adds: “In fact, the average cost of private charity generally is almost certainly lower than the one-quarter to one-third estimated by Charity Navigator and other private sector charity rating services…” and tells why.

The bottom line: Government spends about 70% of tax dollars to get 30% of tax dollars to the needy. The private sector does the opposite, spending about 30% or less to get 70% of aid to the needy.

There is much more of interest in that article, including this important observation:

“[R]aising only half as much money through voluntary donations, the private agencies (and families) could deliver the same amount as the government, saving, in the process, all the costs the government imposes on the public through the compulsory taxation. Given that aiding the poor must have large support among the public for coercive government redistribution to be policy, couldn’t the supporters raise, through voluntary donations from among themselves, half the amount that would have to be raised through taxation, and avoid coercing the rest of the nonpoor public?”

That’s the promise the libertarian vision offers: more effective aid for the poor and needy than ever before, delivered voluntarily by the private sector at a far smaller cost than today’s welfare state.

I laugh sometimes at myself… because I started out the post with, “I do not have the time to delve into John’s latest like I would want.” I ended up giving a pretty thorough refutation as if I had time.