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Poverty in America; What’s Your Plan B?

Posted by V the K at 8:59 am - May 26, 2016.
Filed under: Economy

Apparently, poverty in America means our morbidly obese beggars are driving around in brand new pick-up trucks.

I suppose it’s plausible that this fella recently suffered a reversal of fortune and bought the truck in better times. Still, it doesn’t seem like the journey from “Buying a new pick-up” to “Panhandling at intersections” would be as short as that.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you did suffer a massive economic reversal? Personally, I do the best I can to insure myself against such an eventuality. I work hard at my job. I invest in additional training to keep my skills current. I keep enough money in savings to pay the mortgage for six months. I have enough emergency food to get by for months if I had to. Aside from the mortgage, I don’t carry much debt.

And if all that failed, I’m willing to take a job that’s beneath me and live in small, crappy house if I have to.  I maintain good relationships with my relatives. So, in a really last ditch resort, I could crash on my brother or sister’s couch *if* I ever really had to.

Do you ever think about what you would do if you faced sudden poverty?

I think classes on Personal Finance and Financial Planning should be required in high school; they would be far more useful the LGBTQAAZXDS9ROLFMAO hyrstory or Social Activism 101.

The Grapes of Math

Posted by V the K at 8:54 am - April 7, 2016.
Filed under: Economy

California (and New York) imposed $15-an-hour minimum wage laws that will be phased in over the next five years.  This is what is going to happen:

  1. Big Businesses will replace as much of their work-force as possible with automation.
  2. Small businesses will go out of business or relocate to more business-friendly states.
  3. All businesses will try to get more done with fewer workers.
  4. Contrary to what the left claims, welfare rolls will not be reduced because welfare recipients adapt to minimum wage increases by working less so they can stay on welfare.

Hey, #FightFor15 #FeelTheBerners, Meet Your Future

Posted by V the K at 10:49 am - March 19, 2016.
Filed under: Economy

I stood in line to order a custom burger from a futuristic McDonald’s kiosk, and now I get why the company’s betting on the technology.”




Posted by V the K at 7:45 am - October 14, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

I have been posting at, and have not been making many friends there. Mainly because of articles like this one, “Six Myths That Are Killing the Republican Party.”

Most of the comments I got were focused on my second myth, that “Free Trade Is Totally Good for the Economy.” I subsequently reworded this to “All Foreign “Trade Deals” Must Be Supported Without Question Because Free Trade Has Absolutely No Downside for Anybody (Except Maybe Unions).” In hopes of clarifying my point.

I think a lot of people missed my point on ‘Free Trade,’ because internet. I never said that Free Trade was bad, I was saying that the Republican Party’s knee-jerk support for all Trade Deals hurts them with voters. Trade deals (particularly secretly-negotiated, 2,000 page monstrosities like the TPP {a.k.a. Obamatrade}) have had a devastating effect on the American Middle Class. The last two major trade deals… NAFTA and granting Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Communist China were both pitched on the basis that Free Trade was an unalloyed good, and the deals would bring millions of jobs and higher incomes to the middle class.

Neither of these happened. One-third of manufacturing jobs in the United States have disappeared since NAFTA/MFN, and middle class incomes have fallen by >$5,000 per family. These trade deals have not been good for everybody. Furthermore, the TPP is full of carve-outs for connected cronies and contain provisions for the massive import of cheap foreign. (Supporting links are in the original article or subsequent articles).

The points I failed to get across are: The Republican Party loses out on working class voters by blindly supporting trade deals that hurt millions of Americans, and that maybe their blind support of anything labeled ‘Free Trade’ should be re-thunk.  That was all I was saying, but I think I failed to make that point well and was attacked for being “against free trade” in the comments that followed.

Americans Need Not Apply

Posted by V the K at 10:58 am - October 2, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

According to Zero Hedge, for every job that went to a native-born American in 2007, three jobs went to foreign and immigrant workers. And it gets worse from there.

With that out of the way, here is the punchline (which is likely related). While we “know” that a paltry 142K jobs were added according to the Establishment survey, a far more disturbing trend emerges when observing the Household survey, which conveniently breakdown down the number of “native-born” and “foreign-born” workers. In September, the latter rose by 14,000 to 24,928.

That was the good news. The bad news: native-born workers saw their ranks tumble by 262,000!

The US Chamber of Commerce — which wants to replace even more American workers with cheap foreign labor — is fixin’ to spend $100 Million to defeat those who oppose this agenda.

After budgeting $50 million to elect establishment-friendly candidates in the 2014 election cycle, the chamber will reportedly spend as much as $100 million in the 2016 election cycle to crush conservatives. According to a Roll Callreport, some of the group’s “top targets in 2016 will be right-wing, tea party candidates” who have opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants, Obamatrade, and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

The Chamber of Commerce’s ultimate goal is to reportedly win back “the soul of the Republican Party” by electing more establishment Republicans “in contested primaries to strengthen their hand during policy debates on the Hill.”’

When the CoC says “Jump,” the GOP Leadership says, “Yes, sir, lead us to the cliff.”

Hippie Economics FAIL!

Posted by V the K at 6:00 pm - August 1, 2015.
Filed under: Economy,Socialism in America

Seattle CEO Dan Price won raves from the economically-illiterate press when he announced some months ago that he was raising the minimum wage at his company to $70K per year. Many on the smug ignorant left were elated, “See, you selfish conservatives, it is possible to be financially successful and egalitarian.”

And those of us who actually understand how economics works endured the smug snottiness because we wanted to wait and see how it worked it.

Now, we can see how it has worked out.

I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work,” he told the Times in a video that shows him sitting on a plastic bucket in the garage of his house. “I’m renting out my house right now to try and make ends meet myself.”

The Times article said Price’s decision ended up costing him a few customers and two of his “most valued” employees, who quit after newer employees ended up with bigger salary hikes than older ones.

“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” Gravity financial manager Maisey McMaster, 26, told the paper.

She said when she talked to Price about it, he treated her as if she was being selfish and only thinking about herself.

“That really hurt me,” she said. “I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”

Approaching burnout, she quit.

Socialism in the Workers’ Paradise of Venezuela isn’t working so well either.

I have come to believe that what makes a man conservative is simply understanding economics and human nature. On the other hand, I suppose there are leftist leaders … Castro, Mao, Obama, Chavez … who don’t necessarily misunderstand them so much as exploit the ignorance of their followers on those topics.

What Greece Teaches Us

Posted by V the K at 4:11 pm - July 5, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

Economists around the world are fretting about what the Greek fiscal collapse means for the rest of the world. Well, it’s quite simple, really. It means that socialist economics are unsustainable. It means that a fiscal regime based on massive borrowing to finance a bloated public sector, lush benefits for civil servants, rampant welfare fraud, and systematic tax evasion by the wealthy and politically connected cannot long endure.

The Obama Administration’s top economists are trying as hard as possible not to learn any lessons from this.


McDonald’s Rebrands as a “Progressive” Burger Company

Posted by V the K at 12:02 pm - June 21, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

So, let me ask you. If you find yourself craving a burger, does the social philosophy of the company that vends the burger matter more than the taste and cost of the burger?

The new corporate leadership at McDick’s thinks it does, or perhaps, should

McDonald’s British-born CEO Steve Easterbrook clarifies things, sort of, while speaking a strange business dialect: McDonald’s will be “more progressive around our social purpose in order to deepen our relationships with communities on the issues that matter to them.”


Just make me a burger and let the SJW’s worry about “social purpose”


Democrats Against Hard Work

Posted by V the K at 7:35 pm - May 7, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

Democrat Senator Cory Booker is outraged that some people have to work 50 hours a week to get ahead in the world.

A single parent of two children would need to work 50 hours a week at a minimum-wage job in the U.S. to earn 50% of the nation’s net median household income, the organization’s international equivalent for the poverty line. “That’s just wrong.” – Cory Booker

Working 50 hours a week is injustice to Cory Booker?

“Have you ever had a f#cking real job?” asks Ace at the link.

Recently, I had a conversation with my son, who was frustrated by his inability to move up as rapidly as he would like. I had to explain to him that hiring an employee is making an investment; for an employer to hire someone even at minimum wage is roughly equivalent, in terms of cost, to buying a higher-end pickup truck. Before an employer makes that kind of investment, they want some assurance that the investment is going to pay off; which is why they want things like credentials and references. As an indicator of intellect or ability, a college degree is meaningless. However, it does show an employer that you are capable of starting and finishing a long-term task.

The Cory Bookers of the world don’t get any of this. Everyone is entitled to whatever they think is a “living wage,” whether they provide living wage value to an employer or not.

Face it, when you looked at the protesters in Baltimore or Ferguson… who would want to hire them? Bitter, angry, entitled, often barely coherent, and likely to fly into a rage at the slightest perception that they are not getting enough.

(Once Again) Obama Helps Big Corporations Screw American Workers

Posted by V the K at 10:12 am - March 26, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

While everyone was distracted talking about the First Lady’s hairdo, the Obama Administration quietly took some ‘Executive Action’ to help large corporations replace American workers with cheap foreign labor.

Obama intends to make it easier to bring more foreign guest workers to the United States — likely at significant cost to workers already here — by loosening the rules governing something known as the L-1B visa program. Under the program, a multinational company with offices in the United States can move workers from abroad to live and work in the U.S. for as long as five years in what is known as an intra-company transfer. There are almost no rules concerning what those workers can be paid, so there is no barrier to a company firing American employees and bringing in workers from foreign facilities to replace them at much lower pay.

Where in the hell did anyone get the idea that the Democrat Party was the friend of the working man (and woman)?


Player 2 Has Entered the Game

Posted by V the K at 9:41 am - March 23, 2015.
Filed under: Economy,Tea Party,Team Sequester

Ted Cruz announced he is running for president, which comes as a surprise to no one. I like Ted Cruz a lot, but I am wary of ideologically driven men who run for president before completing a single term in the senate. That has never worked out well for us as a country.

The Democrats are attacking Ted Cruz as the architect of the Government “shutdown” that they claim “cost the economy $24 Billion.” To me, and others who can process information in a rational way, this actually makes the case for Ted Cruz or someone like him. When Democrats make the attack that Government spending is necessary to sustain the economy, they are admitting that the economy is dysfunctional. If the economy requires trillions of dollars in deficit spending to keep from collapsing, something is deeply wrong with it.

And if you think that constantly running up Trillions of dollars in debt is a sustainable economic model, I know an adult pre-school in Brooklyn who will gladly accept your Visa card.

Seattle Leftists Encounter Cause and Effect

Posted by V the K at 5:46 pm - March 16, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

Progressive left Utopia Seattle raised it’s minimum wage to $15 an hour because most of its voters are selfish and economically illiterate. As of April 1st of this year, a $15 per hour minimum wage that will begin to be phased in over the next 3-6 years depending on the size of the business. However, there are going to be a lot fewer people in the category of “People who have jobs in the city of Seattle” by the time all businesses are subject to the new wage.

Last month—and particularly last week— Seattle foodies were downcast as the blows kept coming: Queen Anne’s Grub closed February 15. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down February 25. Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala announced that it will close March 21. Renée Erickson’s Boat Street Café will shutter May 30 after 17 years with her at the helm…What the #*%&$* is going on? A variety of things, probably—and a good chance there is more change to come.

In addition to restaurants closing, hotels are also cutting staff and raising room rates. The full force of the wage requirement is a few years off. Businesses like restaurants with razor thin profit margins are the canaries in this particular economic coal mine.

Shock: Big banker, up to no good, would rather not be audited

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:51 am - February 27, 2015.
Filed under: Depression 2.0,Economy,Socialism in America

Refresher: The Federal Reserve Bank is not a government agency. It is the world’s largest private bank. Government has given it special privileges to basically:

  • counterfeit money (i.e., create it from thin air);
  • fix key prices in the economy (interest rates);
  • tax Americans indirectly (by creating inflation/money and financing government with the proceeds);
  • goose the financial markets for the proverbial “one percent” – which includes government officials themselves;
  • bail out irresponsible/incompetent banks – and (via measures of “regulation”) prevent up-and-coming banks from challenging them;
  • generally plan the markets (create bubbles, followed of course by crises);
  • plan the number of crappy, part-time jobs that Obama’s economy can create for the little people;
  • and escape the Freedom of Information Act.

So, from The Hill’s coverage of Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress on Wednesday:

The biggest challenge to the Fed’s structure is the growing movement to Audit the Fed via legislation from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)…

A GOP-controlled Congress has given the bill its best chances yet of passage, and that renewed interest led Yellen to deliver her most spirited opposition yet.

“I want to be completely clear,” she said. “I strongly oppose Audit the Fed.”

Surprise, surprise.

Hat tip, ZH.

The Banker Suicides – update

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:28 pm - February 16, 2015.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Economy

I previously noted (here and here) how Zero Hedge has been tracking the strange run of “suicides” among the world’s mid-level bankers in the last couple of years. Scare quotes because the circumstances are mysterious in many of the cases. And because banks and financial markets have been doing great all this time, right?

Here’s the update.

  • In the end, 2014 saw 36 of these deaths. (ZH gives the list. Any pattern?)
  • The trend continues in 2015, with four mid-level banker deaths, so far.
  • They include yet another ABN Amro executive – this one well-known as a “cheerful” boyfriend of hot models – and yet another JPMorgan guy – this one who said openly on LinkedIn, “I am very good and creative with data manipulation…and can…provide senior managers what is needed before asked to do so.”

As I’ve said before: Whether these deaths are murders (to cover up something?) or genuine suicides by the despondent, either way they suggest a world financial system that is worse off than what is generally known.

Hey Liz: Here’s why you are a socialist

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:45 pm - February 11, 2015.
Filed under: Academia,Economy,Leftist Nutjobs,Socialism in America

Picking this up from V’s post of a week or two ago, Elizabeth Warren does not understand why people think she’s a socialist.

(Please, I need a moment to stop giggling. It’s as if President Obama were to say he does not understand why people think he’s a liar. Air gasp. OK, I think I can go on.) – Warren said:

I just don’t know where [people] get that [idea of her being a socialist]. You know, look at the issues. I mean really, let’s take a look at minimum wage — I just believe nobody should work full time and live in poverty…Student loans: I don’t think the U.S. government should be making tens of billions of dollars in profits off the backs of our students, which is what the current student loan system is doing…

Never mind that Warren proposes the U.S. government to *lose* tens of billions of dollars on student loans. Let’s go straight to Kevin Williamson, defining socialism:

The current Random House Dictionary definition of “socialism” is serviceable but dated: “a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.”…

[Dated, because] It should read “ownership -or- control” rather than “ownership -and- control.” As we have seen in the cases of enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it is entirely possible for government economic planners to intervene deeply (and, in this familiar case, catastrophically) in the economy while maintaining private economic forms…

A more complete definition of socialism incorporates two criteria: The first is that socialism entails the public provision of non-public goods. The second is the use of central planning to implement that policy.

And that, Liz, is why you are a socialist.

  1. You want the public purse to pay for *private* goods (goods that benefit the individual primarily, if not exclusively). For just one example, you want government to fund special young people on a costly, but often low-benefit, multi-year jaunt that we politely call “college”.
  2. And you believe in a planned economy. For just one example, you want government to dictate the minimum wage at which a worker may offer her work (or else you will not permit any employer to give her work).

For the record: I don’t and I don’t. So, I’m not.

Fauxcahontas at work

You know the saying “There are no accidents”. First, consider how the Left’s beloved fake-Native American, Elizabeth Warren, is an unusually wealthy member of Congress – probably worth over $6 million. Courtesy of ZH:

Next, consider how the Left’s beloved fake-Native American, Elizabeth Warren, opposes a bill to audit the Federal Reserve Bank.

I say the 2 things are connected. You see, Elizabeth Warren is a phony. That doesn’t only mean that she has repeatedly lied about her racial (non-)heritage for personal gain. It also means that she lies about being a populist who would support the little guy against Big Banking.

For the last 6 1/2 years, the Fed – the privately-owned, biggest bank of them all – has (in accordance with Obama’s wishes) pumped boatloads of newly-created cash into our financial markets, to make financial bubbles that benefit “the one percent” – who include the top earners of Big Government and Big Banking (plus Big Government’s general deficits being financed). And Elizabeth Warren has no real problem with any of that. She does claim to oppose it. But her actions tell another story.

If she really opposed it, she’d be leading the charge to get the Fed audited. Instead, Rand Paul leads the charge (and Ron Paul before him) – while she carps, or puts up obstacles. “Follow the money.”

Unrelated follow-up: After noting in early December that holiday spending was off to a weak start, I should note that indeed, December consumer spending plunged by the most since 2009, as people’s incomes stagnated. At least by *conventional* economic wisdom, that means a bad economy – and shouldn’t be happening.

Socialists Get What They Had Coming to Them

Posted by V the K at 8:57 am - February 3, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

San Francisco has raised its minimum wag to $15 an hour, which is what many on the left want, (although leftist icon Liz Warren thinks $22 would be better.) Well, thanks to San Francisco’s progressive politics, a lot of employees at a certain bookstore will now be making $0 an hour.

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018.  Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage.  Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st.  The cafe will continue to operate until at least the end of this year.

If only someone had warned them that raising the minimum wage would result in the loss of jobs and the closing of small local businesses.  But I suppose you would have to be some kind of magical genius to foresee such completely unexpected consequences.


Get out the popcorn: Greece is bringin’ the drama

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:07 pm - January 25, 2015.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Economy,Leftist Nutjobs,Politics abroad

As AP reports, Greece has just gone (further) to the left by voting in their “Syriza” party. With 60% of the vote counted, Syriza leads with 36%, a blowout by Greece’s fragmented / multi-party standard.

Flounder of Delta House was reached for comment and said, “Oh boy, is this great!” Why would he? Because Syriza is a delightful mixture of the sane and the insane.

First, their key campaign plank has been to provoke a new crisis over Greece’s debt to the rest of Europe, including no small chance that Greece would default and/or leave the Euro currency. And that’s the sane part.

It’s sane, because Greece had entered the Euro under false pretenses and then borrowed far more than Greece can ever repay. Syriza is right that Greece’s debt problem is serious, and right that Greece’s solution may well be to default honestly and return to its former currency (the drachma), so that (after devaluation) Greece can be competitive in world markets. (Correction: Officially, Syriza wants to remain in the Euro. It’s just that no one else believes they can, if they’re serious about getting a haircut on Greece’s debt.)

The insane part is that Syriza calls their plans “an end to austerity”, “leaving austerity behind”, and so forth. The implication would be that, these last few years, Greece has buckled down and made painful, deep cuts to its public-sector spending. Yeah, except they haven’t.

When I last checked in 2013, Greece had still not made significant cuts to government spending after years of crisis and supposed austerity. (Update: figures say that Greece did cut spending in 2010-2012 and has already started to reverse the cuts. In 2014, Greece’s spending was near its all-time high from 2009.)

As I’ve explained before, “austerity” is just the Left’s code word to mean “We aren’t being allowed to spend wildly enough!” If government stays as big as ever – if government has merely a small pause or slowing of its growth – the Left screams about the horrible austerity.

Likewise, “ending austerity” is the Left’s code to mean they get to grow government again and basically have it consume the rest of the economy (whatever it doesn’t own already). That is what the Greeks just voted in. A party that (wisely) wants to provoke a crisis over Greece’s debt; so that it can (stupidly) have even moar of the high-spending, Big Government policies that bankrupted Greece in the first place.

Something tells me the Greeks are about to find out what austerity really is.

A Slow Clap for the Social Justice Warriors

Posted by V the K at 8:03 pm - January 5, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

Michigan’s Republican legislature and Republican governor just raised the state’s minimum wage because it was just easier to cave into progessivism than to explain to voters why raising the minimum wage was a bad idea. (And, besides, big business likes the minimum wage because it eliminates smaller competitors.)

As a result, a non-profit restaurant that helped struggling people at the bottom of the safety net is closing its doors and laying off its employees.

Mr. Mosley’s popular restaurant was a nonprofit and served as a training tool for participants in Life Challenge of Michigan, a nondenominational, faith-based organization he directs. Life Challenge, Mr. Mosley told me, is a refuge for people who have “bottomed out,” often due to alcohol and substance abuse. After a six-month period of detox and spiritual education, the program shifts to focus on practical skills, like building a budget, finding a job, and keeping a daily routine.

That’s what the restaurant helped provide. The staff at Tastes of Life was made up of recovering addicts, recently incarcerated individuals and others who would have a hard time landing a job elsewhere. Mr. Mosley explained that on-the-job offenses for which an employee would have been “gone that day” in a traditional work setting were instead used as training opportunities at Tastes of Life.

The restaurant had lost money in the past, and Mr. Mosley subsidized the operation through Life Challenge. But with the higher wage costs, the arrangement was no longer feasible, and Tastes of Life closed on Sept. 28. (The news was first reported in the Hillsdale Collegian.)

Yeah, raisin’ the minimum wage; real compassionate of you social justice warriors.

The NYTimes Solves the Economy

Posted by V the K at 10:51 am - January 5, 2015.
Filed under: Economy

The New York Times praises Government spending as the panacea for all that ails the economy.

On the front of today’s New York Times business section is a remarkable—or should I say remarkably unremarkable—news article whose entire premise, unchallenged in the course of 1,341 words and input from 10 sources, is that more government spending is a very good thing because it leads to more government jobs and therefore helps the economy. Hooray!

Increased Government spending does in fact cause growth in GDP — because Government spending is a *component* of the GDP. Which is like saying “I made 80,000 last year, but I ran up 20,000 in credit card debt, therefore, I made 100,000 dollars last year.”

But, according to the economists at the New York Times, confiscating the earnings of productive people and lavishing them on the unproductive via a Government intermediary is the ideal path to economic growth and prosperity and Government can grow indefinitely without any adverse consequences.

I can’t shake the feeling that this system may have been tried elsewhere.