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Maybe We Should Be a Bit More Like Somalia

Posted by V the K at 9:49 am - July 13, 2016.
Filed under: Free Enterprise

People of a conservative/libertarian persuasion believe that our current level of Government is overbearing, intrusive, and far too expensive to be sustainable; that it should be reduced in size to a level that doesn’t crush individual freedom or free enterprise, and is fiscally sustainable. (This is what the left calls “radical extremism.)

It’s a common trope on the left to respond to such a suggestion with, “Oh, so you HATE police, and fire protection, and infrastructure! Because those are things that only GOVERNMENT can provide. You must want to DESTROY the Government and live like SOMALIA!” Because to the left’s limited way of thinking, the only alternative to bloated, expensive, corrupt, bureaucratic, all-intrusive Government is the other extreme, anarchy. The idea of a limited Government, doing a limited number of necessary things is something the left is simply unable to conceptualize.


Getting back to Somalia; it actually turns out that Government is *not* necessary to provide basic infrastructure and private enterprise actually does it pretty well, given a chance; even in a dystopian warzone.

The cell phone is itself a key player in the two decades of civil war in Somalia. By 2000 clan militias and warlords had created enough stability to enable growth in commercial activity. For example, by 2004 three cell phone companies competed to provide service ($10 a month for free local calls, 50 cents a minute for international calls and 50 cents an hour to get on the Internet.) Each new cell phone transmitter installed required that the local clan chief or warlord get a payment. Everyone recognizes the value of the new phone service, after having gone without for years after the old government run phone company was looted and destroyed. As a result, phone company equipment really is protected by the clans and warlords, who do not want to lose their dial tone. The new phone service is cheaper and more reliable than the old government owned landline phone network. This is because there is competition, no government bureaucracy and no taxes (other than the necessary bribes and security payments). There is some fear that if a new government gets established well enough regulations and taxes will greatly increase the cost of service, and reduce reliability. Not yet and for years all of Somalia had better, and cheaper, phone service than any of the other nations in the region. But that’s another story. Even al Shabaab had to respect the cell phone network, even though they tried to shut down cell towers some of the time to avoid detection. Al Shabaab lost that battle. Cell phone service became one of the things nearly all Somalis would fight for.

Newsflash: Higher wages don’t come for free

Business 101: When paying an employee, you have to pay in line with their productivity.

  • If you underpay, you lose the employee.
  • If you overpay, you run up losses and lose your business.
  • If you raise the hourly wage, you must get more from each employee hour – and you must cut the hours/employees that won’t or can’t rise to the new, higher bar.

You may have seen the following last week, but I didn’t want to let it pass without comment. After raising wages over the last 18 months, Starbucks and its employees have been learning some lessons the hard way:

An online petition accus[es] Starbucks Corp of “extreme” cutbacks in work hours at its U.S. cafes…

[Starbucks] recently introduced technology that allows customers to order and pay from mobile devices. That service aims to…reduce bottlenecks in stores. [ed: reducing the number of employees needed per shift]

Starbucks has a software system that determines labor needs based on business trends…
Comments on the petition painted a picture of broad discontent at the company…
…many signers say they noticed cutbacks in U.S. staffing hours…
One central California store has seen its labor allotment shrunk by about 10 percent, even though sales are up…
“No matter what we do to save on labor at my store, the system tells us EVERY SINGLE DAY that we are at least 8 hours over in labor for the day and have to cut even more,” wrote [a petition] signer…

Like other restaurants and retail companies, Starbucks is wrestling with the effects of local minimum wage increases…tipping has fallen substantially amid broad customer adoption of the “Starbucks Rewards” program, which allows customers to pay with a loyalty card or mobile phones.

Suppose Starbucks gives in and boosts employee hours (arbitrarily; without a matching, widespread sales & productivity gain). What happens then? Operating budget overruns and closing stores. And/or price increases, declining sales, and closing stores. Perhaps eventually, a closing company. Thanks, Blue State lefties!

UPDATE: This oldie from The Guardian in 2014 may help us to see the problem:


Why gold is (real) money

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:15 pm - July 1, 2016.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Economy,Free Enterprise

In 1912, testifying before Congress, the banking giant J.P. Morgan famously said “Money is gold, nothing else.” The quote is often repeated in a fake-but-accurate form as “Gold is money, everything else is credit.”

On and off for 15 years, I’ve read/thought about why that is so; especially in view of the people (both Left and Right) who deny it. I thought I would lay out the answer for anyone with eyes to see.

According to the IMF, money is a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value. It arose as an improvement on barter.

Instead of having to directly barter my apples for your oranges, I would trade my perishable apples to some third party for a particular, third good. Wait…Why would I do that? I would do it if the third good is generic, non-perishable, popular (widely admired and valued), limited in supply, and easily handled and stored. Then I can KNOW that you’ll take it trade for your oranges, and the doctor will take it from you in trade for his services, and the baker from the doctor, and so on, forever.

Right there, we can see that real money is some physical good that society’s marketplace finds to be sufficiently generic, non-perishable, popular, supply-limited and easily moved/stored – so that the marketplace will use it as a medium of exchange, and then logically also as a unit of account and a store of value. It could be shells, cattle, salt, cigarettes. But most societies in human history found that silver and gold made the best money, and then mainly gold.

In technical terms, gold is money because it is the good that has the slowest-declining marginal utility.

In layman’s terms (saying much the same thing), gold is the most marketable and hoardable good; the one good that any sane trader would always want a little more of. Oil, apples, wheat, cattle, U.S. Treasury bonds, Bitcoin, Whitney Houston CDs, etc. are not like that.

“But gold is useless!” anti-gold people will say. “It’s a pet rock!” Sorry, but that is a feature not a bug (as they say in software engineering). The fact that gold isn’t needed for some other crucial use is ONE of the reasons why it is so hoardable, and became the most important money.

(Other reasons, shared partly but NOT entirely by silver, are that it’s beautiful and artistic, straight women love it, it’s enduring / corrosion-proof, it’s divisible, it’s ultra-generic as a mere element on the periodic table, it’s compact, it’s user-friendly because almost anyone can hold it and understand what it is, it’s somewhat rare but not too rare – and again, you’re always OK with owning a little more of it. But I digress.)

In the West today, gold is no longer currency. Currency is a representation of money that gets used in a modern country’s daily life. Originally, currency was claim checks (called banknotes) on actual gold or silver at a bank. But today, we use dollars, euro, yen, etc. And what are those things? They’re inventions of certain government-sponsored banks.

They come into existence by decree, or by the mere click of a keyboard; thus the term, “fiat currency”. In effect, a fiat currency is non-redeemable shares in a particular central bank’s assets. (Yes. On each central bank’s balance sheet, the currency + bank reserves that it has created are the major part of the Liabilities + Equity column.)

And what do central banks hold as assets? Lots of financial-system crap – including government bonds, sub-prime mortgage bonds (what caused the 2008 financial crisis), other currencies, and even company stocks (the Swiss central bank is big on Apple). Plus, some gold. The top central banks hold thousands of tons.

And of those central-bank assets, which is the best and most important? Hint: Gold is the only asset in the financial system that can ever be free of “counterparty risk”; that is, the only asset which isn’t also somebody else’s liability.

A bond is somebody else’s liability. It is good only if they stay solvent. A government bond is just the government promising to pay some fiat currency, subject to risks like default or hyperinflation. Central-bank gold does not have those risks. Which is why they value it, and why the “safer” or more-prestigious central banks tend to have larger gold reserves, which adds to their strength.

Thus, although the Western world no longer uses gold as currency, it is still the “pet rock” (or Rock of Gibraltar) upon which rest the key central banks, and so the entire financial system. As such, gold is real money. And everything else – from government bonds, all the way down to your bank account and the cash (the fiat currency) in your pocket – is, in the end, mere credit.


Competition and Capitalism Are Good For Your Soul

Posted by V the K at 10:32 am - September 24, 2015.
Filed under: Free Enterprise

In the area were I live, there are a number of different supermarket options. There’s a Kroger that’s nearly as nice as the Wegman’s “Back East,” and another Kroger that’s as a nasty as the Weis “back East.” There’s a chain of upscale fresh/organic supermarkets, clean and immaculate. And Another large supermarket is in the midst of a massive renovation and upgrade to keep up with the nice Kroger across town.

Someone like Bernie Sanders thinks this is a terrible waste of resources. Supermarkets remodeling when “children are going hungry?” Oh, how awful. And why do there need to be so many different options for people to get their food? And, you know, people don’t always make the kind of nutrition choices the Government would like them to.  Wouldn’t it be more efficient if food were simply distributed at plain gray warehouses by unionized Government employees. You would be assigned one food distribution center in your district and that would be the one you were required to use. (Or pay exorbitantly to use members-only markets accessible only to party apparatchiks and elites, like in the Soviet Union.) That would, the socialists believe, free up money for things like public education.

Leftists believe they know what’s best for everyone, but the philosophy they embrace is ultimately dehumanizing. Getting your allotment of rations from the State-Run Ration Distribution Center might possibly be more efficient if the system were run to the perfection leftists believe they can achieve (Spoiler Alert: they can’t and it wouldn’t be. Venezuela tried this, it doesn’t work). But in robbing people of the opportunity for choice and self-sufficiency, they also would make the world a far more drab and dreary place.

What Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, and Pope Francis are pushing is a philosophy that ultimately dehumanizes and crushes the soul.

America is number…12? 16? 49?

The U.S.A., once number one for economic freedom, has sunk to number 12 per the Heritage Foundation. (Top seven: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Chile.)

Somewhere, some leftist is going “Yeah cool! Because economic freedom sux!” Well then. The U.S.A., once number one as a place to be born, has sunk to number 16 in The Economist magazine’s more Europe-friendly rankings. (Compare to 1988 ranking, here.)

What about political-social freedoms, like freedom of the press? The U.S.A., once number one for that, has sunk to number 49. Behind South Africa, Slovenia, even Germany.

As Reporters Without Borders puts it:

In the United States, 2014 was marked by judicial harassment of New York Times investigative reporter James Risen in connection with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged under the Espionage Act with giving him classified information. US journalists are still not protected by a federal shield law that would guarantee their right not to name their sources or reveal other confidential information about their work. Meanwhile, at least 15 journalists were arbitrarily arrested during clashes between police and demonstrators protesting against black teenager Michael Brown’s fatal shooting…

And where would RPB rank us, if they could consider that our tax authority specially targets our domestic political dissidents (Tea Party conservatives)?

“Thanks, Obama!”

A Leftist and His Trust Fund Are Soon Parted

Posted by V the K at 1:32 pm - December 13, 2014.
Filed under: Free Enterprise

“A wise man can hear profit in the wind. ” — 22nd Rule of Acquisition


The Big Mac Index

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:22 am - November 24, 2014.
Filed under: Economy,Food,Free Enterprise

Some people consider the price of a McDonald’s “Big Mac” to be a reality check for what is happening to consumer prices. Why?

  • Fast food is widely consumed, outside “the one percent”. A Big Mac may be a price that real people pay often.
  • The price reflects not only food costs, but also costs for hourly labor and benefits, commercial real estate, transportation, energy, manufacturing equipment and packaging.
  • Until a few years ago, changes in the price of a Big Mac tracked changes in the government CPI (Consumer Price Index) fairly well.

In recent years, Big Macs have gone up rather more than the CPI. Why? Several different explanations could be put forward. The least likely explanation is that McDonald’s has suddenly become inefficient at making Big Macs.

Another possible explanation is that the government keeps toying with how it calculates CPI, looking for ways to understate consumer price inflation. That is, to hide it. Which is in the government’s direct, financial interest: that way, the government can make smaller inflation adjustments to Social Security, income tax brackets, inflation-indexed bonds, etc. Plus the political optics are better.

Courtesy of Forbes, Big Mac Index Shows Official CPI Underreports Inflation:

What is the graph saying?

  • In 1996, the average Big Mac cost $2.36.
  • Going by the government CPI (and assuming Big Macs are still a good reality check), the average Big Mac in 2013 should have cost $3.49.
  • But it really cost $4.33, which is a lot more. (The price virtually doubled in 17 years; and of the increase, nearly half is “unexpected” by the CPI.)
  • The increase started in the early Naughties, but more of it is recent, in the last six years.

So, whom do you believe? Our noble government which always looks out for you? Or your lyin’ eyes, when you go to buy a Big Mac?

I believe my eyes. I’m more likely to to hit Starbucks or In-N-Out Burger than McDonald’s; but in all 3 cases, I’m always a little shocked at how their prices have gone up from 10, 5 or even just 1-2 years ago. Poor people, who may eat at fast-food restaurants often, must really feel it.

Bonus question: Why would things have changed in the last six years? Who has been in charge of the government – that is, both the CPI calculation, and our general economic policies?

This is who plans our economy

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:14 pm - October 15, 2014.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Depression 2.0,Economy,Free Enterprise

Some might disagree with my view that the U.S. is a centrally-planned economy (and thus, non-capitalist; more of a social-fascist economy). But it is. A central planning board carefully rigs the three most important features of a large economy: its interest rates, its money supply, and the practices of its financial markets and banks.

Of course, that doesn’t mean our economy always co-operates with our brave central planners. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that our planners even have a clue. This chart (via ZH) shows some of their cluelessness:

It tells a story like this:

  • In 2009, they thought publicly forecast that they’d have interest rates back to normal by 2011.
  • In 2010, they publicly forecast that they’d be rigging up some normal rates by 2012.
  • And so on, with each new year. Today, they forecast having normal rates by 2016-17.

These are some of the very people (*cough* Janet Yellen) who had no clue that the 2008 Global Financial Crisis was coming.

As to the economy: If it were recovering (for real) all these years, interest rates would indeed have been back to normal by 2010-11. But our economy hasn’t been recovering much, all these years. Just the markets. (Oh, wait.)

A miracle: French Nobel laureate makes sense…almost

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 10:07 pm - October 14, 2014.
Filed under: Economy,Free Enterprise,Liberal Integrity

From France24 (via Zero Hedge):

Hours after he won the economics Nobel Prize, [Jean] Tirole said he felt “sad” the French economy was experiencing difficulties…

France is plagued by record unemployment and Tirole described the French job market as “catastrophic”…arguing that the excessive protection for employees had frozen the country’s job market.

“We haven’t succeeded also in downsizing the state, which is an issue because we have a social model that I approve of – I’m very much in favour of this social model – but it won’t be sustainable if the state is too big,” he added…there will not be “enough money to pay for it in the long run”.

He doesn’t quite make the connection, that a social model which is unsustainable (his notion) is not any sort of model that any economist should “approve” of.

But for awhile there, he almost made sense.

If you live long enough, you’ll see everything

Apple, Facebook will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc and Facebook Inc will help pay for female employees to freeze their eggs…

From January, Apple will pay both full- and part-time employees up to $20,000 for procedure and storage costs for female employees to freeze their eggs.

“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.

I’m pretty sure that Apple already covered its employees’ *medical fertility problems*. (If that’s mistaken, please correct me in the comments.) Something else must be new here. What is it?

Could it be, a benefit for egg-freezing as a pure career move? Let’s see:

“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.”

NBC News reported on Tuesday that Facebook recently began covering egg-freezing for non-medical reasons…

Egg freezing is a pricey but increasingly popular option for women. It enables women to delay child bearing…

A sign of the times. Now that Facebook/Apple woman can freeze her eggs at 30, work years of 80 hour weeks, and then at 50 when she’s pulling 300K a year (and naturally infertile), pay a surrogate to do that other part of her life for her – you know, having kids from her eggs.

Honestly, I see nothing wrong with it – if she’s doing it all with her own money. The issue I see here is, Apple and Facebook are choosing to engage in a form of discrimination against their employees who don’t make (or shall we say, don’t need to make) that particular, optional choice.

Remember, the money comes from somewhere: the overall “employee comp” budget. Rather than pay tens of thousands of dollars for a hugely *optional* procedure for a special category of employee, why would Facebook/Apple not raise all employees’ bonuses by (say) a thousand dollars? That would empower far more women (and men, and transgenders) and be much more fair.

The free market will (or should) ultimately decide if Apple and Facebook have done the right thing here. In the meantime, some people appear not to grasp that freezing your eggs – purely as a career move – is optional:

“Egg freezing gives women more control,” said Jennifer Tye, marketing lead for Glow, a mobile application aimed at helping women avoid pregnancy or conceive.

“When I turned 30, I had this notion that my biological clock was ticking, but I didn’t know what my options were,” said Tye.

Really? At 30, she didn’t know what her options were? I hope she was misquoted; if not, it’s mind-boggling stupidity.

Pro-business or pro-market?

Jonah Goldberg makes a great distinction:

…the difference between being pro-business and pro-market is categorical. A politician who is a “friend of business” is exactly that, a guy who does favors for his friends. A politician who is pro-market is a referee who will refuse to help protect his friends (or anyone else) from competition unless the competitors have broken the rules. The friend of business supports industry-specific or even business-specific loans, grants, tariffs, or tax breaks. The pro-market referee opposes special treatment for anyone.

Goldberg’s point is that the GOP must make up its mind about which one it is. Pro-business is crony capitalism, venture socialism and Big Government as we know it today. Pro-market is more the Tea Party putting real checks on Washington. Goldberg describes the GOP’s dilemma in more detail; RTWT.

To make my view clear: I am not pro-business, I am absolutely pro-market. The mentality that the economy would boom (and America would be great again) if only we could vote in smart people to tinker with the economy in good ways – if only the Republicans had power to do better Washington-y things than the Democrats do – that mentality is part of what has gotten America into a hole.

The truth is, nothing that government does to rig interfere with markets and business outcomes is ever much good. It never turns out anything as well as the politicians said it would, and never as well as what markets – that is, free people – could do, if left to their own devices.

Recovery for the One Percent

To continue my series on this, I’ve been accumulating chart links. There are so many, especially on Zero Hedge which has great coverage. I’ll make some introductory remarks, then show the charts.

As a capitalist, I have no objection to the good inequality that investors, employers and consumers award by their actions in the marketplace. The problem is inequality awarded by force or fraud. That includes crime of course; but the systemic problems in our economy today arise, sooner or later, from *government force* and fraud. Under President Obama – and our nut-job economic planners at the Federal Reserve – we have more government intervention than ever. We also have more inequality. It can’t be a coincidence.

I believe that Obama likes it on some level, because the more inequality there is, the more he can offer (still more) government intervention as the alleged “solution”. While our problems did not start with Obama, he has exploited and worsened them because inequality of power – taking ever-greater amounts of power away from the People, giving ever-more power to the Party/bureaucrats/government – is the deep tendency of the State, and as well, the deep goal of the Left.

I could talk about the explosion of welfare dependency under Obama, which rapes the “working poor” (among others) for the sake of the “lazy poor”. But my focus today is on the rape of the middle class for the so-called “One Percent”, the wealthier people who gain from our government-planned economy and government-rigged markets.

The charts show that under Obama, U.S. income inequality has increased and may be the biggest it’s ever been.

Under Obama, U.S. income inequality is the greatest it's ever been

More charts: (more…)

FYI: Add McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Visa to the List of Things You’re Supposed to Hate

The gay left wants you to be super-mad at McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Visa for sponsoring the Sochi Olympics, and not because McDonald’s killed the McRib, Coca-Cola tastes like battery acid, and a Visa affiliate is still employing Alec Baldwin. The usual suspects… Mr Michelangelo Signorile, Mr. Dan Savage, and Mr Jon Avarosis are, of course, totes apoplectic.

Hey, @McDonalds: You’re sending while goons wearing Olympic uniforms assault LGBT people.

So, everybody has to hate McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, now, in addition to Hate Chicken, Hobby Lobby, and all those other things and people political correctness requires you to hate. However, it still okay… and indeed, politically correct… to support the Iranian Government, sharia law, and the Palestinian Authority; all of which carry out regular acts of real brutality against gheys but get a total pass from the left because shut up.

What If A&E Were a Bakery…

Posted by V the K at 12:36 am - December 29, 2013.
Filed under: Free Enterprise,Free Speech

One of the more interesting things to happen since the ‘Duck Dynasty’ drama moved in to fill the void in a very slow holiday news cycle is that the left suddenly became champions of employers’ rights. Employers may not have the right to refuse to provide employees with free contraception, according to the left, but they sure do have the right to fire and punish people who make GLAAD all mad and stuff.

But what if the scenario were different? What if A&E were a bakery that, as a matter of company policy, did not provide cakes for same sex weddings. And what if Phil Robertson were an employee of that company who spoke out against that policy and was fired. Would GLAAD and the left still champion an employer’s right to fire an employee simply for saying things the management disagreed with?

For people who are intellectually consistent, the rights of the employer would not change based on the content of the speech. However, one cannot help but think that the left would respond differently if a different ox were being gored.


Fellow taxpayers: we’re fools

Could be a hoax, but doesn’t sound like one:

YouTube Preview Image

…To all you workers out there preaching morality about those of us who live on welfare… can you really blame us? I get to sit around all day, visit my friends, smoke weed.. and we are still gonna get paid, on time every month…

If I was in a position where I had to work, that might be a different story…

The Soviet Union used to have a slogan, “He who does not work shall not eat”. Though aimed at the bourgeoisie, in tough times it was also applied to the lazy. In other words, the communists were tougher on non-working healthy people than we are.

Via Zero Hedge, who previously noted “the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”

Recovery for the One Percent: Record inequality

To “celebrate” Dow 16000 and S&P 1800, both of which the stock market just hit intra-day, I’ve gathered a few links on rising economic inequality in the U.S. A few remarks first, to set context.

As a capitalist, I have no problem with inequality – when it comes about for the right reasons, that is, when sovereign consumers have awarded it by their actions in free markets. The problem is that, under President Obama, we have inequality for the wrong reasons.

Obama puts government in control of more and more of the economy, and he has the Federal Reserve bailing out the biggest players on Wall Street (as well as the government) and goosing the financial markets ever higher. That doesn’t come for free.

Whenever someone is bailed out, somebody else was “bailed in”; somebody else lost wealth (or purchasing power). Obama’s policies stealth-transfer it from the wages, pensions, savings and balance sheets of productive people to those who happen either to (1) receive government spending, or/and (2) own financial assets (stocks, bonds, etc.).

Many of those are productive people; but many are not and, in any event, everyone should have to earn wealth the real way, by pleasing their employer or their customers in the market. None merit bailouts. No one deserves government-orchestrated wealth transfers (stealthy or otherwise). No one.

I want small government, natural rights under Rule of Law, sound money and free markets because they are both moral and populist. They form the only moral social system (the only system that lets people be free and doesn’t steal from them, or enslave them). And, as a consequence of being moral, they form the only practical system where masses of deserving poor and middle-class people can and will get ahead.

The Big Lie of Leftism is that leftism somehow stands for the People, or the little guy. It doesn’t. As we see today with President Obama’s policies, producing a result of record inequality – for all the wrong reasons.

OK, now for some data. First, via Marc Faber and Zero Hedge, here is household net worth by wealth percentile:

household net worth by wealth percentile

You can see that, in the last six years, the share of wealth held by the bottom 75% has plunged from 12.7% to barely 10%. (more…)

Fables of the Living Wage; or, How the Middle Class Became the Radical Fringe

Blogger Matt Walsh cuts through the nonsense about everyone deserving a living wage.

I was arguing about the minimum wage with someone recently. Halfway through the discussion, she forcefully proclaimed that “everyone deserves a living wage.”

I hear this idea quite a bit nowadays. There’s a lot of deserving going on, apparently. Everyone seems to deserve everything. We deserve a job. We deserve affordable housing. We deserve a phone. We deserve cable TV. We deserve internet access. We deserve higher wages. We deserve. We deserve. We deserve.

Is everyone qualified for a job? Is everyone worthy of one? Does everyone have a claim to a job? If you have a claim to something, that means you are owed it. So if I’m automatically owed a job, who, precisely, is in my debt? All business owners? So I suppose I can walk into an interview, plop down on the chair, put my feet up on the desk, light a cigar and shout, “I’m here to collect my debt!”

You are encouraged to read the whole thing.

I would expand on his point. In most any Sheetz or Wawa in the eastern part of this country, you can order a meal not by talking to a person but by entering selections on a touch screen. When people are demanding $15.00 an hour to do something a machine does for pennies… the machines have a real leg up in the job market.

It has come to this because is a very sizable contingent of voters in this country who believe that politics is a legitimate means to lay claim to the wealth possessed by others; that they “deserve” it.

The ruling political party is backed by moneyed interests (Media/Academia/Owners of Inherited Wealth) who know nothing of what it is to earn a living through hard work, conscientious budgeting, and striving to avoid making bad choices. Their foot soldiers are the Low Information Voters (Free Sh-t Army) who are dependent on Government benefits and who count on Government to save them from the consequences of their bad choices.

This is why the Middle Class Values championed by the Tea Party — keeping what you earn, a Government that is no larger than necessary and held accountable for its actions, the encouragement of self-reliance — are now derided as “radical” and “fringe” values. The Democrat Party and its constituencies simply cannot relate to them.

Democrat mainstream values are now EBT cards, Obamaphones, and demanding a “living wage” for a job that can be done by a touch screen.

Boehner rejects ENDA

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:55 pm - November 5, 2013.
Filed under: Free Enterprise,Gay America,Gay Victimization

From Reuters:

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Monday opposed a bill to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, dimming the chances of the White House-backed measure becoming law.

“The speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs,” Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome in the comments. Here are mine. I agree that ENDA should be rejected, for the following reasons.

CA has had an anti-gay discrimination law for decades, which I supported, only then to see it mis-used. Without getting into details, I saw one friend use it to shake down employer after employer every couple of years, as each new one found out that he wasn’t a very good employee (regardless of his being gay). I also saw a good person suffer an anti-gay discrimination lawsuit whose allegations were wholly, boldly invented. (The suit failed in the end, but the lengthy process itself was a form of harm.)

Perhaps there are real cases of discrimination against good employees that these laws help to redress; but I’ve seen more that these laws empower lawyers – and grifters, liars and con artists. The broader point would be that these laws violate rights to property and to free association.

Just as an employee should be free to quit and move on to any employer who may want them, an employer should be free to fire any employee who works for them. The employer-employee relationship should be a private relationship between consenting adults; a relationship that either side can end at will. Laws which burden/restrict that are laws which violate people’s rights, opening the door to injustices of the kind I’ve outlined (and more).

Now, the reasons for opposing anti-discrimination laws (which might better be called “lawyer empowerment laws”) that I’ve just laid out, are not gay-specific. They work against these laws in general. Catching onto that, some people will respond: OK, but we do have these laws covering race, gender, religion, national origin, age, etc…why not add sexual orientation? As a longtime believer in equality-before-the-law for gays and straights, I don’t think that’s a terrible response. I am sympathetic to it.

But I keep coming back to the fact that two wrongs don’t make a right. That we have these laws to begin with, is a wrong; and we won’t escape the wrongness by broadening these laws to cover more and more categories. We should be looking, if anything, to reduce the categories.

RELATED (from Dan):  I had been planning on post on ENDA largely along the lines of the arguments Walter Olson makes here.  Just read the whole thing.

(And from Jeff): The heart of Olson’s argument is his last paragraph:

…At what point do we say no to future demands that protected-group status be accorded to employees based on political and controversial systems of belief, physical appearance (the “looksism” issue), family responsibilities, résumé gaps because of unemployment or other reasons, or use of lawful products or engagement in lawful activities in off hours—to name just a few…? If we say yes to all, we introduce a new presumption—familiar from the prevailing labor law in parts of Europe—that no employer should be free to terminate or take other “adverse action” against an employee without being prepared to show good cause to a judge. That is exactly the goal of some thinkers on the Left, but it should appall believers in a free economy.

Great point. ENDA is, in the end, just the next small step in the Left’s incremental strategy to make a society where no economic actions are private or unfettered; the politicians, judges, lawyers and bureaucrats rule all.

The vengeful greed – and stupidity – of today’s liberals

As Obamacare inflicts serious rate hikes on most consumers, quotes like the following are making the rounds:

In his story, reporter Chad Terhune also quoted a letter sent to a California insurance company executive. “I was all for Obamacare,” wrote a young woman complaining about a 50 percent rate hike related to the health care law, “until I found out I was paying for it.”

At first glance, one may admire the speaker’s sharp tongue. She gets to the heart of the matter.

But what is she really saying? That she wants to be generous with Other People’s Money. Not hers! For her, the key moral and emotional transaction in politics is to make herself feel good by having government take from others; by literally making others pay.

She also reveals that she has no idea how life works. She seriously thought that health care could be made “free” (i.e., sick people heavily subsidized, in inefficient exchanges that the government forces people to be in against their will) without herself having to pay the price for it, sooner or later, in some form.

I propose a politics where people are free to choose, and to keep most of what they earn.

  • If they choose to spend their lives productively, they keep most of the results (and can give to others, if they wish to).
  • If they choose not to spend their lives productively, then they bear most the consequences (although they will probably still find help from family, friends, and pro bono doctors/clinics, not limited to emergency rooms).
  • Life’s transactions are voluntary – requiring both sides to feel they’re gaining in some way, or else the transaction doesn’t happen – and, as such, tend to get cheaper and more efficient over time.

Everyone wins. Except, perhaps, the short-sighted and the vengeful.

Rand: Right again?

Not ‘that Rand’ (although he is often right), but the other one.

Many have noted how life today has come to resemble the corrupt, ever-decaying crony socialism depicted in Ayn Rand’s lengthy second dystopian novel. Now it’s even coming to resemble the demented communalism of her first dystopia, Anthem.

Anthem depicts a frightening future society which has de-valued the individual, replacing “I” (or “me”) with devotion to “We” in every possible aspect of life. The society’s philosophy is captured in sayings like these:

We are one in all and all in one. There are no men but only the great WE: one, indivisible and forever.

We are nothing. Mankind is all. By the grace of our brothers are we allowed our lives. We exist through, by and for our brothers who are the State. Amen.

Some people might agree with the above sentiments, for real. Have you ever heard of We Day? Watch the video at the link; it shows a vast, cheering orgy of thousands of “Me to We” activists celebrating their awesome We-ness.

Mixed in with calls to help The Children, some of the speakers bark sentiments and commands that would fit well in Rand’s dystopia. Just upgrade the event’s arena another notch (fill it with another 20,000 people) and it will start to resemble the North Korean Mass Games.

As for their desire to feed hungry children: Don’t get me wrong, of course that’s nice. I’m all for people helping other people – at their own expense.

But this gang (featuring Al Gore, for example) shows no understanding of what it would take to actually feed the world’s children. What it would take is: universal protection for individual rights to life, liberty and property under the rule of law – so that productive people, working hard for their own gain (not for the great “We”), will then produce, sell and distribute food on a large-enough scale.

More kids go hungry in countries that habitually interfere with production and trade; countries that don’t respect the individual who works to support her own life, liberty and property. Sadly, the Left has turned America into one of those countries, which means we will be cursed with increasing poverty and hunger in years to come.