Saturday, November 22, 2014

It isn’t about the immigrants. It's About The Power

It isn't about the immigrants or immigration. If it were, then it would have been done during the first two years of the current administration when the president and the sizable majorities in both houses of Congress that he controlled were of a like mind. It would have been a trivial matter for them to have put together legislation that would have accomplished all of the president’s stated goals. However, passing comprehensive immigration reform is far from being even one of the president’s real goals. The president’s real goal is to use any and all means available to divide the public up into groups and sub groups so that they can be more easily pandered to separately, set against their neighbors, and to weaken conservatives and the Constitutional form of government that they are trying so desperately to preserve.

Progressives have a long term goal, and have had for over a hundred years along with strategies for achieving that goal which is the destruction of the United States government and its reformation as a progressive socialist utopia ruled by the educated class.

The first and arguably the most damaging step in the reformation was the promotion and ratification of the seventeenth amendment to the Constitution providing for the direct election of Senators. Sold on a socialist narrative of class warfare and the trope that big moneyed interests controlled the selection process at the state level the selection process was changed to mirror that of representatives. The federal government was formed by the several states, but as of 1911 the states themselves have no representation to the very government that they formed.

What progressives have in mind is not the government “of the people by the people and for the people” that was envisioned by and provided for by the framers of the Constitution, but a government of the people by the Ivy League educated elite governing class. Things are just too complicated in modern times for the average person to know what the “right thing” is and so the average people need someone to make those decisions for them. Progressives want to make those decisions.

Progressives will make the argument that the Constitution is an arcane document with little or no relevance in today’s fast paced society. It’s a bit odd that that was the exact argument they made 100 years ago. They are also wont to describe the Constitution as a “living, breathing document”, but this is just not the case. The Constitution is the foundation of our entire society. It’s the rule book. The Constitution is written in plain English so that everyone could understand it, but this is not to say that it should never be changed. In fact the framers recognized that the nation would change and that it might be necessary to allow for that by expanding the foundation. The procedure for amending the Constitution laid out in Article V is quite simple, but it’s an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. It was meant to be difficult. The difficulty was meant to foster stability, to prevent chicanery and capricious actions, and even with that safeguard built in we managed to gift ourselves the 17th and 18th amendments, one taking representation to the federal government away from the states and the other to make it illegal to produce, transport, or sell alcoholic beverages within the borders. The folly of the 18th became obviously fairly quickly and it was repealed with the 21st. The Seventeenth is a toxic cancer still waiting excision.

Everyone knows that the immigration system in the United States is dysfunctional. People like to call it “broken”, but it’s no more broken than a mint Model T with a lift kit and sub woofers. It was never meant to do what is now asked of it and has never been adequately modified. The problems with the system are easily fixed. Easily. The reason they have not been fixed is that the issue is too easily used by politicians as a cudgel against their opponents. Progressives accuse republicans of being heartless and republicans claw for power by accusing their rivals of being in favor of an “amnesty”. And now the president is using the issue to usurp the powers of Congress maintaining that if the divided representatives of the people can’t agree then he has the authority to act.

Currently, another part of the problem is the congressional tendency to try and pass sweeping “comprehensive” legislation. This is a mistake. A piece of legislation that has one goal can not have too many interlocking, interdependent parts. Such pieces of legislation ALWAYS contain onerous provisions buried deep where no light shines and no one expects for all of the parts of the new laws to actually work. Everyone expects the executive branch to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” and simply ignore the portions of the law that it doesn’t agree with. This has become the norm, and an administration can enforce only a part of the law and still make the claim that they are following their oaths. The current administration has so damaged the credibility of the federal executive that it may never be repaired with its now exposed and indisputable lies about the PPACA and how that legislation was promoted and passed, the weaponization of the IRS and Departments of Justice and Energy along with the EPA and Bureau of Land Management. Even the National Park Service has been made into a political tool, placing barriers around outdoor monuments to keep people out and foment resentment.

Multiple, short, easily read and understood laws will solve the problems with the immigration system. 1) Border control. 2) Reform of the immigration infrastructure to make it capable of handling the volume of applications expected for permanent residence and work visas. 3) Strict implementation of an employment verification scheme. These things alone would stem the tide of illegal immigrants at our borders. These steps could be implemented tomorrow, but of course they will not because the politicians still need the cudgel, and they need it because the Senate and House of Representatives are now identical bodies selected by the same people with the same motives. To expect a sharply divided electorate to elect anything but a sharply divided Congress is simply not rational.

It’s not about the immigrants. It’s about the power.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CAPS LOCK WOMAN

So this is how it played out. Bill had come home from work and was puttering around the apartment doing some general clean up (the odd dish here and glass over there) and having a bowl of corn chips to get him through until dinner. Bob simultaneously knocked on, and came through the door.

Hey.

Hey

Hey, have you seen Jessie this afternoon? He was supposed to meet me but he didn’t show.

Bill hesitated a little, but kept on puttering. Finally he said

um, well, um…… yeah, well, um Jessie’s dead.

yeah, whatever. Where’s he at?

No I’m serious man. He’s dead.

Cut it out man, that’s not even funny.

No shit it’s not funny, but I seen him, and he’s dead.

What the hell? What happened? When?

Murdered man. Broad daylight. Right down the street at the café.

Murdered? Who?

Cops said that thought it was that serial killer.

Serial killer? What serial killer?

What? Have you been living under a rock or what? That lady serial killer…. CAPS LOCK WOMAN. She sends emails to guys, all in caps, and they wind up dead. Some real anger there.

What the hell are you talking about? How does something like this happen?

Oh well it happened all right and now Jessie’s dead.

Started a couple of months ago. Maybe three I don’t know. Jessie met this chick in a chat room….

Chat room chicks are bad news man

Yeah well, seems like that’s some information you could have dropped off ahead of time….

Yeah well, I ain’t made no secret of it

Yeah whatever… you wanna hear this or not? Any way, he’s chatt’n this chick up on the internet and it got to be a regular thing. Got to the point where he wasn’t watching much TV or anything else. At first it was every few days or so and it just got to be more and more. Last night I think they were on until 4:00 in the morning or some shit like that. Stupid.

So was it one of those cyber sex deals?

Pretty sure, the cops took his computer. But it wasn’t just that though… it was sort of weird.

Weird? What do you mean weird?

Well, it’s like I told the police. They’d have arguments and shit. He’d yell at the screen and talk about how she was being a total bitch and an hour later he’d be typing some dopy apology and an hour after that they’d be writing crotch poetry. Weird. I talked with her a few times when he was gone and she seemed okay, but she was like hyper sensitive and prone to going off on me about my being so insensitive about the stupidest stuff and how could I make a comment like that on HER page and that shit got old REAL quick. Sometimes she’d go to shouting with capital letters.

Shouting? What do you mean?

Shouting. You know…. using capital letters. Looks like you’re shouting? Heard of it?

Yeah, I suppose. I don’t email much.

Well, Jessie won’t be emailing much from now on. I really didn’t think much about it. Everyone that emails much uses caps for emphasis. Anyway, I just didn’t think much about it at the time.

You said that

Yeah well I didn’t, like I told the cops.

So how’d he wind up dead?

Yeah, yeah….. She’d get sullen every now and again and he just wrote it off to the regular hysteria you know?

Hysteria?

You know? Hysteria? That woman thing…. comes around periodically?

mm

Yeah, well, he told me he thought he was seeing a pattern. It never seemed obvious to me, but he thought he could sort of predict it. Anyway, they must have had a lot to talk about as much time as they spent on-line. Wouldn’t have been worth it to me, but then I wasn’t the one getting the cyber boinkefits.

Boinkefits? What the hell is boinkefits?

Boinkefits. Cyber sex? Boink?

boink.. Oh that’s fresh.

Yeah, cyber boink, friends with benefits. Boinkefits. Anyway, I don’t see what he was gett’n out of the deal….. or her for that matter. I know for a fact Jessie wasn’t that smooth a talker.

Yeah well maybe his font was bigger than yours.

Yeah, very funny. Anyway a couple of days ago they decided to get together and have coffee or something and today was it. I didn’t think anything of it.

You said that.

Well I DIDN’T. I came in this afternoon and was moving around and Jessie’s lap top was on the table there and then all the sudden it hit me

What?

Her last email was all caps just like the serial killer. I don’t know if he just didn’t see it or what. I ran out of here as fast as I could and down to the café but by the time I got there they were cleaning up and taking witness’s names.

What the hell happened? What could happen at the café?

Hey, I talked to one of the waiters and he said it looked like any other afternoon date at one of the sidewalk tables. They met, hugged, sat down and seemed to be having a normal conversation and then all of the sudden people inside noticed that she was standing up screaming at him and the next thing they new she was hacking at his neck with a rat tail comb. You know they say it’s best to let a puncture wound bleed. I guess that doesn’t work for your jugular.

No. I suppose not.

Anyway, she worked him over like some sort of killing machine and then just vanished up the sidewalk. Someone thought she was wearing a wig, but no one really got a good look at her.

That is just too weird man.

Too weird doesn’t begin to describe it my friend. Hey, where ya go’n?

I think I’ll go and change the security settings on my email account.

That sounds like it may be a plan

What are you gonna do tonight?

Ehh, I’ve been invited to a new discussion group on facebook. Looks like lots of handsome women. How can I not?

Oh yeah, and you can tell that from their…….. “profile pictures”?

True blue, every one.

From the lips of dead men to the ears of the living. Sounds like CAPS LOCK WOMAN suddenly has an opening in her schedule to me man. I gotta go.

And with that, Bob opened the door and left, leaving Bill alone once again logging on.

He looked over his shoulder self consciously, typed in the familiar log in and then did a quick friend search and clicked on the picture.

the box popped up and he typed "was it you?"

The response was almost immediate, like it had already been typed and was lying there just waiting for the pinky on the [Enter] key.

Was WHAT me?

You know. Jessie.

"Jasmine is typing" it said

Yeah, about Jessie. I was supposed to meet him this afternoon. WHERE THE HELL WAS HE?

He cringed as the large letters popped off the page at him.

I figured you knew.

Knew what?

You don’t know?

DID I ASK YOU??

Bill’s face flushed and his ears warmed as he looked at the words. He thought of the moment when he saw that last email on Jessie’s terminal and realized it had been in all caps.

Uh yeah. Sorry. Jessie’s dead.

Don’t be silly.

No, I’m serious.

Seriously? OMG! That’s terrible! You must feel awful.

And then there it was.s

“Meet me for coffee”, she wrote, “you can tell me all about it”.



Monday, November 17, 2014

They'll Come To Take Your Church Bells

So here we are, in the Christmas season again. Time for Santa Claus and lighted trees and nativities to spring up at court houses all over the country. ACLU lawyers are still able to sleep, but only fitfully and only for another week or so.

I can’t help but wonder how long will it be before an effort is made to outlaw, make illegal, or make socially unacceptable the ringing of church bells in America because it “might” make some very small minority feel uncomfortable?, or just as likely irritate some bitter person who was neglected as a child. And just how much of a stretch can that be, because unlike on radio where the signal travels unheard and unseen on the public airwaves, from the sound of a bell, there is, quite literally, no escape. One has no choice but to hear it. One cannot, as with a display at the courthouse, turn away, chose not to look, or cross the street. One cannot choose not to hear a bell.

And what to do about the omnipresent, architecturally significant churches in some communities? Some cities have made it a point of pride, part of their civic identity. (More churches per capita than anywhere else in the US) (that would be Christian Churches)

So do Muslim, atheist, Hindu, or Shinto minorities have a reason to feel uncomfortable with this public display of religion? Do they feel in some way endangered? And if so, do they have a right to some sort of relief from this sonic persecution?

And if they require some redress, if they require for their peace of mind that our church bells be silenced, will we then require the same public silence of our religious neighbors. Will we require that they refrain from the singing or playing the call to prayers from their minarets?

Or would that be considered an act of religious oppression?

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

The Seventeenth

“The U.S. Congress is gridlocked”. “The Congress can’t get anything done”. You hear these phrases and many like them almost every day. You also hear the president say things like “the Congress won’t act, so I will”. Never mind that he has no legal authority to step around the Congress. If the framers had meant for him to have, and the Constitution gave him that authority the establishment of the legislature would have been quite unnecessary. If we want to solve the issue of Congressional or governmental gridlock it seems that we must first determine the cause of said same. We must begin by asking ourselves the question: “Why do we have governmental gridlock?”

Everyone is familiar with the three legged stool analogy for the structure of the U.S. government, with the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative functions being the three legs of the stool. The Legislature is further divided into two parts, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

When the government was being formed, there in the sweltering summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, the questions were asked: in a federation of states, how will the people be represented? How will the states be represented? Even then it was a collection of diverse states, some being large some small, some having large urban populations and some being more sparsely populated and mostly rural. What was a way in which equal representation could be provided to all parties? It was called the “Great Compromise” and it provided that there would be not one, but two parts of the legislature. One, the House of Representatives, would provide representation to the federal government of the public, and would be made up of delegates directly elected by the populations of the several states based on how many people resided in each one. The other, the Senate, would provide equal representation of each state to the federal government and would be selected by the legislatures of those states. The terms of the Representatives were to be two years, and Senators six.

This scheme was to carry the angry, hot, emotional blood of the public to the government through their directly elected Representatives and the more deliberate will of the several states, whose Senators would be selected by state legislators who would themselves be directly elected by members of the public to the Capitol. The idea was both to provide equal representation to the several states and to temper the immediate desires of the public. The demands of a sharply divided electorate would be moderated and directed by the states.

But in 1911 the 17th amendment to the Constitution which provides for the direct election of Senators was ratified and put into force. It was put forward that a directly elected Senate would be less corrupt and more responsive to public demands. One might argue that the desired result has not been achieved.

And so now here we are. A century has passed since the ratification of the 17th amendment. Many people, most perhaps, aren’t even aware of its existence. The states have gone one hundred years without any means to direct or control the federal government that they formed for the benefit of their citizens, and we have a sharply divided, some would say “gridlocked”, national legislature that perfectly represents a sharply divided angry, hot, and emotional electorate. In short, we are now experiencing the effects of actions our great grandparents took a century ago.

Isn’t it now time to admit to ourselves that they made a mistake? Isn’t it now time to repeal the 17th amendment, the same way we did the 18th ending prohibition, and restore federal representation to the states. Isn’t it time to end the gridlock?

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.


The Predictable Lie Of Net Neutrality

So now the president has come out in favor of “Internet Neutrality” and he’s made a point to say that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency and will arrive at its own decisions about how to proceed, a statement which one wants to respond to with a cynical “mm hm”.

The idea as it is put forward is to guarantee the free flow of data across the internet without allowing large companies to get preferred access to high speed services. Proponents continually speak of the big corporations and how they must be controlled. They say that the internet needs to be regulated like any other public utility. Like electricity. It sounds so reasonable. This is a false narrative on several different levels.

To begin with, public utilities charge larger users much much less than residential users. Larger users are easier to supply, and are more reliable and consistent customers for whatever the utility might me.

Secondly, this is the same president who made the statement that “too much information could be a distraction, a diversion" that it can put "pressure on our country and on our democracy." Seriously? Because I’ve always heard that knowledge is power. But then it seems that the governmental goal in this case is the limitation of power by the limitation of information.

And lastly, can you believe ANYTHING that you hear coming out of Washington DC these days? Politifact awarded the president the award for the Biggest Lie Of The Year of 2013. And now publicly recorded video of Jonathan Gruber (an MIT economics professor and major contributor to the 2000 page monstrosity known colloquially as 0bamaCare) is surfacing in which he details the foundation of lies that the legislation rests on. Each lie is detailed (like a serial killers unashamed confessions) from the original goal to the rational and particulars. They include and showcase the arrogant elitist view that Americans are just too stupid and uniformed to make a rational decision given the relevant information. It’s actually quite breathtaking.

The reason I mention 0bamaCare in relation to the policy charade of Net Neutrality are the lies that underpin everything that the current administration is attempting to do. If you’re one of the 86% of Americans who likes their health care, nothing will change. Every family will see a savings of $2,400 per year. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your plan you can keep your plan. This is NOT a tax. It takes effect on this date. No. It takes effect on THIS date. No. THIS date. We’re going to tax union policies. No. Not for several more years yet. ALL LIES. All deliberate, committee crafted, focus grouped tested lies told for the sole purpose of doing what the elite governing class knows is best and nationalizing what was once the best, most highly respected health care system in the world. Government OF the people BY the elite political class.

Back to Internet Neutrality. Many Americans have a deep seated mistrust of large companies (painstakingly developed over the years by the entertainment industry and the progressive education establishment) and this mistrust is being used against us now in order to take control of the internet. Everyone recognizes the irony in the phrases “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”, and “there’s no problem so simple that the government can’t make it worse”, or “If the government were put in charge of the Sahara Desert, in ten years there’d be a sand shortage”. Everyone KNOWS that you can’t win at Three Card Monte and yet the American people keep paying to try and find that Ace. We keep clapping our hands to show we believe, clicking our heels together and hoping that when we open our eyes something will have happened and the obvious lies will all turn out to have been true. But as long as we willingly go along with the open and undeniable lies and deception the result will always be the same.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

The Strategy Is Succeeding

There it is. I just heard it again. The 0bama administration keeps claiming that their strategy in Iraq and Syria is being successful while its military advisers, both active and retired, are saying that it is not and can not be, reporters are pointing out that the statements are in direct conflict with reported events and even progressive pundits are beginning to question. People are beginning to question the credibility of the Press Secretary, of the State Department, the Centers for Disease Control and the federal government in general. They are wrong to question the administration. The administrations goals ARE being achieved; it’s only that people weren’t paying attention when those goals were laid out.

The president was goaded into drawing his now famous “Red Line” in Syria daring the Assad regime to use chemical weapons. It is most likely that he never expected those weapons to be unpacked. When they were he had the political, moral, and legal authority to act on his own, but he chose instead to approach the Congress for support which was predictably refused. Oh well, he tried. The administration was asked to arm Syrian rebels to try and ease the slaughter of many tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Syria but declined. They watched and did nothing as the intelligence reports poured in about the build up of the Islamic State. It’s almost a distant memory now how the administration stood by while Vladimir Putin’s Russia destabilized and then annexed The Crimean peninsula, and how they turned their back on Ukraine even in the face of the shooting down of a commercial airliner with Russian equipment and very probably Russian operators, offering to send medical supplies and rations but no weapons.

But the real strategy underlying the administrations foreign policy still remains to be openly and clearly expressed. Quite simply put, it is the withdrawal of United States military combat forces from around the world, the downsizing of the force, and the weakening of the force so that the United States will no longer be seen as a threat to global peace. The officer corps is being pared (often times with officers receiving notice of their pending separation while under enemy fire). Experienced enlisted personnel are being separated and illegal immigrants given the opportunity to take their places. The president has spoken of modern conflict that involves “no victors and no vanquished” and that people must learn to “get along”.

There are several schools of thought as to what needs to be done in Iraq and Syria. One is that we must set a military goal and then apply an overwhelming force to achieve that goal. This goal must include post operative support in order to allow for the stabilization of what comes after. There is strong historical precedent for this course of action as it was successfully implemented in Europe and Japan after World War II and in Korea.

Another line of thinking holds that the United States should not expend even one more life or dollar in trying to promote Western ideology in these countries. This idea is based on the history of the region and how it was divided up by the allies following World War I to benefit those victors. The division ignored ethnic and religious separations that had been in effect for millennia and presumed that everyone would simply “learn to get along”. Also at issue is the fact that the current U.S. leadership has given away the gains that were made by the deposition of a brutal dictator who was acting to destabilize the region from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, invading his neighbors, using poison gas and inflicting genocide on his own citizens, training airline hijackers (which now sounds quaint) and providing large sums of money to the families of those who would kill Israelis while killing themselves, and made the sacrifice of over four thousand American lives and over a Trillion dollars worthless. People who recognize this hold that it would be fool hardy to follow a leader like this to the grocery store, let alone into a hard battle, one that he might soon lose interest in or cease to perceive it to be of political gain.

The strategy that the president has publicly stated is to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS/ISIL, but make no mistake, by telegraphing the plans, and by stating clearly and reiterating that no combat forces would be involved in the operation the president signaled to our allies and enemies alike that the United States is not serious about degradation or destruction. The sole aim of the airstrikes in the first place was to not be perceived as doing nothing as forty thousand Yazidis were slaughtered on a mountainside in Iraq, and it continues only as window dressing to shore up the democrat defense posture heading into the fall election. Kobani will fall; Mosul Dam; Anbar, and Bagdhad itself will come under attack ultimately resulting in the evacuation and abandonment of the U.S. Embassy there.

But the strategy that the president has chosen is not one that he developed during consultation with his advisers or international policy experts, not one that he formulated during years of study and introspection while on the university faculty, but one that he developed with the only advisors he has ever felt were his equals: The Choom Gang. There on the island of Oahu under the tutelage of his communist grandparents, the mentors they chose for him, and some righteous bud, the young Barack 0bama came to understand that if only the United States would lay down its arms and hold out its hand, the world would be a better place. This childish hallucinogenic fantasy is now the official policy of the United States of America. It has nothing to do with history, or experience, the national interests of the country, or the safety of its citizens. It has everything to do with THC and teenage naïveté. So when you hear of reductions in military preparedness and the opening of the borders, don’t be surprised.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

The Real Strategy

So after the Clinton, Gates and most recently Panetta books and interviews the questions being asked by the talkers are: does 0bama have the “courage” to fight? Does 0bama have the “guts” to get in the ring? Does 0bama have the “will” to do the right thing? This is all just so much yapping and absolutely misses the mark.

Barrack 0bama IS fighting. He’s fighting against the enemy that was identified to him by his mother and father and by his grand parents and the mentors they chose for him, by the enemy he discussed with his friends and colleagues in Chicago, by Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. The enemy he is fighting against is what America IS. His goal is as it was: to fundamentally transform America. That means to turn it into something else, something less successful, less powerful, less confident, less……. American.

His agreeing to launch a few paltry air strikes in Iraq and Syria now are the same as his lame attempt to get congressional approval to bomb Syria after the chemical attacks all those months ago, simply pathetic window dressing designed to be just butch enough to get through the elections. The headlines today were that 0bama was going to the Pentagon to “Huddle” with his top “War Planners”. More clap trap. He went there to lecture the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States military, on why he was not going to use force adequate to accomplish his publicly state goal, nothing more.

Obama, in 2008, told Patrick Gaspard, who was at the time his political director “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.” Why then, would anyone be surprised that he thinks he knows more about intelligence than any of his intelligence staff, has more knowledge and insight into which foreign policy is wisest, or what military strategy will be the most effective? Why else would he surround himself with such hapless cabinet secretaries whos main job is simply to repeat the “word”: Napolitano; Sebelius; Johnson, Hagel. Seriously?

Barack 0bama believes as he was taught that American success and the power that grew from that success is the root of all of the tension in the world today, and that’s why every single foreign policy decision he has made has been meant to lessen America’s influence in the world. His goal in the Middle East at this point is to give Arabia back to the Arabs. Whether or not this is a good strategy is arguable. He plans to allow Iran to achieve its goal of nuclear capability. He plans to abandon our allies there. This will also work to further his environmental goal of increasing oil prices to the point where the use of alternatives is finally economically feasible.

Make no mistake. Barack 0bama’s actions or inactions are NOT the result of a lack of courage, or the will to fight. They are the result of his heartfelt belief that American success has been undeserved, is a negative influence in the world, and that he is finally in a position to do something about it.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Subsidizing Being Unskilled

These days if you listen to people talk long enough the topic will always turn to a minimum “living wage”. This of course is the minimum wage that anyone who works full time should receive, presuming that any skill level or no skill level at all entitles a person to live a comfortable life.

Perhaps not too surprisingly I have a problem with this idea and it stems from two of the basic, irrefutable, and iron laws of economics. The two are actually coupled, but for the purpose of explanation I have separated them here.

Firstly, if you want the economy to produce less of something then the easiest way to do that is to place a tax on it. Tobacco products are a perfect example of this. Fussbudgets in the government have decided that even though the hazards of using tobacco products are universally known they, the fussbudgets, are wise enough to know what’s best for everyone and that they will drive down consumption by increasing the taxes levied against it, and eventually, when the number of smokers is small enough, institute an outright ban. Likewise with foreign agricultural products like sugar which can be produced and sold at lower prices than those grown domestically. Place a tax on them and people will be forced to buy more domestic products, such as sugar. So the rule is: if you want less of something, place a tax on it.

The second part of the hard rule of economics is that if you want more of something you subsidize it. That is you favor its production either by direct government payments, as with farm subsidies which guarantee that farmers will receive a minimum price for their crops, like sugar, and corn ethanol, and other things like solar and wind generated electricity. The market prices of these products are not high enough to support their production, but again, someone in government has decided that they represent the combined wisdom of the three hundred million people who live in the United States. So the rule is: if you want more of something, subsidize it.

What has this got to do with a “living” minimum wage? Employers buy skills. Those who have learned valuable skills and have gained experience are sought after and well compensated. Those who have few or no skills and no experience are not. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 about twenty percent of the labor force between the ages of sixteen and twenty five were earning at or below the minimum wage. Above the age of twenty five, the number is reduced to less than three percent. This seems to indicate that the bulk of minimum wage earners are high school and college students who live at home with their parents, have few skills and work in a “buyers market” with many students and few jobs. Above the age of twenty five the number of people with few or no skills drops precipitously. The fact of the matter is that no matter how tragic the situation is made out to be or how many heart rending anecdotal stories TV producers turn into four minute spots for the local news, there just aren’t that many people over the age of twenty five with few or no skills earning the minimum wage. The way it works is that you get a job when you have few proven skills and in the course of performing that job you gain skills and experience that in turn make it possible for an employer to pay you more for them.

Requiring employers to pay more for few or no skills or experience is subsidizing that condition. It is guaranteeing a higher price for something that the market doesn’t want to buy, that being low skilled workers. It makes the condition of being under skilled and inexperienced less undesirable and will inevitably result in more people who are in that condition. (See: The second part of the hard rule of economics)

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Misdirection

So I'm think'n ya know, cause like I'm think'n all the time. And I'm think'n bout what it is that Presidents do when they get into trouble politically during their second terms. Conventional wisdom says that they turn to overseas adventures because they have more control of the narrative. Foreign press isn't hip to their tricks and the people there aren't generally as fed up with the lies. But then I'm think'n....... ya know, cause I'm always think'n..... what does a President do when he turns to over seas adventure because it looks like it'll be easier only to find out that some bastard has planted an IED in the thing and it blows up in his face? What then?

But THEN I'm think'n that this guy 0bama he's a basketball player see? He knows all about those head fakes and jukes’n stuff. He knows about protecting the ball and HIDING the ball.... misdirecting. You think he's going to his left, so he shows you left.... then you give up on that and think he must be go’in right, and so he shows you right. It's all about deceit, and covering your true intentions, basket ball is. So he pivots over seas, and then he pivots back only to find out those nincompoop IT wizards at the IRS can't even destroy a few thousand emails, the many tens of thousands of families in Mexico and Central America that he's been teasing with his amnesty pen and amnesty phone have all shown up for "happy hour ", and real American kids all over the country are suddenly coming down with some mystery respiratory virus that no one has a vaccine for or knows where it came from and no one's copping to where the Central American kids were put, the Supreme court has made a very narrow ruling about abortifacients that could have been easily dealt with with a little compromise, the middle east has blown up and every General in the world is saying that there's no way at all to defeat ISIS without ground forces, Iran is gonna get to keep its nukes and delivery systems, Putin gets to keep the Crimean peninsula and Eastern Ukraine, immigrant activists want an amnesty, labor activists want a $15/hr minimum wage, student activists want loan forgiveness, eco activist want to deep six the Keystone Pipeline, Islamists are beheading anyone they can lay hands on and butchering infidels, the White House is open to anyone who can run the 100 in under 14 seconds, you can get cleared to ride on an elevator with the president if you've had no more than two felony convictions and you're licensed to carry a concealed weapon and so what does he do? I'll tell you what he does: he takes Mayor Emanuel's advice to never let a good crisis go to waste and he creates a class warfare apocalypse, by again openly calling for an "us against them", race war, class war, war on the 1%, war on women, war on homosexuals, war on the transgendered, war on the Washington Redskins, war on Muslims, and war on immigrant mind set.

You may not like this guy, but you almost have to admire his skills at misdirection.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks

The Coalition

Many people are concerned about the Islamic State. Almost everyone says that “Something Must Be Done”, but no one is quite sure exactly what. Will there be U.S. “boots on the ground”? Oh no no no. We will build a coalition it’s said. We will coordinate and supply. Provide some logistical support and air cover. If I were an American pilot I’d have some serious issues with that. Combat aircraft are some seriously complex machines, and seriously complex machines break. If your seriously complex machine breaks when you’re flying over hostile territory populated with men who seriously want to cut off your head, who do you want coming to rescue you?, and how long do you want to wait for them to get there? The local guys like the ones who were providing security for the embassy compound at Benghazi?, or the U.S. guys who won’t actually be stationed in the country? Sort of a toss up I guess.

As to the ability of the current administration to build a coalition there are doubts. The current occupant of the White House and his minions never supported the war in Iraq even after it had succeeded and the seedling of a viable representative government had been planted. History shows the success that can be achieved by leaving an adequate follow on force after just such conflicts in Japan, Germany, and Korea but the current administration showed no real interest or commitment to anything beside the domestically promised withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The dates were announced a year in advance. It was clear to everyone that that the U.S. government was willing to and in fact intent on making the sacrifice of over four thousand lives, thirty thousand wounded, and a monetary costs of well over a Trillion dollars, not to mention Iraqi casualties worth nothing. Who now will risk their own well being, their own blood, their own treasure to stand with a government with so little regard for its own?

The current U.S. government has helped blow up stable governments in Egypt, and Libya, cozied up to the regime in Iran, turning a blind eye to its nuclear intentions and its constantly restated vow and efforts to destroy Israel, shown concern and then turned its back on hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Syria, removed missile defense systems from Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to appease and show “flexibility” to Vladimir (The Impaler), stood idly by while the Crimean Peninsula was invaded and then annexed, and is supplying tuna melt sandwiches to the Ukrainian army as they are being invaded in stead of weapons.

Who will listen to the President and say to themselves “This is a man I can trust”?? Who believes that he intends to “stay the course”?

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It’s A Charade

It seems as if it may be time to take a look at what we know about Iraq, Syria, and the president of the United States.

We can begin with what we know about the honesty of the administration. Our experience begins in 2009 with the eight hundred billion dollar economic stimulus package, and the “shovel ready” infrastructure projects that didn’t exist. Then there was “Cash for Clunkers”, the program that was supposed to boost car sales and clean the environment but did just the opposite. The “salvation” of General Motors that resulted in the closing of hundreds of local dealerships across the country and the loss of thousands of jobs but left the United Auto Worker’s pensions that are still weighing the company down intact, and the eventual eleven billion dollar loss picked up by U.S. taxpayers.

The failure to pass immigration reform while the democrat party controlled both houses of Congress so that the issue could be used as a political cudgel in future elections.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 0bamaCare. The bill so big and obscure that it had to be passed before we could know what was in it. The bill that was argued as not being a tax, but was justified in its existence only as being a tax. The bill that would, under no circumstances provide taxpayer supported health care to those in the country illegally or government funded abortion services. The bill that was passed into law using parliamentary chicanery without a single minority vote. The bill that, it would seem, represents the essence of administration honesty. Thirty million more will be provided with health care, but the cost will actually go down. No one making less than $250,000 a year will see their taxes go up as much as a dime. Average families will see a cost savings of $2,400 every year. If you like your plan you can keep your plan. “Let me be clear. If you like your plan you can keep your plan.”. The roll out disaster. The constantly changing, and conflicting enrollment numbers. The ever changing and capricious enforcement of clearly worded statute.

In Libya the president was shamed into action by the Brits and French to try and prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, and after destabilizing the region tried to maintain an influential presence with a “light foot print”. The resulting attack on the embassy compound and the shameless, bald faced attempt to cover it up will make interesting reading for future readers of tragic comedy. After all, as the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously said in regard to the truth of the story, “What difference does it make?”.

In Egypt the U.S. helped to over throw a brutal and ruthless dictator in favor of an equally brutal and ruthless theocrat.

Brutal and ruthless dictatorial theocrats nearing possession of nuclear weapons in Iran bent on domination of the Persian Gulf region and the destruction of Israel are given a pass.

Which brings us to Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Whatever your thoughts on the justification of U.S. intervention in the region in the first place it is a fact that 2009 Iraq was a safer place to live than Chicago. This did not happen by accident. Four thousand U.S. soldiers gave their lives for this peace. The tax payers of the United States paid over a trillion dollars for this state of calm. And just as this passivity did not come about by random chance, neither did its loss. The peace in Iraq and the sacrifices made to achieve it were traded away for domestic election gains.

Afghanistan will suffer the same fate as Iraq.

But now. Syria. What are we to make of the president’s decision to “bomb” the Islamic extremist ISIS/ISIL army in Iraq and Syria? He was willing to stand back while tens of thousands of Libyan civilians were killed. He was willing to stand back while the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own civilian populations in a conflict that has resulted in the deaths of over a hundred thousand men, women, and children, and made refugees of over a million more. He was willing to make worthless the sacrifice, freely given, of four thousand U.S. service personnel and over a trillion dollars in tax money. He is willing to publicly disregard the advice of his top military advisers, making clear to our adversaries what strategies we will and will not use. Why now, should anyone think, or believe for an instant that the president and his political advisors have any concern that is not based in electoral politics? Everything is to be announced “after the election”. He didn’t care about the Libyans, or his own consular staff. He didn’t care about the Syrians. He didn’t care about the Yazidis trapped on the mountain waiting certain death. He doesn’t care about the Kurds. He doesn’t care about the four thousand dead American service men and women or the money spent. His only care is the “fundamental transformation” of the United States of America into the communist utopia he learned it could be as a child, and he will do anything, say anything that helps him in that effort.

One possible scenario, a plausible one it seems, is that the president, his approval numbers now abysmal, is posturing ahead of the election to try and make the best of a bad situation. He is, after all, in his own mind, the president who “ends wars” not starts them. But it seems likely that after the election or the first of the year that the Congress, prodded by its constituency, will ask what the goal in Iraq is. The question will be asked: what are American taxpayers being asked to pay for. It will become obvious at that point that there is no answer. It will become obvious that “to degrade and destroy them” is something that the president can easily do from behind his teleprompter and not a military strategy or goal. The Congress will refuse by a narrow margin and the president will throw up his hands and say, “Well, I tried. Not my fault.”, all the while thinking to himself “Boy these rubes are SOOO stupid.”.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks

Monday, September 22, 2014

LBJ

President Lyndon Baines Johnson once described his feelings about how the war in Vietnam was going this way: He said that sometimes “I feel like a hitchhiker on a Texas highway in the middle of a hailstorm; I can't run, I can't hide, and I can't make it go away.” And now America is like that Texas hitchhiker suffering in the environment of Barack 0bama’s foreign and domestic policies.

Barack Obama’s presidency will be a pretty fair reenactment of his Choom Gang days, when all there was to do was to think of solutions to problems that sounded worthy and just with no thought to the practicality of the actual implementation or the unintended consequences. Only now he has Billions of dollars to spend in the pretence of effective action.

He has confided to his advisors that he is more skillful than they, that he is more knowledgeable than they on every issue, except for military matters. In that regard virtually all he has to go on is ideology, having no care for the training or experience of his military advisors. And now we are faced with what people see as a threat and they’re letting their nervousness be felt by their elected representatives. And so now Mr. 0bama is stirring and he will strike the enemy who will not be named, but he is insincere. One such military advisor has paraphrased that “you don’t go to war with the Commander In Chief you want, you go to war with the one you have”. At the risk of seeming trite, I will quote Obiwan Kenobe in asking the question: “Who's the more foolish...the fool or the fool who follows him?”

Barack 0bama does not believe in the danger, he does not believe that weakness invites aggression, that a fight is necessary, or can be won. This is NOT a man to follow into a fight. This is NOT a man to lead your children into a fight. This is NOT a man to lead a nation into a fight.

And so here we are, like that Texas hitchhiker caught in a hailstorm: we can’t run, we can’t hide, and we can’t make it go away.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Coalition

Many people are concerned about the Islamic State. Almost everyone says that “Something Must Be Done”, but no one is quite sure exactly what. Will there be U.S. “boots on the ground”? Oh no no no. We will build a coalition it’s said. We will coordinate and supply. Provide some logistical support and air cover. If I were an American pilot I’d have some serious issues with that. Combat aircraft are some seriously complex machines, and seriously complex machines break. If your seriously complex machine breaks when you’re flying over hostile territory populated with men who seriously want to cut off your head, who do you want coming to rescue you?, and how long do you want to wait for them to get there? The local guys like the ones who were providing security for the embassy compound at Benghazi?, or the U.S. guys who won’t actually be stationed in the country? Sort of a toss up I guess.

As to the ability of the current administration to build a coalition there are doubts. The current occupant of the White House and his minions never supported the war in Iraq even after it had succeeded and the seedling of a viable representative government had been planted. History shows the success that can be achieved by leaving an adequate follow on force after just such conflicts in Japan, Germany, and Korea but the current administration showed no real interest or commitment to anything beside the domestically promised withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The dates were announced a year in advance. It was clear to everyone that that the U.S. government was willing to and in fact intent on making the sacrifice of over four thousand lives, thirty thousand wounded, and a monetary costs of well over a Trillion dollars, not to mention Iraqi casualties worth nothing. Who now will risk their own well being, their own blood, their own treasure to stand with a government with so little regard for its own?

The current U.S. government has helped blow up stable governments in Egypt, and Libya, cozied up to the regime in Iran, turning a blind eye to its nuclear intentions and its constantly restated vow and efforts to destroy Israel, shown concern and then turned its back on hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Syria, removed missile defense systems from Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to appease and show “flexibility” to Vladimir (The Impaler), stood idly by while the Crimean Peninsula was invaded and then annexed, and is supplying tuna melt sandwiches to the Ukrainian army as they are being invaded in stead of weapons.

Who will listen to the President and say to themselves “This is a man I can trust”?? Who believes that he intends to “stay the course”?

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Headlines

One of the many headlines today read something like: One in four Americans open to secession. It was, by the way, also listed as a SHOCK POLL, although it hardly seems shocking to anyone who’s been paying attention to the daily goings on. The actual figure cited in the article was 23.9%. Another headline cited a University of Pennsylvania poll as unearthing the startling find that over 40% of the Americans sampled couldn’t identify which political party controls which house of Congress. The same study found that 35% of respondents were unable to name even one of the three branches of our government. You can easily find statistics showing that only 14% of Americans approve of the job that the Congress is doing, while another headline and article point out that trust in the mass media has returned to its all time low.

A casual reading of the above mentioned pieces seems to indicate that Americans, in General, are uneducated, ill-informed, short sighted, apathetic, and easily influenced by the media and government elites. Americans, again in general, have no idea how their government works, or is supposed to work and yet they express dissatisfaction with it. Who told them that the government is dysfunctional? That question is appropriate, because the statistics and “man on the street” interviews make it clear that the general population doesn’t have a clue.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Walk In The Sunset

The accusation is often hurled by some members, and the press that the congress of the United States has become dysfunctional and isn’t working the way it was intended, but this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the Congress is functioning EXACTLY as it was intended. The Framers recognized that there would be disagreement among the populace as to what laws and policy should be enacted, and at times this disagreement would be sharp, and nearly evenly divided. They also recognized that in order for a law or policy to have legitimacy in the eyes of the general population it must not only be favored by a simple majority of voters, but must enjoy the acceptance of a preponderance of the citizenry.

The change from selection of the Senate by state legislatures to direct election set the stages for the frequent polarization that we have recently seen.

It’s rather amusing to hear legislators speak of the lost days of comity in the congress. They speak of days when members were actually friends and socialized with one another, even across party lines. BALDERDASH. These are men and women who have no skin in the game. They are elected to spend other people’s money to make law that does not affect them, and to pretend that everyone should agree on what these policies should be is pure fantasy. I yearn for older days when occasionally a Senator would assault a colleague with his cane. I want for someone to be as concerned for my money and well being as I am, not a back scratcher who, after a wink and a nod to his comrades, will come home to a town meeting and tell me lies about the benefits that accrue to me from the ongoing sugar subsidies that he and his “good friends” have decided that I should pay for.

When we were on the prairie it was one thing for the Congress to take our hands firmly and walk with us into the sunset. It seemed comforting to believe that they really had our best interests in mind and at heart. Now that we’re in sight of the Pacific Ocean however, and can hear the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below that walk into the sunset seems much less reassuring.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Household Income

The headline read: HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN SERIOUS DECLINE. I thought "gee, that sounds serious" so I decided to give it some thought. I would try to consider the issue in terms that I could understand and express and not rely on someone else to tell me what was happening and what it meant. Economics sounds impossible to understand anyway so I made my model as simple as possible.

I started with one family in one household. They've been married for 25 years. He's an engineer who makes $100k per year. She's been a housewife and is licensed to sell real estate. She's had a part time income of $30k per year. They have one child who has just graduated from college. They're very proud. So the household income in my model at the first year is $130k per year.

But there's trouble in paradise. It turns out, that the husband and wife really don't have much in common besides the child, who will now be leaving home, and don't want to remain married. And so they divorce. Now the model looks like this. He is an engineer and still has an income of $100k per year. She now sells real estate full time and has an income of $75k per year. Their child has (as mentioned) graduated from college and has accepted a job offer of $65k per year. So the total income is now 100 + 75 + 65 = $240k per year but the number of households is three instead of one, so the average household income in my model is $80k per year down from $130k per year which represents a 39% decrease.

In my model (simple though it may be) there was a 39% decrease in household income but it can easily be argued that no one suffered financially from it. I'm not arguing that this is how things are in a larger economy at all, but I do think it important to realize that when looking at economic headlines one must try to break free from the story that's already running in ones head and the one the headline writer wants to tell. In the case of households there are many factors that effect the "household" income. How many people in the household? (Lower marriage rates and smaller families will result in lower household income). The age of the household. (Younger families or individuals will have fewer skills, and less experience and so will naturally have less income. In a growing population the "household income" number will decline on its own even in an unchanging economy). How many households are being considered? (Even in an economy where individual incomes remain constant "household" income will change based on the number of households used in the calculation).

Also to be considered is the motive of the people who bring you the news of the declining or increasing statistic. What is it they want for you to think and why?

But then that's just what an average guy thinks.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Medication As The Solution

A story appeared not terribly long ago in a natural health magazine that I happened across. In it was detailed the saga of a man who, years ago, had been diagnosed with some bothersome but not life threatening condition for which his doctor had prescribed some medication. Everything was fine for a while and then the man started to develop one of the publicized side effects of the medication. He went back to his doctor who knew exactly what to prescribe to make him feel better again, and he did.

Again, time passed and the man grew older, and as happens he developed another minor, but bothersome condition, but now there was a new doctor who had no real knowledge of the man, or access to his records, but still the doctor was sure of what prescription would be necessary to return the man to normal.

Toward the end of the story it was mentioned that after 20 years the man now had 10 prescriptions that he had to use a sorting device and a spread sheet to keep straight. Some with meals, some on an empty stomach. Some in the morning, some at night. Some every day, some every other day, and all to manage what he has come to suspect was a condition brought on by his diet and lifestyle choices. His employer provided him with access to decent insurance and his co-pays were always generous but even in the best of times he didn’t really feel “good” he just didn’t feel “bad”.

The story ended with him shucking all of his medications except the one or two that his doctor warned him not to suddenly quit and he has found a new doctor who is helping him to wean himself even from those using an intense program of improved diet and physical exercise.

The authors of the story made their points very clear. Many times we seek an easy solution to our problems that then in there turn create problems that require solutions of their own.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. CHILDREN OF ALL AGES. I GIVE YOU THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Something happens we don’t like? Make a law….. but of course we have to put something in there to keep our friends from being negatively affected. Next year we learn that something else has happened and so now the automatic re-action is to make yet another law…..and another and another, until no one can tell you what the law is.

The complexity of law promotes chicanery, because it makes it easier for those who would abuse us to blend in. Complex laws provide cover for the unethical.

“Comprehensive” and “OMNIBUS” legislation are the enemies of the people of the United States of America.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Do-Nothing Congress

There it was again today. Someone berating the congress for “doing-nothing”, and it was put forward again that this is one of the reasons voters are unhappy with their representatives.

“The congress needs to get busy doing the “people’s work”” is a common refrain which aims to take advantage of voter ignorance of what that really means. What it DOESN’T mean is that the congress will be doing any “work” for us. They won’t be mowing our lawns, doing our laundry, or painting our houses. “Doing the people’s work” is a euphemism as foul as any ever uttered that they slid in there while no one was paying attention. What they have convinced voters it means is that the congress is standing up for their interests, but what it really means is that they are making more and more rules about what we the people can do, and can't. They are developing more and more new programs, bureaus, and departments that will grow and grow into the future, requiring ever increasing revenue streams that exist only in the minds of ivory tower economists and progressive ideologues.

Our do “something” congresses have spent us into a $17 T debt hole that our children’s children won’t see the end of. We should ALL be ashamed. And even more troubling than the monies we already owe, are the unfunded liabilities…. the monies that our elected representatives IN OUR NAMES have promised to pay in the future. Now 128 TRILLION DOLLARS.

These were not “Do-Nothing” congresses. No. These congresses were, indeed, doing the people’s work. And this is what we have to show for it.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Loss Of 2.3 Million Jobs Offers Welcome Choices To American Workers

Today the non partisan Congressional Budget Office released a report that said that because of the effects of the implementation of 0bamaCare 2.3 million jobs would be lost over the next ten years. Also today in the White House press briefing room the presidents chief economist Jason Furman was putting lipstick on this pig and claiming that it was a net positive because now families would have the chance to make choices. He even went so far as to pose what he must not have realized was such an absurd hypothetical that I almost fell out of my chair.

He said something like: suppose someone is working at a job 65 hours a week only because they need the employer provided health care benefit. NOW they will be able to work say….. 35 hours a week, collect a subsidy and still have “insurance”. Never mind of course that even though their premium payments will be subsidized, their co-pays at the doctor and pharmacy will be hiked up and their deductible is sure to increase.

But beyond that absurdity this attitude illustrates just how ignorant these government elitists are of what it’s like to work for, and actually earn a living. Even if you take as an example a semi-skilled worker earning $15/hr. Sixty five long hours of work would give you a gross monthly income of just over $4,900. Of course there are payroll taxes and your contribution to your health care, but that’s where you start from. At thirty five hours your gross pay for the month would drop to $2,220. What working person with responsibilities would voluntarily choose to take a 54% cut in pay? No one in the lower or middle class I can tell you that much for certain.

And what of battle against “income inequality”? Does this “choice” not cut this family’s income in half? Does this not increase income inequality rather than reduce it?

HELP!!! I’VE FALLEN OUT OF MY CHAIR…. AND I CAN’T GET UP!!!

But that's just what an average guy thinks

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Minimum Wage

Very soon, the administration will attempt to pirouette en pointe yet again to the tragedy of unequal income distribution and the deprivation caused by the current minimum wage. It’s important that the arguments and pleading be met with actual fact, and not the vague insensitive sounding dogma which will fail to convince and will only stir up retaliatory warm feelings that will simply make matters worse.

Today, the minimum wage is mostly paid for entry level jobs that require no proven skills or practical job experience. If you’ve ever talked to an unemployed, job seeking recent high school graduate you know the familiar refrain: “They won’t hire me without experience, but how can I get experience if they won’t hire me”? Minimum wage laws are partly responsible for this lament. Employers are required to pay a specified “minimum” wage to new employees and so must ask for experience, skills, and proven maturity in return. If the minimum wage were lower, or if there were no minimum wage at all, employers could more easily afford to hire the unskilled entry level worker and provide “on the job” training and the valuable experience that younger workers all complain about not being able to acquire.

So let’s ask ourselves: Who actually benefits from the minimum wage?

In general, it’s safe to say that a minimum wage only directly benefits those who already have a job by adding marginally to their income. In the long term it’s a different story. The minimum wage worker has no care for what the minimum wage is in the long term, as they don’t, or shouldn't intend to stay minimally employed. As time passes they will gain job skills and habits that will increase their worth to an employer above whatever a minimum might be. But let’s look at an example of what could happen.

Fast food restaurants are a commodity business. They all buy the same raw materials from the same suppliers at marginally the same price. They live and die in the public square by brand acceptance, efficiency and volume. Now for arguments sake lets say that the minimum wage for fast food workers were doubled. All fast food restaurants would face the same increases, no one would have a cost advantage over the others, and so what’s the fuss? Everyone passes the cost increase through to the consumer and we all pay a little more. This is sort of the fun part where economics plays such a clearly understandable role. It’s a hard fact that the more something costs, the less of it people will want to buy. People will buy more cheeseburgers for $1.00 than they will for $5.00. Nothing complicated about that. So the result is that the higher minimum wage will result in fewer burgers sold which will mean less profit for the chain, which will make the stock price go down. Boo Hoo right? (Wall Street Bastards) But what then? Because there is less profit to be made, people with money to invest will invest less, and investment capital will decrease. Less investment capital will lead to fewer new stores being opened, fewer new products being introduced, fewer new jobs, and even less training. And here’s the fun part: Automated fast food front counter sales points. Just like the self check out at the grocery store, it lets business operators use ONE check out person to serve multiple lines. In the fast food environment some people in the industry just LOST their jobs. And future generations of teenagers will no longer have these as their summer jobs, their first work experience, their foray into the working world that might just inspire, and motivate them to become worth more than any minimum wage.


There are others who benefit of course. Politicians benefit because they get to posture as supporters of the working class. Unions get the same benefit even though their stated goals are to increase wages for the dues-paying “employed” which makes it less likely that the unskilled will be hired in the first place. And kind-hearted people everywhere get to imagine that they stand “four square” for uplifting the working poor.

So the answer to our question: Who benefits from the minimum wage is this. In the short term workers currently and temporarily employed in entry level jobs benefit. Politicians benefit. Union leaders benefit, and kind hearted people benefit. However, those who do NOT benefit include workers who lose their jobs or see their hours cut as companies try to maintain profitability, those who are never able to find a job due to their lack of skills and experience and those still in school who can find no part time job and begin to see that there may very well be no place for them in the labor market.

When thinking about public policy it is important to look closely at the likely result of those policies and pay less attention to how they sound, or how it makes us feel to support them.

Discussions about a minimum wage often turn adversarial and pit the poor downtrodden against cold hearted business owners, but this examples shows us that it’s not nearly as simple as that. Would that it were.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.