Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Hypothetical Question

We've been putting in 60-70 hour weeks at Jukt Micronics.  We've worked all weekend, and I'm working a small crew today (Memorial Day) getting a major project out the door. 
Assorted Vice Presidents and Operations V.P.'s have come by every day bringing lunch for my crews. 
The Sales V.P. who came by today didn't bring enough ice so I went a few miles up the road to a convenience store to pick up some.  Since I'm fundamentally a lazy person I took my time getting back to the warehouse, driving through a couple of Richland Hills TX industrial parks to see if anyone else was working on the holiday. 

Instead of the hundreds and hundreds of cars and trucks outside the warehouses, this is what I saw:

In front of one warehouse I saw a Mercedes-Benz. 
Parked in front of another was a Jaguar. 
Further down, nobody was working except one more Mercedes owner. 
In the next row of warehouses, there was one beautifully restored 1960's (?) era Cadillac. 
Finally, there was a Ford F-250 with all the bells and whistles, the kind I'm going to buy if The Aggie ever gets out of college. 

I get a  feeling that these vehicles don't belong to the forklift drivers. 

So here are some hypothetical questions for your holiday weekend.

1) Do you think there is a correlation between working ridiculous hours (like holidays) and getting to own a Mercedes, Jag, Cadillac, or mid-life crisis F-250?
2) Chances are, these Mercedes, Jag, Cadillac, and F-250 owners are the ones who took the risk of starting the companies where they're now spending their holiday today.  What do you think?
3) And finally, since the Mercedes, Jag, Cadillac and F-250 owners are "more fortunate", how much do they owe the people who are spending their holiday in their back yards or at the lake? 

Here's our Secretary Of State on that subject:

I hope you'll ask yourself how much longer the Mercedes, Jag, Cadillac, and F-250 owners will continue working holidays if a larger and larger percentage of their potential profit is going to be confiscated by this idiot.
Have a good holiday !   Some of us are still out there SAVING AND CREATING JOBS ! ! !


Nick Rowe said...

I recently bought myself a Rolex watch, aka the Texas Timex.

One person asked me how a lowly (government worker) could afford one and why I spent that much?

First, I told her that anyone with a credit card, a job, and the desire to own one could get a Rolex.

I added that the month after I charged it, I paid off the entire purchase in cash that I had saved. I didn't jump into the housing market with all the idiots so when I recently bought a house (with all the up front costs) I still had money left over for the watch.

Then I told her I bought the watch because I wanted it and that's the only reason that matters. No one who can afford a Rolex is impressed by it and few who can't afford it understand why you wouldn't just pay $30 for a Timex.

I'd like to believe all those cars belong to the owners, but a lot of union workers get paid enough to buy those vehicles. They probably wouldn't choose to buy those vehicles except maybe the Caddy or Ford. I'll wager you're right. A union worker wouldn't be at the workplace on a holiday unless they were getting double time. Others would be there. It had to be the owners.

In SF, lots of people own luxury cars and most are leased - you are what you drive.

My watch is worth more than my car.

DPirate said...

1) Yes
2) Doubtful
3) Not sure how fortunate they might be, but as they have garnered greater benefit from our society, they ought to support it to a like degree.

It boils down to choice, doesn't it? Those people chose to work the holiday. If they had desired their forklift drivers to work along with them, would said forklift drivers have much choice about that? Or if the forklift driver wished to work but wasn't allowed?

They absolutely need forklift drivers, after all, right? It isn't like they can do without forklift drivers entirely, so someone will be a forklift driver as sure as the sun will shine. Happily, as I feel safe saying that most forklift drivers would prefer to have a holiday cookout instead of driving a forklift, the country makes certain to provide relatively cheap labor via immigration and taxation/fees, forcing them to come to work when needed. Just one of the benefits of society that those in need of forklift drivers are able to profit from.

If a larger and larger percentage of income of said car-owners gets taken by the government, they will work yet more and more hours in order to buy themselves more cars, and watches and houses and vacations and many other superfluous items that they desire. Certainly there is a point at which it ceases to be worthwhile, but this point is sooner faced by the forklift drivers of the world than the luxury car drivers. In short, John Galt is a fictional character in a terribly written book; he is a fantasy and a figment and only a crazy person will attempt to be him.

Too bad the majority of those you spied out aren't patriotic enough to buy American.

Nick Rowe said...

If a larger and larger percentage of income of said car-owners gets taken by the government, they will work yet more and more hours in order to buy themselves more...

No, the response of labor supply to increased taxes is to work LESS.

A particular individual might work more "up to a point" but aggregate labor supply unambiguously falls.

Too bad the majority of those you spied out aren't patriotic enough to buy American.

There's nothing "patriotic" about buying American-made goods. You have a warped notion of what "patriotism" means.

Being an American means FREEDOM. I can buy from whomever I wish. The competition of foreign producers lowers prices so we can enjoy more from our incomes. Free trade helps people on both side of the border.

If your job is threatened by foreign competition, then perhaps you're being paid too much. Perhaps we place too many regulations and taxes on our businesses and workers. Perhaps we don't really want Americans on an assembly line making plastic dog food dishes.

When the Big 3 were the only game in town, we had SHITTY CARS which were OVERPRICED. If you knew nothing about car makes, you could walk down a street and identify the American-made cars by the paint peeling off the hood.

I don't feel better being ripped off by an American than getting a good deal from a foreigner. I don't owe an American auto worker a job, especially not a union member.

And what exactly is an "American-made" good? Many "American-made" cars have foreign parts. Some are assembled in Mexico or Canada. Many Toyotas and Hondas are built in America by Americans with mostly American parts.

They absolutely need forklift drivers, after all, right?

They need A forklift driver, not a particular forklift driver and not at extortion wages. There are plenty of people who can and would do the same forklift job for less money.

You're stuck on Karl Marx' Labor Theory of Value. Products do NOT derive their value from labor. They get their value from the market for the goods. Labor is only ONE input. Capital, natural resources, and entrepreneurship are the others.

Labor can be replaced, and is being replaced, because "labor" demands too much in wages and too much in benefits. They are crippling our businesses.

John Galt is a fictional character

I guess that's why I found Atlas Shrugged in the fiction section of the bookstore.

Rand's book was needlessly lengthy and painful to get through, but the main point of her book was true and startling. I bought it last year on April 15th in Arizona and I could see all of the "fiction" in that book taking place in our own government. And it was written more than 50 years ago.

Socialists haven't changed.

Yes, Galt's Gulch was contrived. It could never work in reality. It took a deus ex machina to keep it a secret. But, of course, you missed the point.

The point is similar to "A Day without a Mexican" except with more truth to it. We can go without Mexicans - there are plenty of legal aliens and Americans who would do those jobs. We CANNOT advance in society without our entrepreneurs, thinkers, and doers.

A forklift driver can be replaced and never be missed. People like Bill Gates, who are rarely duplicated, are the ones who change the world.

If you lament the loss of your low-skilled jobs, then I suggest you become highly-skilled before you starve to death. I'm not going to feed you - I'm busy admiring my Rolex watch.

Dr Ralph said...

Uh, I work ridiculous hours, including nights and weekends. And since I'm on salary I'm not making any overtime. My cellphone regularly goes off at 3:00 AM because someone in Germany or the UK can't connect to some website.

I'm driving a 13 year old Saturn station wagon.

Is there some one I can speak to about that Mercedes?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

1) About your high regard for lines of latitude, longitude, and tribal boundaries....I think I'm as patriotic as the next person, but you'll NEVER catch me in another Chrysler or Government Motors vehicle until they change ownership.
2) It's kinda funny about my forklift drivers. No one was forced to show up for the weekend, but I had to turn people away. The overtime had considerable appeal for some forklift drivers, kinda like the potential for more $$$ has an appeal to the Benz/Jag/F-250 owners. But do you really believe either party would show up for work on Memorial Day if the idiot shown in the video got to get her grubby little hands on the money before the Forklift Driver or Business Owner? And then finally....
3)As to your point that "as they have garnered greater benefit from our society, they ought to support it to a like degree."
Unless the Mercedes/Jag/F-250 owners were involved in some truly vile enterprise (like theft, lotteries, or the IRS), there is only one way the luxury car drivers can get what you call "the greater benefit". And that's by offering society something that society wants more than their money. It's an even trade, and each side in the transaction thinks he got the better end of the deal. Otherwise, no trade would take place.

I'm about to go spend 10 days in Phoenix, where it is supposed to hit 112 degrees sometime soon. I've had three days off in the last month and a half. But they are applying the proper carrots, and so far it's a good trade. (I've resigned from my current gig 3 times in 12 years. Twice, we worked something out and the other time I went elsewhere for two years. We all have choices.)

Dr Ralph said...

WS - least you mistake my point, don't assume the presence of the Mercedes (or Saturn) in the parking lot means anything other than how someone chooses to spend their money.

To draw the conclusion you have requires a tremendous leap of faith. Once a fundamentalist, always a fundamentalist, I guess.

And for the record, I like my job. I help people who find technology intimidating. Someone's got to do it.

Stay cool in Phoenix, my friend.