Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rats on the West Side, Bedbugs uptown !!!!

Ok, go to the video at the bottom of this post, hit play, ignore the annoying ad, crank up your speakers, and start reading.  Here's something from Reason magazine, via a link from Glenn Reynolds:

Tacking on overtime is only one of a long list of union-won perks behind New York's rising pension burden. To dodge a federal law capping public pensions to $195,000 a year, in 1997, Albany created a second fund for "excess benefits." Twenty-eight New York employees, nearly all teachers, exploited the loophole, leaving taxpayers with a $6 million check this year alone.

A prediction....  Next on the list will be Illinois and California.  They're going to go broke.  Shattered, Shattered.  Shadoobee, etc.... 

These and other sweeteners are part of the reason why the city's annual pension payout has increased 900% since 2000. And that's before health care benefits are included. For every dollar police officers contribute to their retirement, taxpayers contribute nine. Mayor Bloomberg's office warns that if one thing pushes New York City into bankruptcy again - 35 years after the last time - it will be pensions.

A prediction.... Next on the list will be Illinois and California. They're going to go broke. Bloomberg isn't worried about that as much as he's concerned about your right to purchase more than 16 ounces of Coca-Cola at once.  Rats on the West Side, Bedbugs uptown !!!  Shattered, Shattered....Go ahead, bit the Big Apple. 

As Gov. Paterson pins budgetary balance partly on more federal money, and lawmakers throughout the state struggle to balance the books, they have no further to look than their own legislative records for the cause of New York's growing fiscal stress. What is perfectly legal in New York's pension systems is also not fiscally sustainable. [...]

No, retirements that last longer than employments are not "sustainable".  And yet NPR's "Sustainability Desk" remains curiously quiet on the subject.  BTW, Illinois and California are going to be broke as the 10 Commandments in a few years....

Technically estimated at $452 billion as a result of flawed accounting, the real unfunded pension obligation in state pension plans is closer to $3 trillion.

The bill is now coming due.

It's also coming due in California and Illinois, BTW.  They're going to go broke. 

Professor Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University projects that even if public sector plans earn 8% on their investments, four states - Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut and Indiana - will run out of assets to pay retirees by the end of the decade. States and local governments will soon find themselves up against a painful tradeoff: between closing schools and libraries and cutting other essential services or paying inflated pensions to 50-year-old retirees.

Here's the Stones.  Rats on the West Side, Bedbugs uptown, this town's in tatters.  Even if New York, California and Illinois are going broke, this stuff here, the soundtrack to my high school years, it'll give you a great case of Happy Feet. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Unemployment Lawsuit

My family's Human Resources department warned me not to post this, but I'm doing it anyway. 

I haven't had time to post much this week because of an unemployment lawsuit.  One of the groups I hire has pressed charges against me for discrimination, hostile work environment, failure to document performance deficiencies, and everything else they can think of.  They've thrown a lot of stuff against the wall, just to see what will stick. 

It's exhausting.  Enough to make me wonder why people don't just give up and produce everything themselves with no employees. 

Here's the story....

Up until last week, I had food employment agreements in place with Kroger, Food King, and Wal-Mart.  I agreed that I would purchase fresh produce and dairy products from Kroger, meat from Food King, and everything else from Wal-Mart.  I believe that I treated all three of these groups of employees equally well. 

I gave them enough money to pay for my percentage of  their taxes, child support, and health insurance.  I think that I provided meaningful work for them at good wages at least twice a week. 

About a week ago, I went to Food King for some ground beef.  The slacker behind the counter didn't want to get off his cell phone long enough to help me.  When he finally did, he acted like I was doing HIM a favor by purchasing his time.  The meat looked ok through the clear wrap, but when I got it home it was a dark brown on the bottom.  To make matters worse, and I can't prove this, but I'm reasonably sure that the cashier short-changed me.  Please don't get me started on the Food King cashiers.  I've never met a ruder, slower, more incompetent bunch of victims in my life

This isn't the first problem I've had with Food King.  Three weeks ago, I got some steaks from them that had metal fragments from the cutting saw embedded in the meat.  My daughter chipped a tooth!  I filed some paperwork on the incident with my Human Resources department, of course. 

Back to the story....As I was leaving Food King last week, and this was before I discovered that the meat was bad, I made a huge mistake.  I told my daughter that "I'm gonna break this contract and start buying all of my meat from Kroger's." 

Huge mistake.  Three of the Food King employees heard what I said. 

When I got home, I started filling out the required forms to document the poor performance at Food King.  I took photos of the brown meat.  I called my Human Resources department, and told them I wanted to start purchasing meat from Kroger.  They were nervous about the decision, but told me to go forward if I felt strongly about the need for a change, and that it would probably take about 6 months. 

But hell, can you blame me?  I DON'T WANT TO EMPLOY THOSE PEOPLE ANY MORE !!!!  I don't want to purchase what they're selling.  Should I be punished for giving them a chance at a job? 

Anyway (sorry for the digression) I filled out the paperwork, completed all the written warning forms, and filed them with H.R., the State of Texas, and with Food King. 

That's when the storm began.  Good Lord in heaven.  The Food King cashier who wouldn't get off his cell phone long enough to sell me some rancid meat?  He happens to be Hispanic.  He claimed that I have a "thing" against Hispanics, and was able to show how, back in 2009, I filed papers to change my membership from a majority Hispanic Starbucks to a majority White Starbucks.  That was a totally different situation, plus the government wouldn't allow me to switch Starbucks locations because it would've meant moving from a majority female to a majority male coffee bar.  I should've known better than to even try during an election year. 

I swear to Jesus, I had NO idea that the kid was Hispanic.

Food King is also saying I have unreasonable performance expectations.  IMHO, all I'm expecting is decent cuts of meat at a reasonable price from a prompt butcher and a cashier who knows how to make change.  If I'm not getting that, how much hell should I have to go through before I can start purchasing meat elsewhere? 

But dang it, they have me on tape telling my daughter that I want to start buying meat from Kroger instead of Food King.  Therefore, I've created a hostile work environment for the Food King employees.  I can't believe I did something that stupid.  Neither can my Human Resources department.  There's a chance that this will turn into a huge lawsuit.  Even if I win the lawsuit and get to start buying meat from Kroger, I'll still have to pay unemployment compensation to the idiots at Food King. 

As you know, almost 1/3rd of our lives as employers is now consumed with documenting performance issues.  It exhausts me. 

If I hire someone to provide a service in exchange for money, that's all the transaction should involve.  If I give Food King some money in exchange for some hamburger meat, that should be the end of it.  I don't want to be responsible for Food King's taxes, their child support, their healthcare, their insurance, their emotional well-being, or their childcare.

I want to purchase hamburger meat, not be the overseer at an 1840's plantation.  I don't want to be a Feudal Lord & Master. 

Can you imagine how much it would help the economy if customers/employers could simply spend their money without worrying about lawsuits like this one?  I think jobs would start popping up everywhere. 

Enough of my fantasies about a free market employment system.  I won't be posting as much in the future.  This is going to get ugly. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The 30 Day Reading List that will Lead You to Becoming a Knowledgeable Libertarian

Ok, I've met a lot of newbies to the Libertarian Party in the last 6 months. 
Here's your reading list, compliments of the Economic Policy Journal. 
Read one a day for thirty days.  When you've finished you'll know more legit "predictive" economics than the entire demolition team of The Teleprompter Jesus. 

Here goes:

Day 1  The Task Confronting Libertarians by Henry Hazlitt

Day 2   The Fascist Threat by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 3   Free Economy and Social Order by Wilhelm Röpke

Day 4   The Peculiar and Unique Position of Economics by Ludwig von Mises

Day 5   What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us by Yuri Maltsev

Day 6   Economic Depressions: Their Causes and Cures by Murray Rothbard

Day 7   Is Greater Productivity a Danger? by David Gordon

Day 8   Taxation Methods Evaluated by Murray Rothbard

Day 9   Hitler Was a Keynesian by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 10   Seeing the Unseen by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 11   The Watermelon Summit by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Day 12   Inequality by Ludwig von Mises

Day 13   How to Think Like an Economist by Murray Rothbard

Day 14   The Health Plan's Devilish Principles by Murray Rothbard

Day 15   Vices Are Not Crimes by Murray Rothbard

Day 16   Repudiate the National Debt by Murray Rothbard

Day 17   The Fallacy of the 'Public Sector' by Murray Rothbard

Day 18   The Road to Totalitarianism by Henry Hazlitt

Day 19   The Many Collapses of Keynesianism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 20   The Crippling Nature of Minimum Wage Laws by Murray Rothbard

Day 21   Who Owns Water by Murray Rothbard

Day 22   Defending the Slumlord by Walter Block

Day 23   The Freedom of Association by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr

Day 24   How to Help the Poor and Oppressed by Walter Block

Day 25   Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 26   Is There a Right To Unionize? by Walter Block

Day 27   What If Public Schools Were Abolished? by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 28   Why Austrian ? an interview with Robert Higgs

Day 29   Economics and Moral Courage by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Day 30   Do You Hate the State? by Murray Rothbard

Monday, June 11, 2012

John Bryson doesn't need to have seizures to do harm

Authorities are investigating a series of traffic collisions in the San Gabriel Valley involving U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson, authorities said Saturday.

Republicans are offering silent prayers to the ghost of Ronald Reagan, asking that he please, please, please give them a way to prove that Bryson was drunk. 
Democrats are getting indignant because someone at a Karl Rove SuperPac tweeted something snarky about "how do you have 3 crashes in 5 minutes without alcohol not being involved?"

Look, the man had some car wrecks on Saturday.  But he's been known to have seizures.  Four years ago, he apparently passed out in a board meeting and had to be hospitalized. 

It looks he was only in two car wrecks this weekend and chances are the total damage was $15,000.00 or less. 

But drunk or not drunk, stable or having seizures, stoned or straight, car wrecks aren't why John Bryson should be making the news.  Check out Bryson's requests for spending increases from the Department Of Commerce website:

•Advanced Manufacturing: Advanced Manufacturing: $156 million to expand NIST research in areas such as smart manufacturing, nanomanufacturing, advanced materials, and biomanufacturing, including $21 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia program, which will provide grants to industry consortia to tackle common technological barriers to the innovation and manufacturing of new products.

•Increasing U.S. Exports: $517 million for the International Trade Administration (ITA), including several key initiatives. The Administration requests $30 million for critical investments in trade promotion to help more U.S. businesses reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders. This proposal also includes $30 million to send Foreign Commercial Service Officers and locally engaged staff to high-growth markets to help support the National Export Initiative to meet the President’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. The budget also supports a new trade enforcement unit-- the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), which will significantly enhance the Administration’s capabilities to aggressively challenge unfair trade practices around the world (details below).

•Attracting Investment to the U.S.: The $517M for ITA includes $13 million for SelectUSA to encourage, facilitate, and accelerate foreign direct investment in the U.S. to create jobs and spur growth.
God help us all.  I work for a manufacturing company, and Obama's Commerce Secretary wants more funding so he can help manufacturers.  Oh sweet baby Jesus help us all.  Please keep my family in your prayers.  Those folks have a worse financial record than Ed McMahon.

Here's more:

*Additionally, as part of the Administration’s efforts to revitalize manufacturing, the President’s budget proposes $1 billion in mandatory funding to establish a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Through collaboration between NIST, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, the NNMI aims to promote the development of manufacturing technologies with broad applications.

*When it comes to trade enforcement, as part of the President’s plan to level the playing field for American workers and businesses, the President’s budget will invest $26 million in ITA ($24M) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ($2M) to support a new trade enforcement unit-- the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), which will significantly enhance the Administration’s capabilities to aggressively challenge unfair trade practices around the world, including in China. The ITEC will represent a more aggressive “whole-of-government” approach to addressing unfair trade practices, and will serve as the primary forum within the federal government for executive departments and agencies to coordinate enforcement of international and domestic trade rules.
They pay people to write that drivel.  With your money.  Taken by force.  I know you don't have time to read thast stuff, but they're asking for more money so they can help you get more money to give to them. 
Here's Assistant Commerce Secretary Michael Camunez, writing about a border boondoggle that ate up a couple of his action-filled weeks: 
At each stop, stakeholders repeated the theme that we—government and business—must work together to change the narrative about the border. The goal is not to diminish awareness of the fact that real security challenges exist; rather, we need to increase awareness that there is more to the border story. Both countries are critical to the economy of the other, and one of our goals for this trip was to highlight the fact that new commercial opportunities exist and that the border serves a critical role in facilitating the essential flow of goods and people between Mexico and the U.S.

Our delegation consisted of U.S. and Mexico government officials and members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We conducted stakeholder outreach events related to the border trade facilitation efforts under the U.S.-Mexico 21st Century Border Management initiative, which was established by Presidents Obama and Calderon in May 2010 as a vehicle to develop and promote a more secure and seamless border between our two countries. These events provided us with an opportunity to share information with stakeholders about the ongoing work and accomplishments of the initiative and to receive important, on-the-ground feedback from them, which can be incorporated into the 21st Century Border Management work streams.
Facilitating initiatives for stakeholder feedback within work streams outreach for increased awareness of changing narratives for an overview of the critical role of the infrastructure's ability to provide feedback for an increased level of dialogue for....

Hell, if you can read two consecutive sentences of that theft-funded drivel without throwing up in your mouth just a little bit, you're a better man than me. 

What's more offensive?  That John Bryson's assistant, Michael C. Camunez,  was paid to write that stuff, or that he's probably next in line to spend the Commerce Department's loot if John Bryson keeps running into cars? 

Let's keep this incident in perspective, folks.  Bryson may have done $15,000 damage on Saturday.  That's nothing compared to the damage he's done since 2008. 

Shut down the Department Of Commerce.  Fold the weather forecasting functions into the Air Force.  Knock down their headquarters building.  Hell, turn John Bryson loose, and let him knock down the building. 

Gary Johnson - Be Libertarian With Me

For those on the left who are disappointed about locking up black people for sitting on weed, blowing up brown people for sitting on oil, keeping Gitmo open, using drones, using warrantless wiretaps, and all the things that Bush did, plus some....

For those on the right who are disappointed about a nominee who was the John The Baptist for ObamaCare, who is weak on the 2nd Amendment, and whose judicial appointments included plenty of Democrats....

Check this out....It'll eat up around two minutes of your life, but it is time well spent.

Look at it this way.  If you are a Texan, who did you vote for in 2008 - Obama or McCain?  If you voted for McCain, your vote was "wasted".  Obama won it.  He's president.  You might as well have stayed home.  If you voted for Obama, your vote was "wasted".  McCain easily carried Texas.  You might as well have stayed home. 

The point of voting isn't to choose the winner and win a bet with yourself.  It's not about how good you feel when you leave the booth. 
It's about sending a message.  Sending a signal.  Come be Libertarian with us !! 

If you don't like the way you feel afterwards, you can always go back to tyranny, and support those who are sending us into a downward spiral with Greece. 

Come be Libertarian with us !!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On The Fair Pay Act

Here's some info on the Fair Pay Act, courtesy of the National Committee on Pay Equity:
The major provision of the Fair Pay Act prohibits wage discrimination based on sex, race, or national origin among employees for work in "equivalent jobs." Equivalent jobs are those whose composite of skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions are equivalent in value, even if the jobs are dissimilar. The Act is a natural extension of the 1963 Equal Pay Act, which is limited to sex-based discrimination in the same jobs. For enforcement purposes, the Fair Pay Act allows class action lawsuits to be filed and provides for compensatory and punitive damages. It also fills the information gap for workers by requiring some employers to disclose to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) general job classifications and their pay statistics (although it maintains individual confidentiality). The bill prohibits a company from lowering any employee's wage rate in order to implement fair pay.

In other words, it's a feast for lawyers. 

How do you determine if pay is "fair" between dissimilar occupations? 
There has been a variety of experiences with pay equity implementation. In a school district, elementary school head secretaries were compared to audiovisual technicians. In a hospital, registered nursing assistants were compared to plumbers. In a shoe factory, console operators/sample stitchers were compared to cutters. In a retail food chain, cashiers and meat wrappers were compared to stock clerks. In state and municipal governments, job evaluation systems have allowed comparisons to be made between many female- and male-dominated jobs. These have included comparing Clerk Typists and Custodians; Secretaries and Lab Technicians; Finance Clerks and Maintenance Workers; Emergency Services Operators and Fire Dispatchers; and Dining Hall Coordinators and Automotive Parts Technicians. Through collective bargaining negotiations, Social Workers in a large county received a pay adjustment after being compared to Parole Officers.

In other words, the National Committee on Pay Equity will decide.  With the lawyers.  God help us all.  Your boss might consider giving you a raise instead of that slacker in the next cubicle, but would it be worth the risk? 

Ok, here's a thought experiment....  Name two people who have done your job, for the same time, who works as hard as you, with the same results that you achieve. 

You have thirty more seconds. 

Pencils down.  Turn in your papers. 

If you were able to think of anyone who has done your job for the same time with the same effort with the same results, you are probably unemployed.  Equality isn't possible for longer than 3 days on a job.   

This is the Obama Camp's opening salvo in the non-war on women from the Obama Camp. 

Government intervention in the price of something decreases demand for the thing.  There is going to be more money for lawyers, more money for government salary evaluators, and less money for you. 

Perhaps I've exagerrated.  Obama may wind up doing the exact job, for the same duration, with the same results as.....Jimmy Carter.