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Why Legislate It

I was reading posts on the Facebook timeline of George Takei today. Folks are up in arms over a bill that passed in the Senate that would make it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation. Most were screaming about the assholes in the House and how they would never pass it, or that Speaker John Boehner would not let it come to a vote.

Ummmmm… ok? Why do we need a law for this? According to George, there are still states out there where you can be fired for being “gay”. Ummmm… ok? Don’t live there.

I know, controversial. Homophobic. Nut job. Blah. Blah. Blah.

My point is, why do we have to legislate this? Are there actual laws in the books that say “If he is gay, you can fire him!”? If so, then I agree, let us push the states to repeal those stupid laws. Or, as I believe George meant, are there laws on the books that specifically call out that a business cannot fire someone based solely on their preference? If this is the case, then why did we make those laws?

One would think, that in today’s world, if a business fired a person for no other reason than sexual preference, said business would be dragged through court and/or be run out of existence. Legislating for a specific group is bad policy.

Why not create a law for Jews? Muslims? People from Cincinnati? What if I get fired because my teeth are yellowing and the business feels I do not adequately represent an appearance they feel is acceptable? Do I, then, get a law in my benefit?

It does not matter if it is a one-person group or a one-million person group. Policy like that just gives people a reason to play the victim. And when people play the victim, politicos will flock to them like leeches until we have even more divide than there already is, followed by even more bad policy.

Work hard to effect positive change. But do it for EVERYONE, not just your pet group.

The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

Yesterday there were elections all over the country. None bigger was the gubernatorial election in the great state of Virginia. We lost. They won.

Terry McAuliffe, Democrat, narrowly squeaked out a win. To be honest, I did not care to look at the final tally (I am told is was under 3%) because it does not matter. We lost. They won.

What I find most disturbing is the immediate finger pointing and blaming that went on from my friends on the right. Many blamed Cuccinelli for causing a rift with the RNC and thus getting no funding. Others blamed the Libertarian crowd for voting third-party  (who received around 6-7%). Still others blamed the establishment Republicans for doing nothing to help their candidate. (Including so-called Conservative Chris Christie, who won his own state with over 60%.)

In the end, what does it matter? Let the Democrats gloat; while they are, get our collective asses out there and spread the message. We narrowed a large gap in a couple of weeks. Many were saying that McAuliffe would win by 7-12+ points. He didn’t. He barely won. We barely lost.

The mere fact that we did almost win is reason for optimism. We have to continue to hammer our messages home. If there is a candidate, make sure they are fully vetted. Make sure, if it is discovered that the third party might be a plant (as was evidenced by a huge Obama supporter raising funds for the third party guy), make sure it goes viral.

We own the internet. Progressives cannot touch us in that arena. Our word resonates, when articulated correctly. We saw that here when merely pushing the Affordable Healthcare Act news brought victory within our grasp.

Don’t quibble. Don’t moan and groan. Steal your resolve. Elections have consequences. Virginia will learn that, if ‘Big Mac’ has his way. But so does going against the will of the People. Get ready for 2014. We should already be gearing up.

The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

The content of this blog post is my own opinion. Deal with it. I did not look at all the minutia of data available, I merely have extracted what other reporters from reputable sources have discerned from the content. Sorry. I am not an academic who spends hours, days, months, years of his life gathering and deciphering data. Again, deal with it.

I was drawn into a discussion on Facebook. And, by drawn in, I mean I read a couple of comments on a thread and interjected my own opinions. This particular thread caught my eye when a friend commented:

The 1% have shown that they view minimum wage increases as an opportunity to raise prices even more than minimum wage went up, and take an even bigger chunk out of the middle class. 

 What we need to do is tax the hell out of the 1% and eliminate ALL of their write-offs so we can have the government provide us with a happy, healthy society, if they don’t want to provide us with one.

That sort of took me by surprise. I have never really met anyone who thought that the government should be solely responsible for taking complete care of us. That is an impossible dream, in my opinion. The government can only TAKE from the economy. They create NOTHING. So, in order to provide the above utopian society, everyone has to either be forced into accepting equal everything, or have to voluntarily give up everything they have until each person is equal. Unfortunately, that is not in the nature of man. We are built to compete, and as a result, some are going to be more driven and are going to be more successful than others.

Next came the following comment (by another person in the thread):

I think we should do both, raise the minimum wage and tax the rich something like 75%. I’m never gonna be rich, so fuck ‘em.

That comment was even more shocking than the first. This individual has such a low self-esteem. He KNOWS that he will never succeed. So he either admits that he has no skills, and will never rise above being a barely-successful nobody, or knows that he is a lazy good-for-nothing who does not want to even try and would rather just survive at the expense of someone else’s labor.

Of course, the third possibility is that he feels the rich have made it so that no one else can succeed, and so is being a ‘realist’. He knows that nothing he does will matter. To which I take exception, as did not the guys who created Facebook, Tumblr, and soon Twitter become rather famous and wealthy? Even in this regulation-heavy world? This belief, to me, means he is just scared to try. He has no faith in his own ability to carve out a successful life for himself and his family. That or it is a jealousy issue. He knows he cannot make it, and so hates those who did. He would rather just strip successful people of their labor in order to satisfy his feeling of inadequacy. There was a time when we actually idolized the super wealthy. We wanted to be them. We were driven to succeed, just like them.

So, seeing these comments regarding minimum wage, I entered the fray with my own two cents. I commented on how studies have shown that mandating a higher wage has, in fact, caused the opposite effect, including raised un-employment, raised prices, etc. It was an innocuous statement, pulled from my business class memory where this very discussion arose.

With all I said, the only thing taken was ‘studies’. Mr. Jealousy only cared that I state what study and by whom. A second fellow trotted out the old ‘conservatives like to throw about the word study but yet cannot give details as to who or what was said‘. I swiftly apologized for not keeping my college notes handy, and promised to bring forth my evidence. Which brings us to here.

First of all, I balk at the indication that ‘evil rich’ guys are sticking it to us. Of course I will admit that there are some shady people out there bilking people for all they are worth. Man can be inherently wicked. But by and large I do not think that this is the case. Businesses are created, usually, for one purpose – to make money. And when something threatens that profit, a business is obliged to do what it can to maintain its desired margin. I would assume that each person on the employ of said business would agree. If the business did not, everyone would be out of a job.

Raising the minimum wage is one of those things that can affect the bottom line. In 2011, a major study was done in the Alabama/Georgia area regarding how businesses handled the mandated raising of employee wages. Contrary to arguments (my own included) those businesses did not just run out and slash jobs. In fact, they didn’t even jack up their prices to offset the cost. What, then, is the problem? If these businesses were fine and profitable after the increase, then obviously we can raise it again. As has been seen in many recent news reports, fast food workers are demanding that they get a ‘fair’ wage of $15.00/hr.

Unfortunately, it is not so simple. That same report showed just what those businesses did to offset higher employment costs. They hired more experienced help, instead of young kids seeking their first job. Thus while overall employment remained steady, the employment of youth dropped. They stopped or delayed any forthcoming raises, or bonuses. They reduced the availability of overtime (a personal experience of mine saw that my hourly workers loved their 1.5-2 times hourly wage for overtime, resulting in their getting a larger check than me, the foreman.)

Businesses eliminated or reduced training. They significantly raised performance standards (resulting, I imagine, in smaller chance at bonuses or promotion). They hired part-time instead of fulltime employees. They decided not to hire or expand, instead having the same employees do more for the check they earned.

All of these things were a direct result of being forced to pay people more wages. Now you may not think there is any big deal with the above scenario, but tell that to the kid trying to get his first job; trying to pay for college. Tell that to the ass-busting employee who is always willing to work extra to meet production requirements, and who many times relies on that overtime pay.

Additionally, it has been shown that raising the wage really does nothing to help people out of poverty. This has been a rallying cry as well; folks want a ‘living wage’. I.e., they want to get out of poverty. The statistics just do not bear this out. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 20% of all minimum wage employees are heads of household or fulltime spouses.

So let us be specific in our studies, as was asked previously. Let us start with the studies by the guys now working for President Obama. David Card and Alan Kruegar. They did a study a while back that said raising minimum wage had no real effect on the employment rate. Great! So let us do as we said, and raise it to $15.00/hr. Not so fast. Even the author admits that the raise has to be ‘modest’- whatever that means. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the raise? Instead of $7.25, we can go to $7.30? $7.50?

The above study has come under fire by others. Apparently, economic folks such as Benjamin Powell, Donald Deere, Kevin Murphy, etc., state that the results of the study were an outlier. In fact, the study was done using phone call interviews. And not all participated. An average of about 80% did, but the study did nothing to account for those who did not; What about businesses that went under? Shouldn’t they be part of the equation, no matter how small?

In 2000, another study was done on the exact same area over the exact same time period. In this case, Neumark and Wascher used payroll records (imagine that… using actual data and not a phone call). The results of the new study were the exact opposite. Neumark and Wascher found that the data was

“…consistent with the predictions that raising minimum wage reduces the demand for low-wage workers.”

From a report in Forbes (emphasis mine),

Helpful would be detailed research on the latest phase of the multi-year increase starting in 2009. Argued Crocker: “Certainly, the raw data is not encouraging. Whereas the number of employed people in the U.S. fell by about 4.6 percent from July 2008 to July 2010, for teenage workers (a reasonable proxy for minimum wage workers), employment fell by a whopping 21 percent.”

Further in the report, we see

Economists William Even and David Macpherson concluded of the 2005-2007 increase: “the consequences of the minimum wage for black young adults without a diploma were actually worse than the consequences of the Great Depression.” After the July 2009 increase, contended economist William Dunkelberg, “nearly 600,000 teen jobs disappeared, even with nearly four percent growth in the economy,” which “compared to a loss of 250,000 jobs in the first half of the year as GDP growth declined by four percent.” Last year the unemployment rate for teens was 24.9 percent and for minority teens was 38.2 percent.

I don’t think I need to go any further. My antagonists wanted studies, and I gave them some things from what I had discussed in class as well as had read online.

I will end by saying that I know studies can be slanted. I think a lot of them are. Minimum wage studies are no different, but these things have been going on for decades. A large portion of them (again, just going by what these other studies I have read have claimed. I did not, personally, read every study since 1938) indicate that mandating a high wage ultimately hurts people. Lower employment rates, higher costs, business decisions that hurt everyone- all of these things are a direct result of government trying to be the ‘good guy’.

The purpose of government is not to make everyone equal. The purpose of government is to 1. Protect the people, and 2. To make it fair, so that everyone has an equal shot.

If you want the government to run your life and dictate every aspect, move to a communist country. The free market, when left alone and to work as it is intended, increases the wealth of that nation better than any other economic system.

That is not me talking, that is 5000+ years of experience in other forms. The free market pull the world up from the stone ages. If it were left alone, imagine how much farther we could go.

The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

Election 2012

I am voting for Mittens.

That is all.

-The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

The Great Debate

I had a great debate with a very good friend today. It is a shame that we are on opposite sides of so many issues, but at least, unlike most, we are civil in our aguments and we know when to shut up. The discussion today? Abortion.

I am totally against abortion for any reason. That doesn’t make me unsympathetic to those who become pregnant under extreme and horrifying conditions. To get pregnant because of rape is an unimaginable event. In my opinion, rape should be a capital offense. But that is my own view, one very likely to bring even more deriding commentary my way.

So immediately on discussing abortion, my friend jumped right to the “brutally raped”, “could not bring a child into this world by such an act..” , etc etc. Why do those who believe abortion is OK have to jump right to the worst case scenario? What about your typical girl who sleeps around and fails to take precautions? Is that not the most common way for this to happen? That and the couple who, for whatever reason, do not take precautions and wind up pregnant?

Every time. Bar none. Rape and incest jump right out there in your face, as if they believe you cannot truly believe it is right.

No. It isn’t right. But neither is killing an unborn child. It isn’t right that God allowed this to happen, but he gave man free will and the devil will take every advantage. It is not the least bit right. But I do not believe we should kill that child, who did nothing more than come into being by the Grace of God. Be that as it may, I bare no hatred toward a woman getting an abortion. It IS her body. But her soul will be judged by God, not me. Just PLEASE stop saying I am responsible for you. Stop telling me it is your RIGHT to have as much unprotected sex as you want, as long as I pay for your healthcare. Stop telling me that my religious (or personal) beliefs make me a bigotted hate-monger. I say, why do you hate children? Why do you hate God so much that you are willing to kill a blossoming life?

I did a little looking. There are more than 6,000,000 pregnancies in the USA annually. The average number of those caused by rape? Between 170-340.

Seriously? You want abortion to be paid for so we can cover .00005% of all pregnancies? I know, ‘we don’t want to burden the mother with a child’. Then don’t. Put your baby up for adoption. There are many, many, couples out there who would show the baby all of the love and attention you can’t.

This debate will rage forever, and nothing I say here will change anything. I don’t judge you, so don’t judge me.

-The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

 

 

On 9/11, we were attacked by a group of cowardly, Muslim terrorists. Most were from Saudi Arabia, though you don’t really hear that much any more. As Americans, we will not- we cannot – forget those who were lost on that day. Two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six lives were forfeit to some radicalized ideology of which we knew nothing about. I was honored to be able to participate in this most endearing day of remembrance.

Louis was aboard United Flight 93, which went down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It went down there, and not it’s potential target (Washington, DC) because men like him tried to take back the aircraft. I would like to introduce you to a man of great strength and character, who most of us will never know, but none of us will ever forget. Rest in peace, Lou. We have the watch.

Even as a boy, Lou Nacke had a need to know. He’d ferret out each year’s Christmas gifts, unwrapping them to see what was in store, rewrapping them and then informing his three siblings so they could ask their parents for substitutions before Christmas.

He also had a need to be the typical big brother, swerving the family snowmobile to throw his siblings off and helping his sister see how long she could hold her breath by holding her head under water. He also gave her a pair of diamond earrings.

As an adult, Nacke was 5 feet 9 inches and 195 pounds, with a weightlifter’s gait and an endearing charm. He knew a little bit about everything and wasn’t shy about letting people know.

Nacke graduated from a Philadelphia high school in 1977, after attending several different schools while his family moved from Virginia to Scranton to Monroeville to Olean, N.Y. and finally to Philadelphia for his father’s job with A&P.

While living in Monroeville, Nacke ran through a glass door and required 100 stitches. Years later, remembering that incident, he got a Superman tattoo on his left shoulder.

His years in Western Pennsylvania made him a loyal Pittsburgh sports fan, revering the local teams so much that when he bought memorabilia, such as a Roberto Clemente jersey, he would frame it.

He worked a series of shipping and receiving jobs with various chains. While at Kmart as an assistant manager, he met his wife, Amy, who was doing temp work at the store.

In 1997, Nacke was hired at Kay-Bee Toys, supervising 400 employees at an 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Clinton, N.J. He commuted an hour to work each way so that his wife could live close to her family.

In fact, since their wedding on Sept. 16, 2000, the couple had lived with her parents while building their own home nearby.

Nacke and Robert Weisberg, his father-in-law, were also good friends, smoking cigars together and enjoying wines Nacke bought over the Internet.

On Sept. 16, Amy celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary with her family at Nacke’s favorite restaurant. They toasted him with a California Cabernet he’d bought.

“We said, ‘We’re going to miss you like hell and you’re probably mad as hell that we opened this wine,’ ” Weisberg said.

Distribution manager, Kay-Bee Toys, 42, New Hope, Bucks County
Wife, Amy; sons, Joseph Nicholas, 18, Louis Paul II, 14
He was on his way to Sacramento for business

Investigators give special credit to five passengers: Todd Beamer, 32, Mark Bingham, 31, Tom Burnett, 38, Jeremy Glick, 31, and Lou Nacke, 42. “Those passengers on this jet were absolute heroes, and their actions during this flight were heroic,” declared FBI Director Robert Mueller during a visit to the crash scene.

The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

UPDATE: Speaking of mooching freeloaders who don’t want their money cut off. Check out the recent email received by Michelle Malkin.

I have no problem with people receiving benefits from the various federal programs. In fact, I get a monthly check from Uncle Sam as payment for my 20 years of military service. On top of that, I have a pretty decent medical program.

(For those who think it is FREE though, you are sadly mistaken. While it may be relatively inexpensive, I DO have to pay my family and myself. I have to find a doctor willing to take Tricare and I have a co-pay for each visit. Yes, I could save money by driving to a VA hospital, but…. well, no thanks.)

However, there is an argument that can be made that too much of a good thing is not quite as good as it originally seemed. If you continue to do something for people, how long before they stop even trying to do for themselves?

My liberal friends argue that not enough is done. There are poor people who are still not making it. To them, I ask, how much is enough? Have we not been having this War on Poverty since the 1960’s? What has it accomplished? Have we not poured BILLIONS into the Education system? What do we have to show for it? A lower standard of education that the rest of the world.

And the signs are now appearing that people are, in fact, content to live off of the public provisions. A recent poll shows that of those queried, 23% receive some sort of continued public financing. Now that may not sound like much, but extrapolating the numbers out to a national level, that means some 69 million folks fall into that group.

Of that, SIXTY-THREE (63) percent said that they were not willing to have any of their benefits cut if it meant helping to cut down the deficit including 33% who said NOT WILLING AT ALL. That means roughly 15 million folks would not allow a single penny to be taken back. Yet here we are, buried in a mountain of debt.

In a similar report (sorry I don’t have that link), job makers in the Detroit area actually had people asking them to hold the job open for them for a couple of weeks so that the UNEMPLOYED WORKER could finish his or her last few weeks of unemployment money. (And this, after having the benefits extended for over 99 weeks!!) What the hell??

If you cannot see the forest for the trees, then I don’t know what else to tell you. Ben Franklin had it more than right when he said that the best thing to do for a poor man is to make him uncomfortable in his poverty.

A helping hand up, yes. Continued hand outs, no more.

The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

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