Free Markets, Free People

Government

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Former McDonald’s CEO goes one for two

Ed Rensi is the former CEO of McDonalds and he commented on the reality of a $15 minimum wage and how most businesses will handle it:

I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry — it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries — it’s nonsense and it’s very destructive and it’s inflationary and it’s going to cause a job loss across this country like you’re not going to believe.”

He continues, “It’s not just going to be in the fast food business. Franchising is the best business model in the United States. It’s dependent on people that have low job skills that have to grow. Well if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work. It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this it’s going to happen faster.”

That’s the one he got right.  Here’s the one he got wrong:

I think we ought to have a multi-faceted wage program in this country. If you’re a high school kid, you ought to have a student wage. If you’re an entry level worker you ought to have a separate wage. The states ought to manage this because they know more [about] what’s going on the ground than anybody in Washington D.C.

Good grief, Mr. Rensi, why not let the market handle it?  You know, supply and demand?  What the heck is wrong with you?  You wouldn’t even be discussing this if government hadn’t intruded and decided unilaterally that you should pay your employees a certain amount of money for their labor.  It is because of government you’re even discussing automation above.  And now you think government – even state government (you know like California or New York?) – would be the solution?

Really?

And you were a CEO of a major corporation?

Wow.

~McQ

Where does this administration find these idiots?!

I’m sorry, I’m a little angry today.  That’s because of this statement:

“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” McDonald said Monday during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”

That’s a statement by VA Secretary Robert McDonald addressing a question about excessive wait times at VA facilities.  All I can figure is he must have been a rather mediocre product of public education because this screams “STUPID!”.

When waiting in line for “Space Mountain”, Mr. Secretary, do people die?  No?  Then, you idiot, it’s not a valid comparison.

And secondly, what sort of “satisfaction with the experience” can someone who died waiting have, dumbbell?  I’ll tell you now, since it is obvious you can’t figure it out – a very UNSATISFACTORY experience.

But of course, the dead can’t speak, can they you moron?!

Tell you what, why don’t you quit trying to find ways to explain the excessive wait times that are killing veterans and fix the effing problem?  Ever think of that?

Disney!

What a freaking imbecile.

~McQ

 

Windpower: Danes out while US has new plans to extend endangered species kill license for 30 years

Denmark is abandoning wind power.  Up till now, Danes had been paying very high energy bills, 66% of the bill being “green taxes” and only 15% going to energy generation.  Under pressure from Danes, who enjoy the highest energy prices in Europe, Danish politicians are abandoning wind power as “too expensive”:

Denmark’s government abandoned plans to build five offshore wind power farms Friday amid fears the electricity produced there would become too expensive for Danish consumers.

“Since 2012 when we reached the political agreement, the cost of our renewable policy has increased dramatically,” said Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt, a Liberal Party politician representing the country’s minority government, according to Reuters.

The government would have had to pay $10.63 billion to buy electricity from the five wind farms — a price deemed too expensive for consumers who already face the highest electricity prices in Europe.

“We can’t accept this, as the private sector and households are paying far too much. Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive,” Lilleholt said.

Imagine that.  The fact that “renewable energy” forms have been installed doesn’t equal “cheap energy” (much like ObamaCare doesn’t mean “cheap insurance”, even though you were led to believe it would).  And all of them have required some sort of subsidy to survive – which means they’re obviously not self-sufficient (that meaning that they can’t produce a product at a price that consumers are willing to pay and make enough profit to ensure their continued production).  In fact, I’m having a very rough time finding any “renewable” source of energy that is self-sufficient.

Of course, the reason for the emergence of “green” and “renewable” energy sources is the “global warming” scam.  That scam allows the environmental extremist agenda full run with your money.  And this, so far, has been the result (don’t forget Spain).

Meanwhile, in the US, we’re apparently going to continue with the fiasco and while we’re at it, kill more endangered species by extending the license to kill them that wind farms already have to 30 years:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency charged with protecting bald and golden eagles, is once again trying to make it easier for the wind industry to kill those birds.

Two weeks ago the agency opened public comment on “proposed improvements” to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. The changes would allow wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. That’s a lot. The agency estimates there are now about 72,434 bald eagles in the continental U.S.

And the media, which will make sure to run the picture of an oil soaked bird above the fold on page one and in the lead on newscasts, is not interested in this story at all.  As for the enviros? Well, much like the so-called feminists were willing to remain silent about Bill Clinton’s sexual abuse of women, they must also have malleable principles that allow them to sanction at least 4,200 chopped up bald eagles a year for the sake of “green energy”.

~McQ

First shot in a successful Constitutional war against ObamaCare?

We can only hope so … but then, one should remember that John Roberts sold his soul and his intellectual reputation to make payment for it into a tax.  So we shall see.  But some heartening news today if you’re someone who believes those in government should be held to the Constitution’s restrictions on government.

In a major ruling, Judge Rosemary Collyer, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said the administration does not have the power to spend money on “cost sharing reduction payments” to insurers without an appropriation from Congress.

Collyer’s decision doesn’t immediately go into effect, however, so that the administration can appeal it.

“This is an historic win for the Constitution and the American people,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “The court ruled that the administration overreached by spending taxpayer money without approval from the people’s representatives.”
At issue are billions of dollars paid to insurance companies participating in ObamaCare so they can reduce customers’ out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles for low-income people.

The House GOP argued that the administration was unconstitutionally spending money on these payments without Congress’s approval.

Of course that’s an almost daily occurrence for the past few decades.  The lines have blurred and no one is held accountable. Oversight? What a joke.

How far this will go and whether the decision will be upheld is a mystery at this point, but not much of one … see again the first sentence.

The administration, of course, had an answer:

But the administration said it did not need an appropriation from Congress because the funds were already guaranteed by the healthcare reform law in the same section as its better-known tax credits that help people pay for coverage.

Yup, the executive needs no permission to spend your money anymore, just as he or she no longer needs permission to wage war.  Blurred lines becoming even blurrier.  Separation of powers?  Get real.

Imperial presidency?  For quite a while.  The Judge, though, wasn’t buying the explanation:

Collyer ruled that the section only appropriated funds for tax credits and said the cost sharing reductions require a separate congressional appropriation, which the administration does not currently have.

“Such an appropriation cannot be inferred,” Collyer wrote. “None of Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments — whether based on economics, ‘unintended’ results, or legislative history — is persuasive. The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers under Section 1402.”

Good for her. It won’t dismantle the dreadful system, but it does take another chink out of its funding. It’s a start.  But whether the start will later faulter and fail to be upheld is still to be seen.  In today’s world, unfortunately, the likelihood of that sort of a failure is much more prevalent than had this ruling come down 40 or 50 years ago when most people still believed in a much more limited government constrained by the Constitution.

Brave new world … one that promises to be much like the old and oppressive world if some have their way.

~McQ

Venezuela: How bad is it?

It’s bad:

Despite breathless coverage of Venezuela’s vanishing supply of condomstoilet paper, and beer, perhaps the country’s most debilitating shortage has been that of food, which appears to be a motivating factor for growing antigovernment sentiment.

“I want the recall because I don’t have food,” one woman told the Venezuelan commentary site Contrapunto, referring to a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro that has so far reportedly drawn more than a million signatures in support.

“We want out of this agony — there is too much need in the streets,” another woman told Contrapunto. “We have much pressure because there is no food and every day we have to ask ourselves what we are going to eat.”

Many families have been reduced to one meal a day.  In a verdant and rich country, this is what socialism has brought them too.

And the idiocracy in charge?  Well, they’re reduced to abjectly stupid moves like this in an attempt to forestall the inevitable:

To try to shore up wages, Maduro on Sunday announced a 30% minimum-wage increase, which comes after a 25% hike on March 1 and is the 33rd wage boost since 1999. Beginning this month, workers and pensioners will earn 15,051 bolivars a month — only about $13, based on the black-market conversion rate, according to El País.

That amount may become even more paltry. Venezuela’s inflation rate in 2015 was 180.9%, according to the central bank, and the International Monetary Fund expects inflation in the country to reach 720% this year.

The acquisition of food has become the primary function of Venezuelans:

“I have to leave the house at 5 a.m., facing the risk of being killed, to stand in line all day and only buy two or three products,” Jhonny Mendez said.

Do yourself a favor and look through the pictures of the amount of food several families have in their house in a day that accompany the above article..  

What has happened in Venezuela is criminal … there’s no other word for it.  Chavez was a criminal and his henchman now in charge is also a criminal.  What they’ve done to that country is unforgivable.  And it was all predictable … in fact, it was predicted.  I also have a feeling it isn’t going to end well:

Meanwhile, the return El Niño, a cyclical weather phenomenon, leads to widespread power outages across the country as the authorities’ incompetence and corruption are laid bare. 76 percent of Venezuelans have fallen into poverty and 13 percent eat only twice a day. Maduro’s government is rejected by 85 percent of the population.

Looting last week was contained but the Governor of Lara, Henri Falcón, a former Chavista, noted that “this is a thousand times worse than the reasons that led to the ‘Caracazo.’” He added that, at any moment, the political, social and economic crisis may lead to a conflict of incalculable consequences.

~McQ

Two real world examples of socialism and big government that leftist voters ignore

It isn’t like you have to go back ages in history to see governing models that don’t work.  The recent end of the Cold War provided perfect examples.  But they collapsed in the ’80s and our younger generation has no memory of the hardships the people of those countries suffered under socialist totalitarian rule.  They also give indications that they think government is the solution for all our problems instead of understanding that for the most part government is responsible for many of our problems.  It seems they think that if we just had big government, everything would be lovely.

The “Feel the Bern” crowd are enamored with “social democracy”.  They like to point to Europe and pretend that the system is a desirable one.  But instead of pointing to Europe, perhaps they should cast their eyes to the south – to Venezuela.  They might find it, oh, I don’t know, enlightening:

In 1999, Venezuela was taken over by Socialist who promised that he would punish big corporations and redistribute wealth to “the people” to provide health care, education, infrastructure, and even out income inequality. (Sound familiar?) The American Left cheered. Celebrities like Sean Penn and Danny Glover praised his Democratic Socialist economic measures. Chavez systematically nationalized the oil, banking, agricultural, food distribution, telecommunications, and power industries in Venezuela; because running them as social democratic communes would eliminate “greed” and give the people lower cost goods and services. The American Left praised him for “democratizing” the Venezuelan economy. When Chavez shut down opposition TV, radio, and newspapers the American Left defended it as necessary to protect the Revolution.

The American Left likes to pretend now that Venezuela isn’t a real example of Social Democracy; but up until the economy collapsed (as every sensible person knew it would) they were Chavez’s biggest cheerleaders, as the links above (or any Google search) shows.

It is, of course, a horrific example of a socialist takeover, but a typical one.  A once well-off country with the most proven oil reserves in the world reduced to literal poverty.  Food shortages, other commodity shortages, you name it, you can’t get it there.  Oh, and about those oil reserves?  Well it seems that Venezuela has an energy crisis.  And the government’s solution?  Well it said everyone should take Fridays off (yeah, screw productivity – that’s a capitalist construct) and this bit of brilliance:

Last week, his government said it was shifting its time zone forward by 30 minutes to save power by adding half an hour of daylight.

Socialism … in Venezuela’s case they’re actually feeling the burn.

Then there is Brazil.  Brazil is the lover of “big governments” wet dream.  Or as it has now become, a nightmare.  Brazil is a failing state and the primary reason that it is failing is because of the premise under which it has operated for decades.  Big government paternalism:

For all its modernist appeal, it was one more expression of the country’s long and troubled attachment to the concept of a giant paternalistic state, responsible for managing the affairs of the entire society, from its biggest companies to its poorest citizens.

[…]

“The problem is, from time immemorial, Brazil’s political leaders only see one way forward, the growth of the state,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a former leftist intellectual who sought to reduce the size of Brazil’s government while president from 1995 to 2002. “But you need another springboard for progress, that doesn’t exclude the state but that accepts markets. This just doesn’t sink in in Brazil.”

Many wan’t to blame Brazil’s problems on corruption like the corruption scandal now rocking the nation.  But the corruption arises from the base problem … big, unanswerable government:

While many observers of Brazil’s predicament have focused on the country’s corruption, that may miss the point. Brazil’s deeper problem lies in the failures of its Leviathan state, which has perennially reached for the utopian visions embodied in Brasília but instead has produced recurring cycles of boom and dramatic bust.

Of course there a huge lessons to be learned from these two countries that apply to this country and the current political arguments now being made.  All, to some degree or another (with Socialist Sanders being the extreme) argue for both social democracy and bigger government.  We apparently don’t learn from other countries but insist on learning the hard way, by repeating what has already failed any number of times.

That’s because of arrogance and the belief that the only reason any of this hasn’t worked in the past is the right people weren’t in charge.

With the class of politicians we have running today, Hugo Chavez would be a better choice to run their ideas.

And we all know how well he did.

~McQ

The new fascism

Consider yourself a climate skeptic?  Well that’s dangerous ground if the new fascists have their way.  And who are these fascists?  Why a group of 20 Attorney Generals from blue states.  The Federalist Society has the goods:

The twenty Democratic AGs’ (“Green 20”) concerted investigation against ExxonMobil (Exxon) and organizations deemed “climate change deniers” represents a threat to core constitutional commands of free speech, limited and constitutional government and the rule of law. This latest incarnation of regulation by litigation which seeks to punish climate change wrongthink has crossed a line that lies at the core of the First Amendment—a government imposing its orthodoxy upon its citizens. Declaring the need for “transformational” action on climate change as a settled question, Virgin Islands’ AG, Claude Earl Walker, announced, “We cannot continue to rely on fossil fuel. Vice President Gore has made that clear.” (Glad that’s all settled!)

As the United States Supreme court has noted: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.” Further, punishing Exxon for its own research that expresses concern about climate change disincentivizes research and development and criminalizes the expressions of doubts, theories and concerns that are essential to the scientific method.

So, as others try to paint them as the “Green 20”, I’ll call them what they are – the Fascist 20.  They are the very definition of fascists, or at least this part of the definition – “forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc.”  

You may roll your eyes at the latter part but isn’t their goal precisely that, i.e. deciding what industries is acceptable and which aren’t?  And attacking those which “aren’t”.  First it was the tobacco industry.  That worked.  So now, using the same sort of tactics and laws, they’re going after the fossil fuel industry, climate skeptics and anyone else they rope into this gaggle they want to eliminate.

This can also be likened to the Inquisition since it is clear, to many, that the “science” of climate alarmism has now become a religion, and it is time, since they can’t prove their point scientifically, to go after the heretics who are badly damaging their scam/religion.

If you don’t think that’s the case, consider this:

The tone taken by these attorneys general at their March 29th press conference with Al Gore reveals all. The calculated hysteria whipped up by Gore’s linkage of natural disasters and the spread of the Zika virus to climate change, was followed by the state AGs startling descriptors of their quarry—“morally vacant forces,” destroyers of this earth, planet destroyers, existential threats, deceivers! Walker announced his offices launch of “an investigation into a company that we believe must provide us with information about what they knew about climate change, and when they knew it,” a catchy formulation that was a verbatim echo of NY AG Schneiderman’s tone of climate McCarthyism.

This vituperative language calls into question these regulators impartiality and professional ethics and rises to abuse of the powers of the office of attorney general. Gore thrummed a bass-line of “fraud” and sensationalized recent weather news as “a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” Somehow the rise of new diseases that Gore never heard of when he was growing up can be attributed to fossil fuel use (junk science, anyone?). NY AG Schneiderman closed the news conference with a litany of billions and billions of dollars of damage.

This is indeed, junk science and an attempt to use the authority of the law to both intimidate and silence those who find both the science and the arguments of the climate hysterics to be badly wanting.

This is a big “no-go” in terms of how this country is supposed to work.  But we now have government agents as, basically, hit men, out to ensure the bosses agenda gets followed.  And, obviously, they’ll stoop to any level, to include fascism, to get that job done.

Land of the free …?

Yeah, feast your eyes.

~McQ

If you think Bernie is expensive

Hillary Clinton admits not only to a tax increase but a 1 Trillion dollar tax increase.  To spend on the debt?  Well, no.  New spending! Freeloader spending!

If you know how government works, they’ll admit to $1 trillion in new taxes and claim its what they’ll spend, but my guess is the real spending will end up being 4 to 5 times that much.  And that in the land of $18 Trillion debt.  Check out this interview.  Whatever happened to “no new taxes”?

Daily News: So on taxes, that I did call for among other things, a surcharge on incomes over $5 million, 30% minimum, the Buffett rule, over a million…

Clinton: Over a million. Yeah, right.

Daily News: …and then to carried interests, a change in capital gains that would reward people for holding for six years or more, I believe it is. How much revenue do you foresee coming off that and what will be the impact on growth?

Clinton: Well, I have connected up my proposals for the kind of investments I want to make with the taxes that I think have to be raised. So on individual pieces of my agenda, I try to demonstrate clearly that I have a way for paying for paid family leave, for example, for debt-free tuition. So I would spend about $100 billion a year. And I think it’s affordable, and I think it’s a smart way to make investments, to go back to our economic discussion, that will contribute to growing the economy.

Now I’m well aware that this is a heavy lift. I understand that. But I think connecting what I’m asking for to the programs, to the outcomes and results that I’m calling for give me a stronger hand, and that’s how I’m going to go at it.

Daily News: So if I understand you correctly, if you look at your proposals for college costs and for family leave, for infrastructure investments…

Clinton: Well, that’s a little bit different, because infrastructure investment, I’m still looking at how we fund the National Infrastructure Bank. It may be repatriation. That’s one theory, or something else. It’s about $100 billion a year.

Daily News: A hundred billion a year, so that comes out to about a trillion dollars…

Clinton: Over ten.

Daily News: …over ten years.

Meanwhile, never mentioned, is what happens to an already hurting economy when government decides it can spend money better than those who earn it?  Well the same thing that happens in any planned economy.  People who earn the money quit doing so since it simply isn’t worth it.  When marginal rates rise to the point that if you spend your time earning more, most of it goes out in taxes, well then you put together a plan to maximize what you get to keep and you don’t commit to any extra earning that will be mostly taxes.

Does the government spending drop when the planned tax revenues drop?

Have you ever seen it do so?  Do you have any idea of how we’ve amassed the $18 trillion dollar debt we have?

So yeah, let’s elect this criminal crackpot and economic illiterate and finally pull the flush chain.  Let’s just let it all go down the drain.

What a political season we’re being subjected too.  And idiot on the right and two socialist crackpots on the left.

Meanwhile, the apparent hot topic is whether or not North Carolina has the right to have men use a men’s room and not the women’s room.

Freaking nuts!

~McQ

An update of a couple of topics we’ve been following

First, the University of Missouri, where the SJWs, with the help of a professor who didn’t think much of the 1st Amendment and was fine with committing battery to deny it, is having a rough year.  Consequences from this bit of nonsense have really hit the bottom line:

Following a drop in students applying for housing, the University of Missouri will not be placing students in two dorms for the fall 2016 semester.

Mizzou will be closing the Respect and Excellence halls (ironic names, given the circumstances) in order to utilize dorm space “in the most efficient manner” to keep costs down.

In March, the university announced that it saw a sharp drop in admissions for the coming school year, and will have 1,500 fewer students. This will lead to a $32 million budget shortfall for the school, prompting the need to close the dorms in order to save money.

“Dear university community,” wrote interim chancellor Hank Foley in an email to the school back in March. “I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news.”

You see, those who are looking for a college have alternatives.  And when they see a college or university that they perceive, right or wrong, to be out of control, they are likely to take their business elsewhere.  Afterall, they’re paying the bill.  So, take note all you institutions of higher learning who tend to fold like a wet paper box when a few students protest, you too may end up closing a couple of dorms if it goes the way of Mizzou.  Fair warning.

Oh, and speaking of alternatives, New York government has decided to be “wonderful” with other people’s money and has hiked the minimum wage to $15 (over a time period).  That’s double the wage of today.  White Castle, an NY institution, isn’t taking that well since it will have a very heavy impact on their profitability (they make a 1 to 2% profit after expenses, including labor).  White Castle’s CEO says there are few alternatives.  If it was about price increases only, they’d have to increase their prices by 50%.  He’s pretty sure that’s a no-go because of competition for dining out dollars.  So, what’s he left with?

In the hyper-competitive restaurant industry, margins are slim — Richardson says that, in a typical year, White Castle hopes to achieve a net profit of between 1 and 2 percent — and if labor costs go up, many restaurants will turn toward labor-cost-cutting automation or business models that don’t require many employees. That means a lot of kids won’t get that first job. After decades of baggage check-in kiosks at airports, ATMs, and self-check-out lines at the supermarket, is it really so hard to imagine automation replacing the kid behind the counter at burger joints?

And what is lost to more young, inexperienced and thereby low-wage workers?

“We know that Millennials aren’t thinking they’ll stay at White Castle for 30 years,” Richardson says. “We view it as the start of the path. That’s true if you stay at White Castle or move on to something else. The skills you gain, you can take to the next role: learning how to apply for and get a job, learning how to show up, learning a work ethic, making a paycheck, and having fun.”

But this is about more than wages — White Castle has offered benefits and retirement programs for decades. It’s about the opportunity to work, to take the first step up the ladder of life, to get started.

“Out-of-work kids who don’t have an opportunity to work get in trouble. We want to offer kids jobs, offer kids work,” Richardson says. “There’s dignity in that.”

Somehow, though, the concept of starter jobs that pay low wages (and with the minimum wage, it’s usually more than they are worth) has become lost in all of this and we see government stepping in to make them “career” jobs for some idiotic and economically unsound reason. The result is predictable, although it will likely be hidden. You won’t see numbers because the numbers in question are those who are never hired because the wage floor is too high. And they’re going to be the “out-of-work” kids who don’t get that first chance to experience a job and what it takes to succeed.

Instead an alternative will do the work. A kiosk will greet the customer, takes his order and money and do so at a price point well below a $15 an hour worker. This isn’t rocket science and the math isn’t hard at all – $15 times 0 hours equals what?

~McQ

Venezuela gives new meaning to black (out) Friday

Indeed, not only can you not get any staples at grocery stores in the socialist paradise of Venezuela, now there’s an energy shortage.

Solution!?  Take Friday off for a couple of months (because no one uses electricity at home)!

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuelans will have “long weekends” in an appearance on state television on Wednesday night, announcing the measure as part of a 60-day plan to fight a power crunch.

“This plan for 60 days, for two months, will allow the country to get through the most difficult period with the most risk. I call on families, on the youth, to join this plan with discipline, with conscience and extreme collaboration to confront this extreme situation,” Maduro said.

Yes, discipline, conscience and extreme collaboration because your government has so screwed the pooch that the poor thing is dying.  And it is your responsibility, dear Venezuelans, to do with out to fix their mess.

You see, they’ve flat run out of yours and other people’s money and they’re now calling on you to sacrifice even more!

And even with Venezuela and Cuba as prime examples of what Senator Sanders is pushing, there is a significant portion of the voting public that is trying to “feel the Bern”.

All the Venezuelans want is to “feel” a little electricity, oh, and milk and toilet paper, and diapers, and vegetables and meat, meat would be nice, and …

~McQ

 

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