I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

May 3, 2016

First, a video I think fitting to the occasion:

Such is my mood.

Tonight, Donald Trump won convincingly in the Indiana primary, and Ted Cruz ended his race shortly thereafter. Thus, the last conservative candidate and potentially competent president left the field. All we’re left with is a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, between an incompetent leftist who should be in prison and an incompetent would-be caudillo who is America’s answer to Hugo Chavez. And the latter is now the face and voice of the ostensibly *conservative* party.

With that, I am no longer a Republican, for I cannot be part of any organization or faction lead by a corrupt, emotionally unstable statist and narcissist who makes Barack Obama look like Solon.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

You know what amazes me? This election season. It began with such hope: an administration with unpopular policies; a corrupt, unlikable, and incompetent probable Democratic nominee; and a large Republican field offering many excellent choices. If any election was a shoo-in for Republicans and conservatives, it was this one.

And it all crashed and burned like the Hindenburg.

And you know who is responsible for this? No, not Donald Trump. He had every right to run and make his case to the public. Nor is the Republican Party ultimately to blame, though they helped create the conditions that drove alienated voters to Trump. The large field of candidates wasn’t responsible, because people could still have made a choice to coalesce around someone other than Trump. But, they didn’t. The media? Please. They whored themselves for Trump, certainly, but, again, the media doesn’t have mind-control rays to make voters vote a certain way. The final choice still stays with the true sovereign in the country: the voter.

And that is who is truly responsible and to blame for the rise of Donald J. Trump and the likely electoral disaster the Republican Party and conservative movement face in November, as well as the harm the nation will suffer under a Clinton presidency: the Republican primary voter.

Yeah, it’s your fault.

When Trump gets swamped in November; when Obamacare becomes irreversible; when the Senate flips back to the Democrats; when even the House is lost; when Hillary gets away with her felonies; when all the gains we made in state legislatures and governorships are pissed away; when the economy still stinks; when the IRS goes back to abusing people whose opinions it doesn’t like; when the state grows and grows and grows and our rights shrink ever further and the world becomes ever more dangerous, well, that’s the choice you made.

It’s all on you, the voter.

You maniacs. You blew it up.

On the verge of the easiest win we’ve ever had and a chance to make historic improvements in this country and undo the damage of the last 16 years, you decided that now was the perfect time to have a tantrum and break it all. Consider these six names:

  • Perry
  • Walker
  • Jindal
  • Rubio
  • Cruz
  • Paul

All of them were there for your choosing. Any one of them would likely have made a good president, maybe even great, and certainly better than Barack Obama has been, Hillary Clinton will be, and Donald Trump could be only in his dreams.

But, instead, you chose the guy who pandered to your justified anger. The con-artist who told you he knew how to make you great again, even though his policy prescriptions were so incoherent that even a resident of Wonderland would be confused.

The duty of a citizen is more than the act of voting and chanting “USA! USA! USA!” at sporting events.

The duty of a citizen is to use his or her vote wisely, with reason and thought toward what is best for the Republic, with sound judgment of the candidate’s character, and not to give it to a sideshow barker selling “Dr. Feelgood’s Miracle Cure.” There is no way a reasonable, sober, intellectually honest and responsible citizen could look at Donald Trump and think him in any way qualified to be president.

But then there’s you.

You had a duty, Trump voters, and you failed in it. You tossed away the heritage the Founders left us to swoon over a new Juan Peron.

You blew it up.


Failing State: $15 minimum wage drives clothing manufacturer out of Los Angeles

April 17, 2016
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage! Yay, Jerry Brown!!”

In my posts on the minimum wage and the Left’s push to raise it ever higher, I’ve tried to point out one key truth: Labor is a cost of doing business that businesses have to account for. When costs go up, these firms have only a few choices:

  1. They can pass on the cost to the consumer, risking the loss of customers’ business.
  2. They can cut labor costs by reducing hiring, cutting back hours, laying off employees, and automating.
  3. They can decide the reduced profit isn’t worth it and close shop, costing all employees their jobs.
  4. They can move out of the jurisdiction, probably costing local employees their jobs.

The government of California recently decided to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, an increase of 50% from today’s state-mandated rate. At the bill’s signing, the Governor said the measure didn’t make “economic sense.” (1)

One employer, at least, agrees with him:

Los Angeles was once the epicenter of apparel manufacturing, attracting buyers from across the world to its clothing factories, sample rooms and design studios.

But over the years, cheap overseas labor lured many apparel makers to outsource to foreign competitors in far-flung places such as China and Vietnam.

Now, Los Angeles firms are facing another big hurdle — California’s minimum wage hitting $15 an hour by 2022 — which could spur more garment makers to exit the state.

Last week American Apparel, the biggest clothing maker in Los Angeles, said it might outsource the making of some garments to another manufacturer in the U.S., and wiped out about 500 local jobs. The company still employs about 4,000 workers in Southern California.

“The exodus has begun,” said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Cal State Channel Islands and a former director at Forever 21. “The garment industry is gradually shrinking and that trend will likely continue.”

When San Francisco raised the city’s minimum wage, a beloved bookstore closed shop because the cost of business had grown too high. Seattle has lost 700 restaurant jobs because the restaurant industry’s thin profit margins cannot support a $15 minimum wage.

And it’s not just current workers who are harmed: low-skill or unskilled youths looking for that first job are going to discover its harder to find one. Not only will fewer jobs be available out of the limited pool of funds set aside for hiring, but employers are going to want more for their money: employees who already have skills, who require less training. The unskilled 17 year old looking for his or her first job is going to be a lot less attractive.

Great work, legislature and governor, activists and union leaders.You’re driving businesses out of state, costing people jobs, and making it harder to find work. Well done.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. In this case, that road runs through Sacramento.

RELATED: Moe Lane notes that AA was bleeding cash from paying already-uneconomical wages.

Footnote:
(1) I leave it to the reader as an exercise to determine why a governor would sign a bill he says make no economic sense. Or, you can read the article.

 


French President Approaches Cliff, Steps on Accelerator

January 19, 2016

France has been dirigiste since Louis XIV centralized all power under him, and the French leadership has been trapped in that intellectual straitjacket ever since. The idea of lowering the burden of government and letting market forces work is probably inconceivable to President Hollande — and most of his people.

International Liberty

When I wrote back in 2012 that France was committing fiscal suicide, I should have guessed that President Hollande would get impatient and push for even more statism.

Sure enough, the BBC reports that France’s President has a new plan. The ostensible goal is to reduce unemployment, but the practical effect is to expand the size and scope of government.

President Francois Hollande has set out a €2bn (£1.5bn) job creation plan in an attempt to lift France out of what he called a state of “economic emergency”. Under a two-year scheme, firms with fewer than 250 staff will get subsidies if they take on a young or unemployed person for six months or more. In addition, about 500,000 vocational training schemes will be created.

Needless to say, if subsidies and handouts were the key to job creation, France already would have full employment.

In reality, real jobs are created

View original post 472 more words


#RaiseTheWage – Applebee’s testing tablet ordering in California

November 22, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the wage!”

Action, meet reaction.

Last night I took my wife and our two young grandchildren to Applebee’s. It went great — our 4 and 2 year old charges were more decorous than half the patrons.

But I digress. Here’s what caught my attention: Applebee’s is testing a new ordering policy — using the technology that is rapidly becoming prominent in fast food restaurants. Every table had an online electronic tablet, with the menu, ordering and payment process built in. One can place the order and have the busboy bring your food.

For now, one can still use a waiter for service, but obviously the plan is to reduce or eliminate that service. That makes PARTICULARLY good sense in California, which is rapidly becoming the home of the $15 minimum wage. Moreover, California is one of only 7 states that requires “tip” employees to be paid a FULL minimum wage IN ADDITION TO all tips collected. That can make a meal too pricey — reducing the number of times patrons choose to dine out.

California’s minimum wage is currently $9 per hour and will rise to $10 in January. Here in Los Angeles, the minimum wage has been $15 dollars since June, and there is pressure to make that the statewide minimum.

The upshot? Expect to see more and more restaurants going to electronic ordering and payment systems, and more and more waiters and waitresses out of work, as progressive social justice warriors and the pols who appease them make it impossible to do business in the once-Golden State. Again, for those didn’t learn this in school, math wins:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

San Francisco’s Borderlands bookstore chose to close its doors because it could no longer make enough money to make staying in business worthwhile. Applebee’s (and I’m sure other restaurants and fast-food establishments) are looking to cut back on labor hours in order to balance the increased cost of labor. In each case, employees have lost jobs as a consequence of government interference in the labor-management relationship. It’s only going to get worse, too as long as statists in government continue to act as if the laws of economics will bend to their will and that their actions have no consequences.

It must be nice in their fantasy world; it’s a shame others have to suffer because of those fantasies.


How biofuel-mania kills

October 12, 2015

satire Good Intentions

This is excerpted from a longer post at Power Line discussing a report pointing out the benefits of CO2 (hint: it’s plant food) and the nonsensical hysteria climate cultists try to spread about it. Proving the point about roads paved with good intentions, the insane pursuit of biofuels has lead to nearly 200,000 premature deaths:

Between 1990–92 and 2011–13, although global population increased by 31% to 7.1 billion, available food supplies increased by 44%. Consequently, the population suffering from chronic hunger declined by 173 million despite a population increase of 1.7 billion. This occurred despite the diversion of land and crops from production of food to the production of biofuels. According to one estimate, in 2008 such activities helped push 130–155 million people into absolute poverty, exacerbating hunger in this most marginal of populations. This may in turn have led to 190,000 premature deaths worldwide in 2010 alone. Thus, ironically, a policy purporting to reduce [global warming] in order to reduce future poverty and hunger only magnified these problems in the present day.

In the United States we’ve seen increases in the prices of food due in part to cropland being diverted to biofuels, instead of producing feed for cattle or vegetables for the produce sections of our local markets. But, we’re lucky: thanks to a marvelous transportation system, food can still be brought in by land and sea. For the subsistence farmers described above, it’s not an inconvenience: it’s a matter of life and death.

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: Heaven help us against those trying to “save” us.

PS: The whole report is available at Watt’s Up With That.


Utah to raise taxes on the sick to pay for Medicaid expansion?

September 27, 2015
c

Make bees angry, get stung in return

Utah is one of the many states that has so far resisted expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. It’s a smart decision: While the Federal government (read, the entire nations through taxes or borrowing) pays for an initial 90% of that expansion, that percentage goes down over the years and leaves the state more and more on the hook. It’s a delayed budget-buster that would force a state to impose its own ruinous taxation; Medicaid already eats a huge portion of state budgets, and this would make the problem far worse.

So, the Utah legislature has refused to commit fiscal suicide by expanding Medicaid, but the Governor, Gary Herbert, is determined to pull that trigger. So, they’ve looked for a “compromise” that would garner more funding for Utah Medicaid. And what does that compromise entail? I bet you can guess…

New taxes:

According to the few specifics made public, the biggest component of the negotiated framework is to levy a new “assessment” on medical providers in Utah to help pay for the state’s share of expansion. But the so-called assessment is simply a new Obamacare tax on the sick that will not only raise health care costs for all Utahns, but add significantly to the national debt.

Provider Taxes Are Taxes On Everyone

Gov. Herbert says this plan will allow the state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare without the need to “raise taxes” to pay for it. But the proposed provider tax is still a tax – and not just on providers.

Hospitals and other providers won’t pay this tax. Although they may write a check and send it to the state treasury, they won’t bear the burden of a new tax. As Milton Friedman frequently explained: only people can pay taxes. This new Obamacare expansion tax will simply be passed along to Utahns seeking medical care.

Worse yet, this new tax will be borne not just by sick Utahns, but by taxpayers everywhere. This new scheme was designed specifically to draw in more money from federal taxpayers.

Here’s how it works: hospitals and other providers will pay an “assessment” to the Utah government. Utah will then turnaround and spend those dollars in order to trigger federal “matching” dollars for Medicaid expansion. In this case, federal taxpayers will have to kick in an extra $9 or more for every dollar Utah collects from the sick.

And remember: there is no magic pot of Obamacare money to cover those funds. Any federal money Utah spends on Obamacare expansion will simply be added to the national debt.

So, in summary, there are three major things wrong here:

  • Proponents of the measure, including the Governor, are lying to the people of Utah. Call it an “assessment” or a “fee” or even “broiled fish,” a tax is still a tax. John Roberts notwithstanding.
  • They are also lying when they say the tax will be borne by providers. Bullsh… Er… Nonsense. This cost will be passed on to those receiving services: the sick.
  • The federal government will have to borrow money or raise taxes to pay its share if this. Either way, that’s more from you and me.

And, on top of it all, Medicaid expansion is still a looming fiscal disaster for the Beehive State.

This stinks to High Heaven. The good people of Utah should contact their legislators and the governor’s office to remind them that a) they do not like even more of their hard-earned money being snatched from their pockets to pay for stupid ideas; and b) elections have consequences, especially for pols determined to do dumb things.


Must be a coincidence: San Francisco raises minimum wage, Chipotle’s raises prices

July 7, 2015
No way!!

No way!! Magical thinking doesn’t work??

I predicted this from the start. Oh, okay, I didn’t predict exactly *this*, per se, but, on the occasion of a popular San Francisco bookstore closing because of the minimum wage hike, I wrote the following:

Labor is a cost, because the business owner has to provide wages and, often, benefits that cost him more money. When a government mandate increases that cost, the business owner has three choices: pass the cost along to the customer, who may decide it’s too much and stop shopping there; cut employee hours and stop hiring to save on labor costs, thus costing potential jobs and putting a burden on workers still employed; and, finally, just decide it’s not worth it anymore and close up shop. In the low-margin bookseller business, Borderlands’ owner chose the last course as the only one viable.

Borderlands Bookstore chose option three: close the doors and put everyone out of work. It just wasn’t worth it to fight to stay in business anymore.

Let us not be surprised, then, that the Chipotle’s restaurant chain chose option one: pass the costs on to the consumer.

• In our weekly survey of ten of Chipotle’s markets, we found the company implemented price increases in half of the surveyed markets this week—San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Orlando. In most markets, the price increases have been limited to beef and average about 4% on barbacoa and steak, toward the lower end of management’s expectation for a 4% to 6% price increase on beef.

• San Francisco, however, saw across-the-board price increases averaging over 10%, including 10% increases on chicken, carnitas (pork), sofritas (tofu), and vegetarian entrees along with a 14% increase on steak and barbacoa. We believe the outsized San Francisco price hike was likely because of increased minimum wages (which rose by 14% from $10.74 per hour to $12.25 on May 1) as well as scheduled minimum wage increases in future years (to $13 next year, $14 in 2017, and $15 in 2018).

Say it after me, kiddies: Economics wins; math wins. Rinse, repeat. No matter what the progressive tooth fairy told the San Francisco Board of Commissars Supervisors, when you mandate a wage increase, something has to give. In this case, the “giver” is “Workaday Joe,” the poor sap who has to bear the brunt of this and other increases to his cost of living.

Not that the limousine liberals of the Bay Area will notice, however: they either can afford higher prices, or they have expense accounts that can afford them. Regardless, they can continue feeling good about themselves.

And that’s all that matters to them.

via Moe Lane

RELATED: At Power Line, Scott Johnson looks at the killing of a woman by an illegal alien taking advantage of San Francisco’s “sanctuary” laws and meditates on its deep meaning.


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