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.


Danish jihadis collecting unemployment while on jihad in Syria

May 19, 2015

“But first subsidize us, please.”

One of those “insult on injury” moments: these Muslims (1) despise Western liberal society and wish to overthrow it and replace it with one based on their totalitarian sharia law, but they’re quite willing to take our welfare money while they fight to destroy the hand that gives it to them.

We have met the useful idiot, and he is us:

A total of 32 ‘Danish’ terrorists have continued to claim state unemployment benefits amounting to kr.400,000 (£38,500) while fully employing themselves in the act of Jihad in Syria.

Documents acquired by a Danish Radio24syv show the security service and labour ministry had undertaken private discussions about the mispayments, presumably terminating them as they were discovered, but not before a significant amount of taxpayer money had been funnelled to enemies of the state.

Remarkably, out of the 32 fighters claiming Denmark’s generous £75 a day only one had been recognised as fraudulent and stopped by his benefits office. Somehow the remainder had managed to keep claiming, despite not even being in the country.

(…)

Claiming unemployment benefit while conspiring against the host country appears to have become a key part of terrorist life in many Western nations. ‘British’ hate preacher Anjem Choudary was recorded in 2013 making mockery of Westerners who worked regular jobs and paid taxes, and called on Muslims to claim “Jihad Seekers Allowance” instead of working.

Lenin once said “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” Well, the modern welfare state will do you one better Vlad.

We’ll also give them the money to buy that rope.

That’ll show’em. smiley headbang wall

Footnote:
(1) Not all Muslims, of course. But far too many at least support imposing sharia and recreating the caliphate, even if they’re ambivalent about waging violent jihad to do it.


#RaiseTheWage – Seattle pizzeria to close thanks to economic ignorance

April 29, 2015
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least they raised the wage!!”

To paraphrase Mark 8:36, “For what good does it do a city to raise the wages of it workers, yet forfeit the jobs?” In Seattle, San Francisco’s northern soul-mate, they may well be asking that very question:

It may be one of the first casualties of Seattle’s new minimum wage law. The owner of Z Pizza says she’s being forced to close her doors, because she can’t afford the higher labor costs.

Devin Jeran was happy to get a raise, when Seattle’s minimum wage went up to $11 an hour at the beginning of the month.

“I definitely recognize that having more money is important,” he says, “especially in a city as expensive as this one.”

Unfortunately, he’ll only enjoy that bigger paycheck for a few more months. In August, his boss is shutting down Z Pizza and putting him and his 11 co-workers out of work.

“Fortunately she keeps us in the loop, she didn’t just tell us last minute.”

Ritu Shah Burnham doesn’t want to go out of business, but says she can’t afford the city’s mandated wage hikes.

“I’ve let one person go since April 1, I’ve cut hours since April 1, I’ve taken them myself because I don’t pay myself,” she says. “I’ve also raised my prices a little bit, there’s no other way to do it.”

Like I’ve said many times before: the laws of economics cannot be repealed by legislative fiat. Raise the cost of labor, and businesses will be faced with a choice from among four options — pass the costs on to the consumer; reduce labor costs by cutting hours or whole jobs; eat the costs and accept lower profits; or cease doing business in that jurisdiction, either by moving or closing shop. Ritu Shah Burnham may have loved her business, or she may have hated it. But, regardless, she’s come to the conclusion it isn’t worth staying in business in Seattle. She isn’t the first, and other small businesses in other progressive cities have made the same choice.

And their workers have wound up looking for work.

What’s especially galling about this, aside from the hubris of thinking one can bend economic laws to one’s will, like a financial Lysenko, is that the progressive, social justice warrior-pols passing these laws don’t have to live with the immediate consequences: it’s not their profits that get hurt, not their business that becomes unsustainable, not their job that’s lost. They’re not the kid looking for his or her first job, only to learn the employer has cut back on hiring because he can’t afford as many employees as he used to. But these politicians do it while appealing to the god “Fairness,” assuming that it will all work out in the end with a wave of the hand, or that it will be the next guy’s problem. Whatever. They still get to hug themselves for being such wonderful people.

Their self-righteous arrogance is astounding and infuriating. It’s genuinely harming people


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