Seattle: #RaiseTheWage, choose to work less

July 26, 2015
Didn't pay attention

Seattle economics adviser

Okay, I have to admit it: I was wrong about the choices facing business owners when a jurisdiction mandates a minimum wage increase. On several occasions, I’ve written something like 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.

Well, it seems I didn’t figure on one other possibility: employees demanding to work fewer hours.

Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don’t lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.

Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.

“If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn’t actually help get them out of poverty, all you’ve done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people,” said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.

And…

The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.

A minimum wage is a form of economic redistribution and welfare, taking money from business owners and giving it to the employees in the name of “fairness” and “justice.” The idea, as averred in the last quoted paragraph, is to help get people off government aid. Good intentions, no?

Well, we all know what’s said about using good intentions as paving material. Like so many welfare programs, the minimum wage creates a perverse incentive to not increase one’s income, for fear of losing desirable benefits. Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has a wonderful chart and post explaining this very problem, what he calls a “poverty trap.” By raising the minimum wage, in addition to all the other problems it causes, Seattle is creating its own poverty trap, one that encourages people to work less.

Now how, I ask progressives, is that “progress?”

PS: Read the whole article for other problems caused by Seattle leftists’ good intentions arrogant, economically ignorant self-righteousness.

Advertisements

Green Fail: windfarms contaminate the water supply?

July 18, 2015
"Epic fail"

What could go wrong?

I don’t see what the problem is; since Human activity causes global warming, shouldn’t this be condign punishment for our sins against Gaea?

Campaigners in Scotland are calling for a full, independent investigation into allegations that wind farms are contaminating water supplies across large areas of Scotland.

They have written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd calling for an immediate halt on all wind farm development north of the border until the government can guarantee safe drinking water for everyone.

The problem first came to light when residents living near Europe’s largest wind farm, the 215 turbine Whitelee farm in Ayrshire, began to suffer from diarrhoea and severe vomiting. Tipped off by an NHS report which mentioned that difficulties in treating the water supply may pose health risks, local resident Dr Rachel Connor, a retired clinical radiologist, started digging into the council’s water testing results.

She found that, between May 2010 and April 2013, high readings of E.coli and other coliform bacteria had been recorded. In addition, readings of the chemical trihalomethane (THM), linked to various cancers, still births and miscarriages, were way beyond safe limits.

Scottish Power, who run the wind farm, denied causing the pollution but admitted that they hadn’t warned residents that their water supplies may be contaminated.

In other words, “we couldn’t have caused this problem, but maybe we should have warned you.” Right. So we’ve gone from wind farms chopping up birds to poisoning the water supply. They’re not economically viable without public subsidy, they never meet their promised power generation or reliability, but, hey, they do give you diarrhea. And maybe kill your unborn child. All to fight catastrophic man-caused global warming, a problem that does not exist.

What on Earth are you complaining about?

Now, of course, nothing is proven yet, but I’ll wager dollars to donuts there’s more to this than the hysteria over fracking and earthquakes.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Thanks, Glenn!


Glorious #Obamacare success story! Alabama widows kicked off their insurance plans!

April 17, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

The law of unintended consequences (1) strikes again. First widows; are orphans next?

(Transcript via The Weekly Standard)

“More than two dozen widows who were married to retired Madison county employees, lost their health insurance coverage earlier this year. And now one commissioner says it’s time to give it back to them. The change was sparked by the new federal health care law, but whether or not coverage can actually be restored really isn’t clear,” said the anchor.

Says the reporter, “Madison county commissioner Roger Jones says no one realized just how much the new federal health care law would change things, especially for the spouses of some of his former employees.”
 
“A lot of these people are on fixed incomes, low fixed incomes. Some of them are living on Social Security and very little else and health insurance is very important to them,” says the county commissioner.

Essentially, the county had self-insured and provided coverage to the widows of its former employees. It’s a nice benefit, something I gather isn’t all that common.

But things changed when our glorious new healthcare act became law and we started to find out what was in it: Madison county discovered that, thanks to all the new requirements, it would cost them an extra $25,000,000 to cover the widows. They didn’t have the money, so guess who lost their insurance?

Apologists might argue that the county or state could raise taxes and fees to cover the expenses, or, even if they couldn’t, the widows still have Medicare and Medicaid (Oh, joy.) available, thanks to the ACA. So it’s not really a problem, right? Just a few bugs to work out.

But that’s not the point. These people had an insurance plan that met their needs, and the county was honoring its promise to its employees. There was no good reason for government to come in like a bull in a china shop and wreck those arrangements. Now, thanks to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party (2), you literally have widows on fixed incomes left without health insurance. And who knows how many places in America this story or ones similar to it are playing out?

This thing is an anti-constitutional monstrosity and it has got to go.

RELATED: More from Hot Air on the difficulties of restoring coverage to these people.

Footnote:
(1) Also known as: “Things that inevitably happen when a bunch of arrogant fools think they can control by bureaucratic ukase a complex, varied economy composed of millions of individuals with highly varied needs.”
(2) Remember, kids, not a single Republican voted for this mess, and we’ve been warning it would be a train wreck from Day One.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Smart Power in Action: US and Iran on same side in Libya

August 29, 2011

Well, Obama did promise to offer an “open hand” to Iran to achieve a new era of more cooperation and less confrontation. But, somehow, I don’t think even the striped-pants set at the State Department thought that meant cooperating to overthrow another government:

Iran “discreetly” provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.

“We were in touch with many of the rebel groups in Libya before the fall of (Moamer) Kadhafi, and discreetly dispatched three or four food and medical consignments to Benghazi,” Salehi told the daily.

“The head of the National Transitional Council (NTC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, sent a letter of thanks to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for having been on their side and helping,” he added.

And so, for the price of some food and medicine (1), we and NATO did Iran a favor by removing a rival for influence in the Middle East and giving them easy access to eastern Libya and the Benghazi area, a region well-known as a fertile recruiting ground for Al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups. (2)

That’s “Smart Power” for you. Real smart.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying Daffy Qaddafi wasn’t a bad man — far from it, and I hope the Libyans catch him and string him up. But, from the point of view of American interests, there was no point to this war. Qaddafi had given up his nuclear program in the wake of our liberation of Iraq, there was intelligence cooperation against Al Qaeda, and he had largely stopped sponsoring terrorism. In other words, he had been tamed, and there was no pressing reason to go after him.

On the other hand, in Syria, where we have a great opportunity to weaken or even overthrow one of the key clients of our avowed enemy, Iran, an event that would greatly weaken the Mullah’s power in the region and genuinely serve our strategic interests, for weeks we did… effectively nothing. We clucked our tongues and wagged our fingers, even called the dictator a “reformer,” while the Assad regime, with the assistance and advice of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, slaughters thousands.

If that’s “smart power,” I’d hate to see what their idea of “dumb” is.

via Bryan Preston

LINKS: More from my friend Michael Ledeen, who argues that this is a big regional war with Iran at the center (which the Obama administration may be finally and belatedly starting to grasp), and then draws some lessons from Libya.

Footnotes:
(1) And if you believe the “humanitarian aid” was nothing but rice and bandages and the Iranians accompanying it weren’t Iranian Revolutionary Guards, I have just the bridge to sell you.
(2) Don’t fall for the “Sunnis and Shiites won’t cooperate” myth. Yes, they have a bloody internecine history, but Iran and Sunni radical groups are more than happy to cooperate to strike at us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Debt deal could cut funds to ObamaCare

August 4, 2011

You see? I told you there were good points to this Satan Sandwich! It turns out that, if the forthcoming “super-committee” can’t find the required $1.2 trillion in cuts and sequestration (automatic cuts) takes place, ObamaCare is not immune:

“There are at least 15 provisions of the Obama health care law that will find themselves subject to this trigger if the committee is not able to come up with other cuts,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “When I look at these, I think it gives a huge incentive to the Democrats to find cuts. What would be triggered if we can’t find other cuts would cut right into the Obama health care law.”

Senate Republican leadership aides identified the potential funding cuts shortly after the law passed and are talking with the Congressional Budget Office to determine what parts of the law would be subject to sequestration.

The fact that the programs are vulnerable at all means Obama and congressional Democrats did not succeed in their attempts to shield the health reform law from the debt-deal trigger.

Obama had resisted efforts by congressional Republicans to make the law’s individual mandate a part of the trigger during earlier debt-limit negotiations. But while the final deal doesn’t directly target the health care law, the cuts to specific programs could still happen because of the way the law is written.

The debt ceiling law exempts several programs for the poor and those with low incomes, as defined by the 2010 Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, called PAYGO. That law exempts Medicaid, Social Security and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, among other programs.

But it doesn’t protect the health law’s provisions because the definitions became law a month before the health law was passed.

“If you’re not on the list, you wouldn’t be protected,” said Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This is going to endear The One to his already-cranky progressive base even more. Darn.

Of course, what really needs to be done is the total repeal of ObamaCare for economic, health, and political reasons; it’s a threat to the nation’s fiscal health, the individual’s physical health, and the citizen’s liberty.

But, until there’s a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican president in 2013 that will enact the “Repeal Every Dumb Idea of the Last Four Years Act,” we’ll have to make do with whatever monkey-wrenches we can throw into the statist works.

And smile when we get the other side to help throw them in.

via Lance Thompson

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Good intentions, bad results

December 9, 2010

Here’s an amusing video from Reason.TV that looks at three public-policy cases to illustrate the Law of Unintended Consequences.  Viewers above a certain age will no doubt appreciate the tribute to those old-style educational films we had to sit through as kids:

This shows why I’m more and more coming to appreciate the old saying, “Don’t just do something, stand there!”


Irony, thy name is “ObamaCare”

September 21, 2010

When the (Social) Democrats were shoving ObamaCare down our throats, one of the trumps they played was the Absolute Moral Authority Card: do it for the children!

Now that ObamaCare has passed, insurance companies have to deal with the new costs imposed by the legislation. Since the government threatens to break their legs if they raise prices, there’s only one rational response: cut services.

And thus it is that insurance companies are eliminating children-only plans.

Heckuva job, Progressives.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)