Friday, December 6, 2013

Fast Feud

obama, obama jokes, cartoon, economy, jobs, minimum wage, obamacare, small business, hope n' change, hope and change, stilton jarlsberg, conservative, tea party

In a speech that many are calling the best he has given in the last several days, Barack Obama begged people to ignore Obamacare's utter failure and the destruction of the healthcare system.

Well, that wasn't the direct topic of his speech - but distraction from Obamacare is clearly the real motivation behind the president's newfound desire to focus his final three years in office on the great  "fundamental threat" to American prosperity: income inequality.

It seems that in this great nation, there are still people who are earning more than other people - despite the president's best efforts to assure that nobody can earn anything at all.  And in fact, income inequality has done nothing but grow because of this president's fiscal policies - with the rich getting richer, and the middle class grasping at part time jobs because there are no other jobs to be had.

Which is why the same president whose signature legislation slashed employee hours and cost them their health insurance is now pushing for a higher minimum wage, so that people can enjoy self-respect and support entire families by flipping burgers.
Not that there's anything wrong with flipping burgers, waiting tables, or being a sales clerk; quite the contrary - those are great starter jobs. But wages need to be based on an employee's value to an employer - not on the employee's fiscal needs. Otherwise, the highest paid part time employees would be those who have unsupported children, unaffordable cars, and overdrawn credit card accounts. The best money would go to those making the worst decisions.

But the president made a point of saying that support for a higher minimum wage (as well as an extension of "emergency" unemployment benefits) "benefit all of us, because we don't know when we might have a run of bad luck."

Only it's not a run of bad luck that is forcing people into poorly-paying part time jobs. It's a run of bad governance.


Anonymous said...

That needs to be our new campaign slogan, "Would you like a large order of lies with that?"

Anonymous said...

I'm the same Anonymous who commented a week or so ago about the "work first" program being implemented to get people off govt assistance and into these shit jobs. Thankfully I was able to find something on my own quickly enough - thanks to investing in myself and getting a license in a field that in this state can't hire people off the street without one. This kind of irony cracks me up. If income inequality is a "threat" to prosperity, what's prosperity worth and what does this guy think counts as prosperity? Weren't we raised to understand that trying hard and competition are what lead us to better ourselves personally and as a society?

Would anyone believe that this president would be just as willing to flip burgers with the rest of half the country if we were all paid within the same income bracket? Would he be okay in telling Michelle to fire her personal stylists and consultants and go to work at a 7-11?

What's the point in a college degree when you'll make nearly the same skipping school and cranking out a few kids?

The difference is that when you graduate into a stale economy with zero prospects and working the same job alongside the grade school dropout, you'll just have started the position and by then they'll have been working there long enough to be your manager.

This guy is a political vampire and he's doing his best to hypnotize us into believing that this bloodletting is the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

You might think that after 4 or 5 years that being unemployed is not quite the emergency it was when this new entitlement was started.

Colby said...

I think I've blathered this before, but it kills me when libtards talk about wealth re-distribution and free this and that. Nothing is free; somebody pays if it ain't you paying! But us Hope'n'Changers know all that. I am remided of the Golgafrinchians in one of Doug Adams' books, who, shortly after crash landing their spaceship on Earth, declare the leaf the official currency. Everyone instantly became fabulously wealthy for a few moments before the 10,000% per second inflation hit. Those of you familiar with the story know that the Golgafrinchians were not the brightest lights on the ol' tree, but friends, this is exactly how libs think!

The other day, I overheard somebody say, "The government should just pay for everybody's health care." WOW! BRILLIANT! Why didn't anyone think of that before?! Problem solved!

Won't it be interesting if these clowns actually DO raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks? I'm going to take some popcorn down the the local Mickey D's and sit and watch all the morons pitching a hissy fit about the $12 burgers.

@Anonymous 1, 2 and 3,
Instead of clicking on "anonymous," click on "Name/URL" and fill in what you'd like to be called in the "Name" box. You can leave the URL box blank.

Excellent rant again today, fine Dr. J! Glad the case of wine didn't effect your journalistic skills and sharp wit.

John the Econ said...

Thanks @Stilton for teeing me up this morning. I'm pulling out the 1-wood for this easy birdie...

Has anyone else noted that the more Progressive politicians do to address "income inequality", the more we get of it? It's just like the more the Department of Education does in improve education, the worse our schools do. And yet, their answer to these problems is always the same: Do and spend more of the same.

In fact if I didn't know better, I'd think that the "war on inequality" was in fact a scam by the 1%-er elites in Washington to fleece the rest of America. The evidence certainly suggests that's the case.

How many people honestly realize that it has been the policies of this very administration in concert with their neo-Keynesian enablers what have done more than any other administration in history to actively (and purposely by some) widen the gap?

The cheap-money policy of the Fed and "Quantitative Easing" (where the Fed prints dollars and then gives them to the government at near-zero interest rates) has been the biggest wealth transfer from the low and middle classes to the already rich in history.

The stated goal of these policies were to "stimulate" the economy by making credit really cheap so that business would easily and happily expand and jobs would be created in the wake. This did not happen, primary because the anti-business agenda of this administration along with the unpredictability imposed by the Administration, Congress, and the out-of-control regulatory bureaucracy sent business people who were not well-connected in Washington scurrying for cover. "Cheap money" means little to businesses who can't make plans to invest and expand because of uncertainty imposed by the ObamaCare, Dudd-Frank, and the promise of higher taxes and regulation.

What did happened is the creation of a massive equities bubble as all of this cheap money with no corresponding growth in the economy looks for somewhere to go. Does anyone honestly think that the stock market hit a record high this quarter because the economy is flying like it was in 1998?

So people who are well vested in commodities and equities and the big banks and Wall Street which get a commission for moving all of this money back and forth have done very well during the Obama era. These people are usually the far more wealthy, and especially the supposedly-hated "1%-ers" the Progressives say they hate so much. But unless you're someone who is able to live far below their means and is well vested in assets, you have not shared in this prosperity.

In fact, you've been being robbed to pay for it! The simple interest in savings traditionally made by the less-than-rich now makes near zero. Retirees who planed their retirement upon making 3-to-4 percent on their savings are now in danger of out-living their money. Those not-yet retired are denied the growth power of compound interest on their savings, forcing them into taking more risk in their investments seeking return, or working far longer than anticipated. And then there is inflation, which is inevitable. The government insists that inflation is nominal. And yet, everything from food to energy (with the exception of natural gas) costs much more than it did 5 years ago. Throw in the real cost of "health care" per middle class citizen to the mix, and it goes way up.

So to sum up, the net effect of the last decade of neo-Keynesian policy is a federal debt that has doubled on cheap money, a record number of workers not working, and the nation's wealth being transferred to the most wealthy while the net worth of the country continues to stagnate.

Next chapter: We get to the "minimum wage"...

CenTexTim said...

There you go again, using logic, reasoning, and economic truths to unfairly attack our president. Why can't you just understand that true equality is achieved by dragging down those at the top, not raising those at the bottom?

Heywood Jablowmi said...

I saw this viewpoint on the topic on Investor's Business Daily a few months ago and thought you might enjoy it too:

If $15/Hour Minimum Wage Is Good, Why Not $200?

Fast-food workers are planning a one-day strike on Aug. 29 to demand an increase in wages from the $7.25 minimum to $15 an hour. But if $15 an hour is so great, why not ask for $100 or $200 an hour instead?

The question is, of course, absurd. Any elementary-school child - at least, one not educated in a U.S. public school - could answer correctly: That at $100 an hour, or $200 an hour, no one would be hired to do a job that the market valued at far less. And many would be fired.

Take the fast-food industry. Prices for food would be so high that consumers would stop eating at McDonald's, Wendy's or other cheap fast-food outlets. It would be a treat only the rich could afford, at a few select outlets in Beverly Hills and other swanky locales. Fast-food workers would be laid off by the thousands.

OK, but $15 an hour isn't $100 an hour. True enough. But the principle is the same. By our calculation, that's a 107% increase over the current minimum wage of $7.25 and a 78% rise over McDonald's average wage rate of $8.43 an hour. Either way, that's a huge increase.

Those on the left who pretend to be the friends of working people say these huge wage hikes could come out of rich storeowners' pockets. Or corporate profits.

But this betrays a profound ignorance of how the economy really works. Mandated wage hikes act as a tax on employers - who then either pass them on to consumers in the form of higher prices, or on to workers in the form of layoffs or hiring freezes.

In short, despite the left's rhetoric to the contrary, McDonald's won't suffer, Wendy's won't suffer - low-wage workers will. There will be far fewer jobs. And consumers will suffer a lower standard of living by having to pay more for their fast-food meals.

That is what's called "lose-lose" in game theory.

The average fast-food restaurant spends somewhere between 25% and 35% of its revenues on wages. So doubling the wage expenses of a McDonald's, for example, would require the price of the average Big Mac to rise 32%, from $3.99 to $5.27, according to the Employment Policies Institute, a business think tank.

For many financially struggling families, such price increases would mean the weekly trip to McDonald's would no longer be affordable.

So why the sudden push to raise wages by so much?

A lot of this comes from the Service Employees International Union and others that want to "organize" fast-food workers. It's also pushed by hypocritical far-left politicians - most prominently Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who advocates a $22-an-hour minimum wage but pays her own interns nothing.

If they value their jobs and their incomes, fast-food workers would be wise not to strike. These low-paid workers are mostly young and often minority. They already suffer an unemployment rate above 20%, in large part due to three minimum-wage hikes since 2007. Pushing wages up further will only make it worse.

Sure, forcing minimum-wage hikes on small businesses may sound good, but in fact it hurts young, uneducated and unskilled workers by depriving them of opportunities - while lowering living standards for the rest of us.

How is any of that good?

John the Econ said...

To the clueless liberal, a "Minimum Wage", "Living Wage", or whatever you want to call it is such an obvious and simple solution. "Let's just pass a law to make businesses pay what people need to live" and all would be great.

But what should a "living wage" be? They argue that it's not possible to live on $7.25/hr. I agree. But then again, it's little more possible to live on $10.10. Quite frankly, I don't think it's possible to live on $20.10 in most cities these days. If you live in an expensive city like NYC or San Francisco, I don't see how it's possible to live for less than 6-figures, or $50/hr.

So why don't we just raise the minimum wage to $100,000 and everyone can live a comfortable life?

For some reason, few liberals advocate that seemingly obvious solution, so apparently they recognize that there are detrimental effects and limits to what you can impose. Okay, so if raising the minimum wage to $100k isn't viable, then why would we expect raising it 39% wouldn't have detrimental effects?

We could debate that all day, but here's the reality: The fact that it's not possible to live on $7.25 or $10.10 is non-sequitur. Prices are not (or should not be) set based upon "need" but upon reality. Businesses can get people to work at minimum wage because there is an ample supply of people able and willing to work at $7.25, or less. And they will continue to employ people as long as the value created by a minimum wage worker is equal to or greater than that wage. As the minimum wage is increased, the gap between the wage and the value created narrows. At some point as the wage rises, the wage will exceed the value, and the employer will discard the employee, and perhaps the entire business.

So the net effect of raising the minimum wage is that the "lucky" workers who get to keep their jobs will get more money. But the "unlucky" who lose their jobs will get nothing. Just more arbitrary "winners" and "losers" under Progressive economics.

Finally, what does our immigration non-policy have to do with this?

John the Econ said...

It's truly ironic that Obama is again trying to pivot back to "immigration reform" at the same time pushing for raising the minimum wage. It's our permissive immigration policy and near-total non-control of our own boarders that exacerbates the problem. It's largely the flood of illegal labor willing to work at rates below which native-born Americans are willing to work that suppresses wages everywhere. Ironically, paying illegals more to work does absolutely nothing to help the plight of unemployed legal citizens.

Hey Democrats: Please explain to me exactly how legalizing millions of currently illegal aliens is going to raise wages or help people get jobs.

Currently, It's illegal to hire these people. But with the stroke of a few pens, it would be. How is that going to help people already struggling to find work at less than $10/hr? If I was one of those people, I'd be livid! But the unfortunate reality is that most people working at these wages are too economically illiterate to understand how the Democrats are screwing them.

If the GOP wasn't so asleep at the wheel, they'd be all over this! Unfortunately, the GOP is way to timid to touch immigration right now, for fear of being called "racists" again. Hey GOP, GET OVER IT! The left is going to call you "racist" for giving them the time of day, so why not do something worthwhile, and perhaps get the support of want-to-be-hard-working citizens who have been priced out of the workplace? Just an idea.

So who are the winners, other than the lucky who get to keep their jobs? Well, unions for one. Most union contracts are pegged to the lowest wages paid. So if a guy making $7.25/hr all of a sudden has to be paid $10.10/hr, then it's not fair to all of the guys who were making $10.10 and less. So their wages have to go up. So guy who made $8 now gets, $10.85, the guy who made $10.85 gets $12-something, and so on. There is a ripple effect.

Of course, where does all this money come from? Since the money trees that liberals think exist don't, it has to come from either higher efficiencies or higher prices. Your "value meal" will now cost more than $1.

As for efficiencies, I found in too coincidental that on the same day that Obama starts his latest minimum wage push, that Google announces their new initiative in robotics. As wages for low-skill labor rises, so does the incentive to replace that labor with automation. Since robots are not covered under ObamaCare, (yet) automation looks even more attractive. Already, fast food restaurants in Europe use much more automation that we do because of higher wages and employment regulations. Double the minimum wage, and your average fast food place will have a very small staff running a host of robotics.

Done. Any questions?

John the Econ said...

@Anonymous, you ask "Weren't we raised to understand that trying hard and competition are what lead us to better ourselves personally and as a society?"

Some of us were not; our current President, for example. He's as perfect an example as any of what "affirmative action" and phony self-esteem produces; someone who's hailed as brilliant and believes it, and yet has never personally accomplished anything on his own. Deep down inside, he knows this, and this is why he and people like him despise those who are willing and able to take care of themselves, and will do anything to subjugate them.

If there's an upside, it's that people are starting to wake up from the hypnosis. No amount of spin from the New York Times and parroted by the rest of the media can compete with the dismal reality that these people have bestowed upon their faithful (outside of Wall Street, anyway)

And the under-30 crowd are really getting a cold reality shower. Relatively few people spend the time, money and effort to go to school to emerge into an economy where even burger-flipper jobs are a hot commodity. It's always a shame that the unrealistically idealistic young have to learn the hard way that elections have consequences.

Bruce said...

@Heywood Jablowmi and
@John the Econ...
You make an EXCELLENT point about reality! The morons on the left don't seem to possess the ability to "bring things to a logical conclusion". Like I've said before, if it was GOOD to keep the so-called "Bush tax cuts" to "help the economy", why would it EVER be a good thing to STOP them? If it's a GOOD thing to "grant waivers" to some on lamontocare, why is it a BAD thing to grant EVERYONE waivers? Drill everyone on the concept of advancing to the "logical conclusion" of every decision made by lamont and his ilk! Even MORONS can understand concepts when the answer is an inescapable conclusion, (and I KNOW this because of my tenure as an adjunct college professor).

Richard said...

I am sorry, but I must disagree with those like John the Econ who predict that a rise in the minimum wage would result in higher prices for burgers and a large reduction in jobs and hours per job. The reduction in jobs would be near total. They have not taken into account that the automatic burger flipper and the order taking kiosk are already into beta testing (!o4h85
If the minimum wage goes up by more than 10%, MickeyD's and others take a massive one quarter capital charge, and reduce the labor required to just enough managers and maintenance mechanics to keep one on duty at all times. Profits go up! And entry level jobs become non-existant. Gee, nobody coulda predicted that, could they?
The law of unintended consequences is more certain than the law of gravity.

Lee A. said...

Income equality. Isn't that the stated goal of Communism?

John the Econ said...

Yes, @Lee A, it is. However, do remember that some pigs are more equal than others. It's hard to take talk of "income equality" from a guy who takes vacations that cost more than most people make in a lifetime, paid for mostly by people who make a fraction of what he does, and who after he retires in 3 years can expect to hit the lecture circuit making more in a single evening than most people make all year.

And I agree @Richard. Largely, the fast food industry will largely adapt with automation (as they do in high-cost Europe) more than they raise prices, although inflation is going to force the cost up anyway. Either way, the low-wage worker is screwed. Unemployed? Thank a Democrat.

TheOldMan said...

The solution is so simple. Anyone who is "oh-so-concerned" about low wages is welcome to hand the cashier an extra $20 with the instructions to distribute it amongst the staff. In fact, why not institute a tip jar at MCD and other establishments. That way, the clueless "oh-so-concerned" can drop a $20 in there every day.

Grumpy Curmudgeon said...

Last week I had my democrat progressive liberal neighbors over for dinner, along with their 12 year old daughter. I asked their daughter what she wanted to be when she grew up.

She said “President of the United States”. I asked “Why”, and she replied that as President she could help all the homeless people by getting them benefits and money. I replied that she could help the homeless now - I would pay her $50 to come over in the morning and rake and bag all the leaves in the yard, then I would take her downtown and she could give the $50 to the homeless.

She replied “Why don’t you just get the homeless to rake the leaves for $50?

I said “Welcome to the Republican Party” (my neighbors haven’t spoken to me since!).

Pete (Detroit) said...

TheOldMan -
I was at some establishment at the mall the other day (name not important, suffice it to say it was a national food chain) and they DID have a tip jar on the counter! The hell is UP w/ that?!?! Is that actually approved by corporate? From my career at McD (admittedly a LONG time ago) people would have been fired outright for such tomfoolery!

PRY said...

@grumpy c....great comment! Hopefully you did birth a new anti-lib there!

Plus, gotta say, I, too, wonder why any of the lib's opponents don't just do what they need to do, and LET the MSM and all the left'wing elites call them racists, sexists, or whatever? I think most 'low-info' folks won't even know about it, and the rest of us know better anyway!

And SUPER SIZE those lies!!!!

Heywood Jablowmi said...

...oh, and by the way...

David in SoCal said...

Stilt: Thanks so much for the bulls-eye 'toon and comment and always. Me thinks this 'Maximum Wage for Minimal Service' crud is just another spoon of distraction in the teeming cauldron of 'Ocare Shit Soup', to stir the reality out of sight until the next pinch of distraction is added to the mix. Bless you for your insight and wisdom, Obi Wan Cheese Cutter.
Heywood J.: Great link, thanks. Even my Defense Lawyer friend, Stu Pidasso, gave you a thumbs-up for that one! Many of Americans have no idea how little our Hero Military personnel are paid for the sacrifice they put down for this Nation. When my oldest Brother was serving in Viet Nam, he calculated his on duty pay to be 25 cents an hour. Much of our Military today lives in poverty, and now Dumb-Drunk Chuck(the military)Hagel, wants to close the Commissaries; the only place a majority of ex/current Servicemen/women can afford to shop at. Dirty damn shame how this regime treats our Military and populace.
But on a brighter note:
I am so glad Oglommer is spending more 10's of millions of taxpayer bongo bucks flying him, Moochelle( and her 24 handlers), and all the friends and neighbors to South Africa for a tribute to Nelson Mandela. After all; Barry and Nelson have something in common:
Nelson Mandela is
A: A black man, who
B: Brought his country together and stopped divisiveness, and
C: Was a Communist/Socialist.
Oh well, Barry; one outta three ain't bad.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers- Glad to see the vigorous dialogue that's gone on here in my absence. Minutes before the cartoon posted Friday (it was already in queue), we lost our power here in North Texas due to an ice storm. For nearly 48 hours thereafter, we were stuck here in the increasing cold and dark (air temp in the house in the upper 30's). It got pretty hairy, and the ice-covered roads really didn't allow us an avenue of escape.

Power is restored now, and I'm just starting to catch up. Which means I'll be reading all of your comments on Sunday morning and maybe adding to them.

Grumpy Curmudgeon said...

@Pry: Unfortunately, uninformed can be corrected, but stupid is to the bone.

@Stilton: We share the same ice, but luckily our power is underground/buried and we're on the same circuit as the Cityview medical complexes, so it would be restored quickly.

The basic premise of Atlas Shrugged is close to what Obammy is trying to put in place - I almost laughed when the Dimocrats came out with their anti-competition law - did they get the idea from Ayn Rand???? The manufacturer of the perpetual motor tried to pay everyone according to their need, and found out that it didn't take any time for the workers to figure out that if they made their need greater as versus increasing skill, quality, or production that they would be paid more. Company went belly up.

As we remember Pearl Harbor, nowhere is the wage/regulation disaster more apparent than the US Merchant Marine fleet...we were building, launching, and manning Liberty Ships faster than the U-Boats could sink them. Now, thanks to the Maritime Unions and government regulations, you can't find a US flagged ship - in fact, during the first Iraq war, I was in Beaumont and watched the armor out of Ft. Hood being loaded on foreign flagged ships for transport to Saudi Arabia. It becomes a lesson in economics. The ship owners borrow the funds to pay the port fees, docking and loading costs, fueling,provisioning, and wages; with the loan to be repaid after the ship makes port and the cargo delivered. Even Onassis had to do this, so, it was good business to flag your ship in a 'country of convenience' and get foreign crews, thus, the demise of the US fleet.

Grumpy Curmudgeon said...

@John the Econ: "Most union contracts are pegged to the lowest wages paid."

There is also another facet to union contracts - when they ask for a % wage increase, that compounds over the next contract, the next increase is based on the previous increase, and so forth. What the company I worked for did was negotiate 'bonuses', a one time payment, so the 'base' wage wouldn't increase to the next contract. The union fought it, but after the previous strike disaster, they couldn't get the membership to agree to go out again, so it became 'precedent'.

John the Econ said...

@Grumpy, good point. What gets me is that it's still a mystery to many as to why almost every industry that was union-dominated in the 20th century either left our shores or simply went bankrupt. Meanwhile, Obama and his ilk honestly seem to believe that if we all just joined unions, we'd all get big raises and America would be rich again.

Anonymous said...

" because we don't know when we might have a run of bad luck."

I read that the first time as "we don't know when we might run out of bad luck."