Gerbils For Freedom

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My granddaughter is on vacation this week in Wisconsin Dells, so Grandma and I are gerbil-sitting. I remember gerbils from the olden days, they were just rats that lived in a big cage and made noise all night. Nowadays, they have a space-age plastic entertainment complex, with a menu of carefully selected natural foods and colorful blocks of wood, scientifically selected from the best species to promote rodent tooth health and avoid chemicals that may be hazardous.
That stupid rat lives better than I do, and vastly better than people in Venezuela, not to mention the free-range rats living in my attic. When did pets become bling?
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. At least she hasn’t declared it to be her emotional support animal, so I can prohibit her from bringing it in the car.
Joe Doakes

When you think about it? Gerbils have gotta be thankful for the blessings of the free market. Not only do they live better than “citizens” (subjects) in Venezuela, but in fact they’re pretty much food down there these days.

Misdiagnosed

Interesting article in the WaPo on San Francisco; its title suggests its current situation
“breaks America’s heart”,
which is a fine play on Tony Bennett, but doesn’t really reflect the contempt most Americans outside the tech industry and politics have for the place.

The city is in the midst of collapsing, not so much from wealth, or even the “prog” boogeyman “income disparity” or even the lack of a middle class, but from the complete unaffordability by anyone who isn’t either wealthy or heavily subsidized by the wealthy.

And of course, San Franciscans -the people who voted for the government that led them here – are the last to understand why:

“This is unregulated capitalism, unbridled capitalism, capitalism run amok. There are no guardrails,” says Salesforce founder and chairman Marc Benioff, a fourth-generation San Franciscan who in a TV interview branded his city “a train wreck.”

First – and something of a tangent – Salesforce sucks.

More on-point? “Capitalism” only “runs amok” when it’s got government paving its way – with zoning, taxes and social policies designed to promote some groups over others, to bring “the right people” and promote “the right kind…” of society, life, politics. It is leading the way – but hardly alone – in proving Joel Kotkin’s point from ten years ago; cities are becoming donuts, with a core of immense wealthy surrounded by immense poverty, largely via government policy.

Unbridled capitalism gave us…Williston.

Shot In The Dark – Today’s News, Five Months Ago

We noted earlier this year that Philadelphia’s tax on pop was taking down soft drink sales, and jobs and stores with it.

And it turns out that that’s true – pop sales are down by half in Philly.

But people are healthier – right?

Er…right?

While researchers found that sales of sugary beverages fell in Philadelphia after the tax, beverage sales in nearby towns and counties without the tax went up. That suggests people may have been traveling to get their soda at a reduced price.

But…but…Revenue! Right?

Jazz Shaw did the math that I thought about, but didn’t, since Jazz did it…:

So, let’s look at this assuming one million ounces of soda was sold anually before the tax went into effect. If sales had remained the same, the city would have realized $62,400.00 in revenue instead of $54,300.00. But with the volume cut in half, they managed to slash their revenue to $31,200.00. (I was told there would be no math. Apparently City Hall in Philadelphia was operating on the same assumption.) Great job, guys. You gutted your revenue stream, caused layoffs in the beverage industry and depressed sales in the city’s retail outlets, likely impacting entry level jobs.

Of course, this is “unexpected” only if you haven’t followed similar stories from coast to coast, including here in Minnesota, where the rapacious and punitive increases to the cigarette tax enriched a lot of North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin convenience stores a few years back.

Unintended But Delicious Consequences

Remember during the Cold War, when the running joke was that the best way for a small, poor country to get ahead was to go to war with the US, for all the rebuilding assistance they’d get afterward?

The modern corollary may be “the best way for a business to succeed is to become the target of liberal PC virtue-signaling and boycotts”.

Chik-Fil-A is now Ameirca’s #3 fast food joint.

Chick-fil-A, which has been the target of a left-wing boycott campaign due to the problematic socially conservative views of its founder, has absolutely dominated the chicken market over the past decade. The chain’s sale have tripled, and its U.S. market share among chicken-centric restaurants has increased from 18 percent in 2009 to 33 percent, while its chief competitor, Kentucky Fried Chicken, has seen its market share fall from 29 percent to 15 percent over the same period. That’s what winning looks like. Congrats on the boycott, libs!

And by the way – has anyone checked in on Hobby Lobby lately?

Oh.

Unexpectedly

Rising tides, it turns out, do actually lift boats:

In April, the unemployment rate for Americans with a high school degree fell to the lowest rates since before the Great Recession. Unemployment for workers with disabilities fell from eight percent to 6.3 percent over the last 12 months, the lowest level since the measure began in 2008.
Hispanic unemployment is the lowest it has been since 1973 (also when the measure began). Black unemployment remains close to historic lows, climbing slightly since the end of 2018.
One could hardly wish for a better trend. This economy is working for every class of American.

I think if the Democrats started devoting every scrap of their energy to pushing for impeachment, taking their (what else?) collective hive mind off of policy for the next year or so, it’d be the best thing that could possibly happen to this nation’s poor.

Stop Spending Money You Don’t Have, Dummy

That should be the title of this superb Kevin Williamson piece at National Review about the subject, of, well, not spending money you don’t have, and how Donald Trump, whatever his other found virtues, is really really bad at not doing that.

So many pull quotes – and all have a theme:

Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy.

The last time we had a surplus, tax revenue was 18.8 percent of GDP and spending was 17.6 percent of GDP. That was 2001. Taxes were even higher as a share of GDP in the two years before that: 19.2 percent of GDP in 1999 and 20 percent in 2000. I prefer low taxes, but I don’t remember the tail end of the 1990s as an Orwellian dystopia. If the estimates hold, this year, revenues will be about 16.3 percent of GDP and spending will be 21 percent — with deficits forecast as far as forecasters can see. And that’s while the economy is doing well. Either that tax number moves or that spending number moves — or we have deficits forever, until the creditors call us on our bullsh**.

At which point we will have no choice but to:

Stop spending money you don’t have, dummy.

And when they blow that?  Well, Williamson’s on that subject, too.

Creative Destruction

I never, ever thought I’d write this.

Blockbuster – a video chain that spawned a few billionaires, a corporation that was once listed in the same breath with the likes of Microsoft as being “maybe too big”…

…is down to one store.

Just one.

At its prime in the early 2000s, Blockbuster boasted more than 9,000 stores across the nation.
Popular among movie watchers and video game renters, people flocked to Blockbuster to find flicks or games to unwind with. But the company’s business model soon became stale when Netflix and Redbox started providing on-demand digital services.
In 2010, Blockbuster declared bankruptcy and was bought by Dish Network. Soon after, Blockbuster began closing its doors, though some franchise locations tried to stick it out.
By April 2017, only 10 Blockbuster stores remained in the US.

Against all odds, the location in the small town of Bend has persevered.
“We’re proud to still be open,” Harding said.

Via CNN

Free markets have a way of dealing with companies that are “too big”. And I suspect the Blockbuster in Bend will do a booming business being…it.

Surrender

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In 1967, just after Congress adopted LBJ’s Great Society including the War on Poverty, Petula Clark had a hit single with “Don’t Sleep in the Subway.” 
50 years later, sleeping on the subway it still a problem in New York and it’s spreading to Los Angeles.  At what point do we concede we’ve been defeated, and agree to end the war?

You don’t need to go to NYC to see this, by the way. The Vomit Comit (AKA “Green Line”) is a de facto homeless shelter from after dark until sometime during rush hour.

Open Letter To All The Media Working The “Displaced Federal Worker” Angle

To: Most Of You In Big Media
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re: Perspective

All,

I remember back in 2003, during the post-9/11 recession, when my field was in its “last hired, first fired” phase, and I – a single parent with two kids – got laid off from a contracting job after my old startup closed.

How it took me three months to get an interview. Five to earn *any* money. And 10.5 months to actually get a job – which led to 6-12 months catching up back bills, and years rebuilding credit. How we scrimped, stretched unemployment checks and a tax refund and about five weeks of contract work to cover six months.

And you know what I remember the most? How the media constantly did stories talking about all the trouble we unemployed and underemployed private sector workers were having, and how dire our situations were – even after *two missed paychecks*, and nobody saying “when you finally land a job (whenever that is), we’re going to give you all the “back pay” you would have had coming”.

That helped so much.

UPDATE: Wait – that never happened. Nobody gave a crap. To the media, private sector unemployment when there’s a GOP president is a feature, not a bug.

As far as those Fed workers go – I get the dislocation that happens when your income gets diverted (see above), and that lots of federal workers aren’t the stereotype of Big Bureaucracy fatcats with the six figure salaries and the golden pensions (although a lot more are than they like to let on) and that invincible sense of entitlement to your income.

But when this kerfuffle over the budget and wall ends, THEY GET BACK PAY. EVERY PENNY.

As a private sector worker who’ll be working until he’s 75 to pay the pensions of all these federal and state and local workers so they can retire at 55, can I just say “please stop with the &^%$# waterworks”?

That is all.

New York State Of Mind

Last year, we talked about Minneapolis “it” restaurant Hell’s Kitchen which, after years of virtue-signaling its approval for things like mandatory #FightFor15 minimum wage hikes and compulsory sick time, had had to eliminate the equivalent of five full-time, $15/hour jobs – partly due to bad management, partly due to hikes in bottom-line expenses, and partly due to bad management encouraging the hikes to bottom line expenses.

It’s not just Minneapolis. New York City restaurants are taking it right in the blintz:

New York City Hospitality Alliance survey of 574 restaurants showed that 75 percent of full-service restaurants reported plans to reduce employee hours this year in response to the latest mandated wage increase. Another 47 percent said they would eliminate jobs in 2019. Eighty-seven percent of respondents also said they would increase menu prices this year.
These types of cost-cutting moves coincide with a U.S. Labor Department report released last Friday showing full-service restaurants in December raised prices the most since 2011, to cover soaring labor and food costs.
“The money has to come from somewhere, and we found that unfortunately, as a result, businesses are making some really tough decisions which don’t only impact them, but have a negative impact on their workers as well as their diners, too,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, which represents restaurants and nightlife venues throughout the five boroughs.
But shaving workers’ hours and killing jobs limits restaurateurs’ ability to offer employees opportunities for growth and development. It also can kill owners hopes of offering a fine-dining experience that delivers both good food and good service.  

Let them eat platitudes!

Forget The Russians…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I gave up my landline years ago. The only people who called me were telemarketers. It was nice having a cell phone, because nobody bothered me. But lately, I’ve been deluged with telemarketers robocalling recorded announcements about health insurance. This would be illegal on landlines, but for cell phones, there seem to be no rules

What I want to know is, how did they get my number? It’s not listed in the phone book. I did not sign up for anything. Except Facebook. And Google. And Amazon. And pretty much every other website, which requires me to have a backup phone number in case I get locked out of my account. Which one of these leaked my phone to the telemarketers? Which one of these sold my number?

I’d like Amy Klobuchar to offer legislation to give letters of Marque and Reprisal to any private citizen who can track down these telemarketers so we can seize their computers, their phones, their bank accounts, their assets, and even their pet dogs. I’d even contribute to her reelection campaign.

Joe Doakes

I’d pay extra for a cell/data service and media apps that actually kept my data private.

But I don’t suspect that’s the point…

Your Lying Ledger

A “Shoprite” store in Philadelphia is closing due to Philadelphia’s pop tax. 

Or so says the owners – someone with years of experience in the field, for what that’s worth:

Store owner Jeff Brown says this location has lost approximately 25 percent of its business over the last two years because of the tax on soda and sweetened drinks. 

The city, not to be “Mansplained”…er, “Bossplained?” “Enterepreneursplained?” Anyway, not to be taken to task by a mere prole, the city responded:

The mayor’s office responded with a lengthy statement pushing back against Brown.
“It is no surprise that Mr. Brown has decided to scapegoat the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, but neither he nor the beverage industry have yet to present any evidence that the tax has had any impact on sales. Here’s evidence to the contrary: an ongoing study by three of the most reputable academic institutions in the nation (Harvard University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania) finds the beverage tax has not affected overall store sales, contrary to other public claims by this supermarket chain.”
Brown says the 111 employees will be transferred to his 12 other supermarkets.

Anyone but me suspect hat Mr. Brown’s going to get an audit letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue sometime soon here?

Up next: a Harvard Study on how taxes have nothing to do with “Food Deserts”, no way, no how.

The Invisible Trigger Finger

Dick’s Sporting Goods signals virtue, drops all “AR”-pattern rifles from its inventory, accompanied with a tsunami of smug.

Shooters groups promise a boycott.

The boycott works:

Dick’s Sporting Goods took a firm, anti-gun stance. Oh, it’ll still sell guns, but it’ll only sell “approved” guns, the kind that anti-gunners generally pretend are fine. At least until they get around to demanding those be banned too.

When Dick’s made its announcement that it would not sell AR-15s at any of its stores going forward and that it would discriminate against legal adults looking to buy long guns, gun rights advocates called for a boycott. It was answered. So much so that the company has been reeling from the lost revenues.

It’s now to the point that the company is considering cutting out all of its hunting merchandise.

The CEO for the sporting goods retailer said Thursday that the company was doing a trial run in 10 locations, pulling all hunting merchandise and replacing it with other items.

“Though it’s too early to discuss performance, we’re optimistic these changes will better serve the athletes in these communities,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stack said in a conference call, as reported by JSOnline.

The reason for the new approach may be because sales in that department have plummeted across all of Dick’s 732 stores.

“Specific to hunt, in addition to the strategic decisions made regarding firearms earlier this year, sales continued to be negatively impacted by double-digit declines in hunt and electronics,” said Lee Belitsky, chief financial officer.

By “strategic decisions” Belitsky is referring to the company’s announcement in the wake of the February massacre in Parkland, Florida that it would no longer sell guns to adults under the age of 21 and that it would not only stop selling but destroy its existing inventory of modern sporting rifles at its 35 Field & Stream locations.

The grabbers can buy o=all the media they want – but they don’t control the market.

Which is, of course, why they’re trying to destroy the market.

Cheap

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A lousy $12 bucks an hour for unskilled labor during the Christmas rush?

I thought Target was a progressive company. Why do they hate poor people and want them to die? Fight for 15!

Why, it’s almost as if nobody who knows the faintest thing about business actually believes that $15/hour crap.

Labor Endorses…Lewis

Via Gary Gross at LFR – two unions have broken from the DFL borg and endorsed Jason Lewis:

The carpenters’ union and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, both of whichendorsed Hillary Clinton, will support the first-term congressman in the midterm elections in his rematch against former health care executive Angie Craig. Labor leaders praised Lewis’s record in Congress, highlighting his support for domestic energy development as well as his willingness to buck his political party. Lewis has supported Davis-Bacon, which favors union wage levels in federal projects despite the push in the conservative movement to abolish wage mandates.

“In Jason’s time in Congress he has cast repeated votes in support of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage and has led on the issue of changing school curriculum to encourage more people to look at careers in the construction industry,” carpenters’ spokesman Adam Duininck said in a release.

Both unions also praised Lewis for focusing on local issues and maintaining a relationship with labor leaders. Local 49 business manager Jason George said that Lewis and the union were not in lockstep on every political issue, but the congressman had supported the issues that help support the building trades and traditional blue-collar workers.

There has been a slow, fitful trickle of private-sector unions coming over to the GOP – accelerated by the Trump Effect, it needs to be said.

And it only makes sense; the public sector unions that control the Democrat party have interests that are largely inimical to those of private-sector labor – indeed, the public ones, left with their own way, will eventually strangle the private ones.

Here’s hoping that the private unions still pack enough clout in places like Newport and Sourth Saint Paul, where Angie Craig will likely run strongest, to make a difference.

The Road To Hell’s Kitchen Is Paved With Good Intentions

A few years ago, when the city of Minneapolis jumped on the “raise the minimum wage to $15 and mandatory benefits“ bandwagon, the owners of popular downtown eatery “Hell’s Kitchen” led the way in virtue-signaling how very OK they were with it.

And they stuck to their guns (their owners would not be OK with me using that phrase, but it’s still a free country) as a wave of other restaurants shut down around the metro, many of them explicitly citing the City mandated bludgeoning of their bottom line. No, seriously – one of them, “Ward 6“ in Saint Paul – pops up in the story, although the article never really connects the dots.

The star Tribune assures us that the owners saw they had a problem – they don’t specify which problem, although they hinted at it in a few places – but, for the moment, the bleeding is stanched.

Incredibly, the article points out in almost as many words that the owners of the restaurant almost geometrically match the stereotype every conservative has of restaurantears who virtue signal their approval of laws that, historically, shred through restaurant jobs like wood chippers through particleboard end tables: they spent years really not paying much attention to their financials, floating on a wave of profits from a thriving business and a good location (and, let’s be honest, really good food – I haven’t been there in years, but I did love it) until almost literally waking up one morning and realizing they were in serious trouble.

And you have to go about 2/3 of the way down the article to get to this bit here:

“The restaurant’s staff of 180 was trimmed to 160, chiefly through attrition and by adjusting start times to better match the flow of customers, producing a wage savings of $170,000. “

I am sure that most of the cuts were “through attrition” – not only does the restaurant industry have famously high turnover, but so does any business when the owners start frantically slashing expenses – but let’s break the story’s numbers down: that’s $170,000 in wages – the equivalent of 11 part time, 20 hours a week jobs at the new city of Minneapolis $15 an hour minimum wage – that don’t exist anymore.

So underneath all of the restaurant management‘s and started being as happy talk, what’s happening is…

…Exactly what conservatives, business people and anyone who passed economics 101 and said would happen: the Minneapolis city council’s wage and benefit laws are not just killing businesses, they’re killing jobs.

Of course, the virtue signaling Minneapolis city counselors and the bureaucrats who work for them don’t work in restaurants (or any private sector or entrepreneurial business, for that matter); Minneapolis’s restaurant industry has been one of the service industry’s “it“ sectors for decades, now, so I suspect they figure they’ll always be another.

By the way – I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Hell’s Kitchen’s current owners furtively start looking for a buyer in the near future, that the expenses continue getting slashed, the Yelp reviews start spiraling, and the place quietly closes within five years. And if that happens – heaven forfend – the last thing the city, the Star Tribune or the restaurant’s compliant DFL management will do is blame the city’s policies for it.

I hope not – I genuinely like eating there, although I actually can’t eat there anymore – but I wouldn’t bet against me on it, either.

Dispatches From Never-Never Land

A friend of the blog writes:

Oh, boy. I think we know why this person isn’t a business owner.

I just think about my own job on this. Imagine your nurse showing up late or leaving early because she biked. Imagine morale amongst the co-workers who don’t have that luxury to bike, but have kids to pick up from school or other obligations, yet they need to cover the bicyclist’s 40 minutes of non-work. But, hey, I hope she does actually try to start a business. She might learn a lot.

She’ll have a flat tire and miss the grand opening.

Math Isn’t Their Strong Suit

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

They pay burger flippers nearly $12 per hour now.  The workers went union for a fair wage.

Bad news, people.  The fair wage for someone whose only marketable skill is flipping burgers is $10.  They were overpaying to keep the union out.  Now they’ll agree to raise wages but that will force layoffs to balance the budget.

There will be one guy working for $100 an hour but the rest of you will be replaced by a burger-flipping machine.  I predict bankruptcy in three years.

Joe Doakes

The story is from Portland – which seems to believe, these days, that if you vote for something hard enough, you’re enttitled to it.

The Fashion Curve

A long-time friend of the blog writes:

I am so sick of hearing about things that millennials will “never have.” I am not that much older and I don’t think things were all that much different when I was in college, renting or buying a house. Perhaps the difference is in mindset- I didn’t expect to afford rent on apartments with marble countertops and rooftop spas when I was earning minimum wage just out of college. I didn’t expect my house to be perfect, either. I just needed it to be structurally sound. Sweat equity was fine.

To the point in this post that the market isn’t working for millennials, I would say it is to a fault. Millennials are demanding perfection, to move in to brand new, high end amenities. They won’t settle for less. Most of the rest of us have pkaces to live, or want to move up, as generations have before us. That millennials are refusing to rent or buy affordable housing, which in turn is being torn down to build luxury and market rate units is the market working. The affordable housing was there for millennials who wanted to start out like the rest of us. But, because they won’t buy or rent it, there is no market for affordability. That they “won’t have houses” is really just their own choices. Kinda like “we can’t pay our college debt ever” when they choose to get multiple degrees from the most expensive colleges in non-marketable skills, like fine arts, literature, etc.

I don’t mind people getting “non-marketable” skills, provided they don’t whine about their prospects after graduation (or show me their draft notice they got before being taken against their will to study Womens’ Studies at Oberlin).

What I’ve noticed?  They seem to collect maladies and diagnoses the way they used to collect Pokemon.

Maybe some – how do you say… – realignment of priorities is in order?

Unintended Consequences

Minnesota has a miniimum wage of $9 an hour.

Minor league baseball players, working on a (very low) salary and putting in long hours, frequently earn less than that.

Saint Paul is about to phase its minimum wage up to $15 an hour.  That’s pretty much more than anyone on a Single-A team makes.

And so the Saint Paul Saints – after wheedling a stadium out of the city’s taxpayers – say they may have to shut down if they don’t get an exemption:

Noting league rules limit the baseball team’s payroll, the Saints say without the exemption they could possibly be forced to cease operations.

“We’re in a league that has a salary cap,” Saints Executive Vice President and General Manager Derek Sharrer told state lawmakers earlier this week. “So … if minimum wage and overtime laws were to impact us, then we may be in a position to not be able to abide by our league bylaws, which would force us not to be able to operate.”

The issue comes just three years after the Saints moved into their new home, CHS Field, in downtown St. Paul. Public funds contributed $51.4 million to the ballpark’s construction.

They’ll get it.  Lawmakers love sports teams.

All the businesses in Saint Paul without the same level of political clout?

Let’s just watch the implosion.

Speaking Of Disasters

Gibson – one of America’s iconic guitar makers – is spiraling toward a massive restructuring:

Less than six months out from those crucial deadlines, the prospects for an orderly refinancing — Gibson has hired investment bank Jefferies to help with that — look slim, observers say. And the alternative scenarios look likely to sideline longtime owner and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.

“At the end of the day, someone will take control of this company — be it the debtors or the bondholders,” Debtwire reporter Reshmi Basu told the Post this week. “This has been a long time coming.”

The culprit would seem to be corporate overextension – going into debt to buy subsidiaries like Baldwin Piano, and an assortment of home and pro audio marques – rather than the guitar business itself, which is still a good home base:

Gibson needs to report by next week its final numbers for its fiscal third quarter to stakeholders. One thing bond owners will be watching for is an improvement in the company’s electronics business, which has been built up in the past few years via debt-fueled acquisitions but has seen sales slump of late.

Still, even a solid turnaround on that front won’t be enough for Juszkiewicz to avoid difficult conversations.

“Some type of restructuring will be necessary,” Cassidy said. “The core business is a very stable business, and a sustainable one. But you have a balance sheet problem and an operational problem.”

If this results in a fire sale of Les Paul Standards, on the other hand, that could improve my fundamentals…

 

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

And to think they say the left is utterly clueless about economics;   Feminist Business School promises to remove the profit motive from the free market

The Feminist Business School, founded by Evergreen State College graduate Jennifer Armbrust, teaches that capitalism is an “economy that values masculine traits” such as “meritocracy,” “competition,” and “individualism.” The California-based site recently launched two more online courses to coach aspiring businesswomen on how to “topple the patriarchy” and promote a more “feminist economy.”

Shunning the “profit seeking motive” of traditional commerce, the Feminist Business School advocates that businesswomen adopt more “feminine traits” such as “gratitude,” “intimacy,” and “connecting with nature.”

Did we mention it started at Evergreen State?

Proportion

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Dow dropped the most points ever!  Trump should stay away!
Rubbish. The Dow dropped 666 points to close at 25,520.   An article from Obama’s time, 2015, shows the 10 worst drops in history.  His was number 10.
The analysts are using points instead of percentages which makes it sound scary but is it really?  If the Dow was at 10,000 points and dropped 1,000, that’s a 10% drop but if it’s at 20,000 points and drops 1,000, that’s a 5% drop, only half as bad.  Trump’s drop of 666 on 26,000 is 2.5%, not the worst in history, doesn’t even make in the top 10.   It’s a blip.
Why do you suppose an English major can figure that out, but all the sophisticated market analysts in the media cannot?
Joe Doakes

Make no mistake – they can figure it out.

But the Demorat messaging plan is “Say whatever we need to; our audience is either in on the line, or isn’t smart enough to bother”.