Insecurity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Social Security admits out-go will exceed income in four years and reserves will be exhausted in 2032 meaning the system will go bankrupt, according to this chart:

 image002

 

Congress could increase taxes or cut benefits to keep the system solvent but we all know that’s politically impossible.  Sarah Palin suggested Death Panels to kill off elderly ill but Democrats hated that idea (although if Democrats could stack the committee with IRS employees, they might be able to “investigate” Republican medical treatment candidates long enough until they die while Democrat candidates are whisked right through – the panel idea could become popular with Democrats again using that method).

 The obvious solution is a massive employee die-off so we don’t have to pay Social Security.

 Fortunately, working in an office increases your chance of an early death.  Sitting is as bad as smoking.  So office workers will start dying just about the time the system runs out of money, meaning all is proceeding according to plan if we don’t let the Health and Wellness Nazis screw it up

 Joe Doakes

Not sure who to root for.

Don’t Mess With Texas Entrepreneurs

The city of Austin, Texas essentially ejected Uber and Lyft – the ride-sharing services that have been disrupting the urban transportation model – to protect the local taxi cartel.

Austinians – while continuing to elect the special-interest-sodden Democrat hamsters that have made Austin “the Minneapolis of Texas” – are not amused.

Remember – government regulations are always less about safety than about making sure government controls the graft industry:

Now that Uber and Lyft are gone, Austin—generally thought to be a tech-savvy city—has instead put itself on the map for its ham-fisted governance. The city’s response is only making things worse. Last week it held a job fair for out-of-work Uber and Lyft drivers, at which it encouraged drivers to get fingerprinted and sign up for the only remaining ridesharing company in town, a local app called Get Me…In other words, the city used taxpayer dollars to promote the one private ridesharing company that chose to comply with its onerous regulations.

Austinians are, instead, flocking to “black market” ride-share sources on Facebook and Craigslist.

Where “black market” = “market solutions that serve the actual need”.

Which is pretty revolutionary, isn’t it?

Some Poor Chump Is Always The Last To Get The Word

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The US economy grew in the first quarter of 2016, but only a tiny bit, 0.5%.  That’s technically enough to keep us out of a “recession.”

 First, do you believe that number?  Economic estimates are routinely announced with pronounced spin showing how well the administration’s policies are working, then quietly revised downward a few months later.  There’s not much room to revise this number downward.

 Second, look at the formula for calculating GDP: 

Gross Domestic Product = Consumption + Investment + Government Spending + (Exports – Imports)

 If the federal government wants the GDP number to look good, it can manipulate the result by increasing government spending to offset decreases in Consumption, Investment and Net Exports.  But federal government spending slowed down in the first quarter as Quantitative Easing winds down.  And the GDP number is falling as a result.  The implications are important.

 It means there never was any growth in the Consumer or Investment side of the economy, that’s all been propped up by federal government spending.  In other words, we’ve been experiencing negative economic growth for months, maybe years, but it’s been masked by federal government spending.  I’m looking at you, Barack Obama, and your $20 Trillion national debt.

 The take-away is simple: don’t worry about Great Depression 2.0 coming; it’s already here.  Worry about what happens when the ordinary public figures it out.

 Joe Doakes

Look!  Bathrooms!

Quote Of The Day

Williamson’s Victor Davis Hanson’s 1 piece – on the bureaucracy full of smug, entitled, thirtysomething bureaucrats who have such disporportionate control over this country today – is worth a read from beginning to end.

But this quote was the payoff:

Most men in Dayton or Huntsville do not lounge around in the morning in their pajamas, with or without built-in footpads, drinking hot chocolate and scanning health-insurance policies. That our elites either think they do, or think the few that matter do, explains why a nation $20 trillion in debt envisions the battle over transgender restrooms as if it were Pearl Harbor.

But read it all anyway.

1 Yeah, it’s been that kind of morning.

“Mr. Trump? Call From Hugo Chavez…”

Donald Trump on handling the national debt:

“This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money. I hate to tell you. So there’s never a default. But the point is it was reported in the New York Times incorrectly,” he said, referring to a critical Times article that ran on Friday.

And before you Democrat commenters start giggling too hard?  Bernie Sanders says the same thing – and Hillary doesn’t say it, but practices it anyway.

Appetite For Destruction

Restaurants – I’m talking the high-end, “acclaimed” places that vie for foodie critics’ affirmation – are dropping like, er, flies lately.

At the risk of sounding dramatic, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl is asking if we’re in the midst of an independent-restaurant massacre in the core of downtown Minneapolis.

Brasserie Zentral. Foreign Legion. Vincent. Masa. Solera. Workshop at Union.

The list of critically acclaimed eateries that have closed up shop in the state’s biggest city continues to grow.

Wonder why that is?

Two years ago, we had Governor Dayton’s sons asking a return of the old “tip credit”, to offset the effect of the hike in the minimum wage.  They are certainly not the only ones hurting.

And I’ve heard – very, very off the record – that as restaurants get big and successful enough, and edge closer and closer to that magic “50 employee” mark, whereupon they are considered big businesses, required to provide Obamacare for their employees, the amount of money it’ll take to actually keep the business running becomes utterly untenable.

In the link above…:

Moskowitz Grumdahl, a senior editor for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, joined MPR News host Steven John to talk more about what’s behind this trend, how St. Paul is benefiting from it and what downtown Minneapolitans can do about it.

Saint Paul isn’t benefitting.  Restaurants are closing here, too.

Expect to see a DFL proposal to prop up restaurants that are “too tasty to fail”.

If I Did Conspiracy Theories…

…which I don’t, this one would jump out at me.

For most of human history, abortion has been considered one variety of undesirable or another.  Then, two things happened:  First, Margaret Sanger ushered in the idea of using abortion as a Eugenic tool, to control the population of what Sanger and other eugenicists considered undesirable – especially black people.  Second, abortion became a political litmus test on the left.    Result:  African-Americans vote overwhelmingly for a party whose primary civil sacrament is a procedure that has killed tens of millions of them (not to mention a “war on poverty” that has kept them disproportionally poor).

In other words, the left are dedicated to killing black people, and they’ve talked black people into voting for them.

So follow me, here.

For most of human history, the social labor contract has been this: you work hard to learn a skill of sufficient value that someone is willing to pay you to do it (or, similarly, develop the skills to start a business that someone is willing to pay you to patronize), and you earn.  Then, two things happened:  the left developed another civil sacrament, the “Living Wage” – the idea that merely existing entitled one to a wage sufficient (so we’re told) for maintaining a lifestyle.  Second, technology developed the means to cost-effectively supplant workers whose pay was statutorily higher than their value.   It’s nothing new, of course; industrial automation replaced a generation of guys who’d gotten high school diplomas and wandered into union jobs turning wrenches for middle-class incomes.  It happened on the assembly line, it’s going to happen at Burger King.

In other words, the left is dedicated to policies that will make the poor even poorer.  Yet again.

Whew.  It’s a good thing the education system is in such a mess, or people would start to see whats…

…oh.  Right.

Never mind.

(And yet Democrats jabber about places like Kansas and Wisconsin “voting against their interests”.  That’s always worth a laugh).

The Suicide Cult

The quote “democracy can only survive until the majority discovers they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury” gets attributed to a lot of people; over the years, I’ve seen De Tocqueville and Jefferson, among may others (it’s actually Alexander Tytler).

But what matters at this juncture in history is not so much who said it, or even that it was said.  What matters is that we’ve hit that point.

The “Blue Model” of government – first vote to provide goodies at public expense; then turn them into “entitlements” granted by the force of law that can’t be reasonably undone – holds sway in much of this country (including Minnesota); it’s done so for so long, entire generations think it’s the norm.  Much of the American populace can’t imagine government that isn’t in the entitlement biz; it’s the same part of the populace that seems to think that these “entitlements” are funded by gold coins borne down from heaven on the backs of unicorns (or “taxes on the 1%”, which are about the same thing).

It’s unsustainable.  And that which can not be sustained, won’t be.   The next case?  Illinois:

The Supremes have spoken: The Illinois state constitution is a suicide pact. Less than two years after invalidating an adjustment to state workers’ budget-busting healthcare benefits, the highest court in Illinois has ruled unconstitutional the City of Chicago’s last-ditch efforts to stabilize its woefully underfunded pension system. The Wall Street Journalreports:
The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plan to cut future retirement benefits and boost employee contributions for Chicago city workers, undercutting a pillar of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s strategy to stabilize one of the nation’s most troubled pension systems.

The justices ruled the changes would violate the rights of city workers and retirees protected under the Illinois constitution. The Emanuel administration had argued that the changes came as part of an agreement under which the city would increase its annual contributions to two of the city’s four pension funds to ensure they remain solvent.”

So to pay for the golden contracts of generations of retired city workers, the City of Chicago is going to have to raise taxes, cut spending on services (like police, fire, and education – and can you imagine an exquisitely expsensive and utterly failed system like the Chicago schools, with less money?) or, most likely, both.   This will drive out established businesses (but for corporate headquarters, of course; CEOs love the urban amenities and are willing to pay the taxes on one building; not the one where the blue and pink-collar proles work, naturally) and inhibit new ones, and worsen the plight of the city’s poor.

It’s called “the Blue Model”.

It’s also called “Detroit, Chapter 1”.

Detroit is in Chapter 4, now.  There is no Chapter 5.

Never Let It Be Said The Left Doesn’t Get Economics

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is getting a cup of coffee.  Aaron ROSTON, a writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“, walks up behind him in the line, looking for a free refill.  ROSTON is a crossing guard at a school in rural southern Minnesota, and is a bullying activist – mostly focusing on promoting bullying of children of conservatives.

ROSTON:  Merg! The economy is doing great!  Look at all the new jobs!

BERG:  2/3 of the new jobs are minimum wage.    Times are OK, so far – provided you’re a college educated professional.  If you’re poor, or black, or low-skilled, not so much.

ROSTON:  So it’s time to raise the minimum wage.

BERG:  Raising the minimum wage just rewards some workers by causing others to get laid off.  Prosperity is the only real minimum wage hike.  Here’s the alarming part; the best measure of an economy is how fast people move up and out of the lowest economic quintile.  We used to be among the best in the worlds.  Now, most of the Western world is better than we are.

ROSTON:  Well, funny you should mention that.  Income mobility was pretty good back under the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, when the tax rates were much higher.  Hmmmmmmmmm.

BERG:  Wait, what’s with the theatrical “hmmmmmmmm”?

ROSTON:  It proves you have been outfoxed.

BERG:  Well, no.  It’s a false correlation.  In the fifties and sixties, the US had the world’s only functional economy.  Japan and Germany were still recovering from the war; Singapore and South Korea and Taiwan were third-world hellholes; China was an Orwellian  dystopia; India was still at the bottom of its experiment with “democratic socialism”.

The US was the only place where things actually could get built; it was the world’s only functional market.  We could afford high taxes, and cushy union jobs, because we were the only place actually building things.

Correlation doesn’t equal causation.  Ascribing mobility to higher taxes is the same as chalking them up to the fact that “laws against sexual harassment and racism were more lax in the fifties”; they were facts that corresponded in time, but weren’t related.

ROSTON:   What?  You’re a racist!

BERG:  Um, no.  That was an illustration…

ROSTON:  I will not interact with racists and sexists!

(ROSTON winds up and throws his coffee cup toward BERG from a range of three feet.  And misses.  ROSTON stomps away in a huff – grabbing a handful of sugar packets from the credenza on his way out).

BERG: (Sotto voce) Never let it be said that liberals suck at economics.

And SCENE.

The Blind Squirrel

“So let’s get this straight – we have an overwhelming majority of young people supporting a white-haired old man who promises to give them stuff for free.  But I imagine someday they’ll be disappointed when they discover it was really their parents paying for college”.

— Peter Segel, NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” over the weekend.

Almost Like A Sequel To “Trulbert”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Federal Reserve was formed in 1913 for one purpose: to give the nation a stable money supply.  That’s it, nothing fancy, just provide a safe, secure, stable supply of money that will hold its value.  We needed that, because the previous national money schemes all went bust and decades of economic chaos followed.

 

After WW II, things looked pretty good and people had forgotten the old lessons.  In the 1970’s, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act to force banks to lend to unqualified borrowers and also expanded the Federal Reserve’s mission to include social engineering through monetary policy: “ . . . effectively promote the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates . . . .”

 

Remember the recession under Nixon, WIN buttons and the malaise economy of the Carter years?  And the real estate crash we just had?  Social engineering gone awry.

 

The federal government still deficit spends but nobody will buy worthless US bonds so the Federal Reserve buys them with money that it prints up.  I suspect the reason that cash inflow isn’t showing as inflation is the rest of the economy is in deflation but the government changed the formula to hide the fact its borrowing only partly offsets the slow-motion crash.

 

Buyers have a fixed amount of money to spend on monthly house payments.  It doesn’t matter whether that $1,000 per month goes to interest or principal.  The Fed is keeping interest rates low to prop up home values to benefit Baby Boomers wanting to sell McMansions, but it’s killing retirees whose investment accounts earn nothing, cost management fees and are eroded by secret inflation.

 

I suspect the Fed will raise interest rates when more Baby Boomers have retired and need the investment money.  True, it’ll crush home values but retirees won’t care at that point.

 

They tinker with the money hoping to reward certain behavior but if it crashes the economy again – as the other systems did before it – then we’ll be standing around saying “What we need is a safe, secure, stable supply of money that will hold its value.”

 

Joe Doakes

“He who forgets his history…”

Doakes Sunday: Romper Nation

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The gun control debate is a language problem: Liberals don’t speak “Logic,” they speak “Fear.” Or, if you prefer the old terms, “Dialectic” and “Rhetoric.”

Old White men committing suicide are no threat to me, I don’t fear them and don’t care if they have guns. Gang-bangers killing each other in the ghetto are no threat to me, I don’t fear them, let them keep their guns. Policemen shooting Gentle Giants, domestic abusers shooting spouses, children accidentally shooting themselves, none of those are threats to me, I don’t fear them, I don’t care about their guns. I include those deaths in the total of “gun violence” because it makes the problem sound more pressing so I can convince ignorant people to let me solve the problem that really concerns me.

A 20-something White male with mental health issues, inspired to become famous by copying other mass shooters, who has access to guns and to my church, school, shopping mall or movie theatre – that guy’s a threat to me. That guy, I fear. That guy’s guns, I want to take. If the only way to do it is taking everyone else’s guns, well, that’s how we did it in grade school: when one kid farted and nobody would own up to it, the entire class lost our recess privileges. Why expect different behavior from adult Liberals?

Joe Doakes

Collective Guilt is a hallmark of authoritarians and totalitarians everywhere.

Changing Times

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Times change, slogans change.

A Democrat President once said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  That’s a Republican way of thinking expressed in the idiom “pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps.”

In contrast, Bernie and Hilary believe “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  Democrats are all socialists now, a European way of thinking endorsed by Karl, Josef, Fidel and the most famous National Socialist of all, Adolf.

Cue the liberal who writes in bleating “Naziism wasn’t socialism”.  Oh, go ahead.  Do it.  I’m ready for you.  You’ll lose.

Back to Joe’s email:

I’m curious – if we were to survey history for the last few millennia, which system has been more successful at raising overall prosperity?  Or is that factor no longer relevant, misery now being considered acceptable so long as it’s widely enough shared?

Joe Doakes

It’s not even a question for those paying attention.

So much of our society, of course, isn’t, and never has.

Numbers Are Complicated

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There will be no increase in Social Security in 2016, because there is no inflation.  The government’s official rate of inflation is 0.2%

Except . . . that doesn’t feel right, does it?  The price of gasoline may be holding steady, but nothing else is.  It’s almost as if the government’s official rate is understating inflation.

That’s because it is.  The way they calculate inflation was changed in 1980, and changed again in 1990, always to make things look as if the government is going a wonderful job of keeping prices down, despite what you see at the check-out.

Using today’s method, the rate is 0.2%; using the 1990 method, the rate of inflation is 4%; using the 1980 method, the rate of inflation is 7%.  This isn’t dry economist eye-glazing mumbo-jumbo, this is senior citizens eating dog food because their checks don’t go far enough.

I understand the need to limit spending to keep the system solvent.  The solution isn’t to send seniors to the pet store, it’s to reduce the number of participants in the Ponzi scheme.  Face it: 20-somethings are never going to see Social Security, it’ll collapse long before they get there.  Might as well enact the legislation that says so right now and get them used to the idea of saving for their own future.

Joe Doakes

Except that “saving for their future” is going to get riskier and riskier, if we keep going with the current debt bubble, too.

Det Wårm En Tinglerer Føelens

Liberals pine for Denmark and Sweden.

You can hear it from their politicians – Bernie Sanders is one of many that visibly palpitates for the “Danish system”.  And you can see it in their semi-offical propaganda; in the cable series Weeds, produced by the loathsome Jenji Cohan, Denmark is depicted as a civil utopia.

Or, to be accurate, Sanders and Cohan depict a version of Denmark (and by extension the other northern European welfare states) that existed in in mid-seventies.

As Kevin Williamson notes, history is yet again leaving America “progressives” behind:

For those of you who are keeping score, the Heritage Foundation, which literally keeps score, rates Denmark’s economy as slightly more free – slightly more capitalistic — than that of the United States. Denmark is in a rough spot just lately, but it has been undergoing a series of deep and intelligent reforms to its welfare state (as have many of the other Northern European countries) to counteract the ill effects of earlier excesses.

Williamson also notes that the Danes, like the Swedes, pay for the goodies with a fairly crushing level of middle-class taxation – something that no American Democrat has the guts to admit; apparently we’ll have to pass their version of socialism to see what it costs us.

Doakes Sunday: Careful What You Wish For

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In a comment to an earlier thread, Emery wrote:
“The free movement of capital.
The free movement of goods and services.
The free movement of ideas and media.
The free movement of people.
The protection of private property.
I’m not a starry-eyed idealist, but I like to think that there is a liberal ideal that we should keep our eyes on, not necessarily as a realistic objective for today, but as a goal to strive for.”
My response is that all that free movement stuff sounds great in theory but I’m wondering about it in practice.  I just poured myself a cup of coffee and dumped in a packet of sugar.  I haven’t stirred it, yet.  The sugar is  concentrated in a heap of sweetness on the bottom of the cup.  That’s America.  The coffee in the rest of the cup is bitter.  That’s the rest of the world.  If I stir the cup, the sweetness will be distributed everywhere, but that also means it will be diluted everywhere.  No one place will be super-sweet, all will be equally semi-sweet.
Wouldn’t free movement of people and money lead to the same result? If you took all the money in America and distributed it to people across the rest of the globe, they would be enriched but we would be impoverished.  If we fling open the borders to let everybody from everywhere in the world come here, will they add to the sweetness of America by bringing prosperity and stability or subtract from it by welfare and crime?
I can see why people in the bitter lands would want their lives to become sweeter.  I can’t see why people in the super-sweet lands would want their lives to become more bitter.  As I cannot be guaranteed the glorious result would obtain, a conservative would eschew the experiment.
Joe Doakes

Perverse incentives?  I get it.

Perverse wishes?  Not so much.

Hollow Democracy

As the Sanders candidacy – the 25% of the left that is the analog of the Trump audience in the GOP – continues to slurp up the attentions of our lazy media, it’s always instructive to be aware of the inevitable failure of democratically-elected socialism in our hemisphere.  Kevin Williamson runs down the dismal record and present of the Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has continued and extended the misery and repression of the Chavez years.

That’s all bad enough.

Worse?

Maduro, like Chavez and all socialists before him, has been moving aggressively to control public opinion, banning opposition media and driving all dissent underground.

And while the dog is in Venezuela, the tail is here in America:

There is more to democratic legitimacy than open ballots truly counted. As the Founders of our own republic keenly appreciated, genuine democratic engagement requires an informed populace and open debate, thus the First Amendment’s protections, which extend not only to newspapers and political parties but also to ordinary citizens, despite the best efforts of Harry Reid and congressional Democrats to trample those rights. (They call this “campaign-finance reform,” on the theory that political communications more sophisticated than standing on a soapbox outside the Mall of America requires some sort of financial outlay.) But Venezuela has been for years cracking down on newspapers, radio stations, and television stations, even as the Maduro regime’s inspirations in Havana have been locking up outlaw . . . librarians.

Is it an accident that suddenly, the First Amendment is out of style on the left, with a whole generation of college students being raised to see speech as a controlled professional entitlement, the Obama Federal Communications and Elections Commissions constantly moving to control alternative media, using Homeland Security to demonize and the IRS to stifle dissent, and our nation’s chattering elite finding the First Amendment just too complicated for commoners?

“…And I’m Here to Help”

Joe Doakes from Como  Park emails:

When told the EPA broke open a retaining wall releasing 3 million gallons of toxic waste into the river but declared it safe two weeks later, the mine owner reportedly said “Well, hell, you didn’t need to do that for us; we could have done it ourselves.”
joe doakes

And for much less money, too.

Dense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Liberals in academia, government and tax-funded non-profit social agencies want everyone to live in rent-controlled apartments in densely populated cities, riding the train together and paying high taxes to support public expenses.  That’s what’s best for society so everyone should not only live that way, they should WANT to live that way: they should be Happy to Pay for a Better Minnesota.

 

So why do commercials stress the opposite?  Nobody advertises a new car by showing it stuck in traffic, it’s always sailing along an empty winding mountain road – zoom, zoom!  Travel companies stress the miles of open white beaches.  The slogan isn’t “Get Trampled In The Crowd” but instead is “Get Away From It All.”  Just you and possibly a loved one or two, enjoying the mountain streams, blue skies and wide open spaces by yourselves

 

I speculate that ad agencies who make a living selling products instead of extorting taxes understand that people do not want to live in hives, they want a little elbow room and are willing to pay for it, so that’s what they show in the ads.

 

Which is more likely to be wrong: millions of people deciding for themselves, or a few “experts” telling the rest of us how to live?

 

Now think about Hilary as President.

 

Joe Doakes

To a conservative, that’s a trick question.

To a liberal?  A grad school seminar.

There’s Just No Way…

…anybody could have predicted this: Seattle workers whose minimum wage has been jacked up to 15 bucks an hour…

…are now asking for fewer hours, so they don’t lose their housing subsidies.

Naturally, the artificially-high minimum wage was supposed to cut welfare dependency, blah blah blah.

So now we’ve got fewer jobs, and just watch – the program dependence is going to stay the same.

Trashed

Bloomington residents are having the same “debate” that Maplewood residents had a while ago, and that Saint Paul residents barely manage to stave off, year over year; socialized trash collection.  In Saint Paul, every few years, a coalition of:

  • Environmentalists who think that having one truck go through your alley every week is better than having more than one truck go through your alley every week
  • NIMBAs (“Not in my back alley”) who for whatever reason are tormented by the number of trucks driving through their alleys at ugodly hours of the Midday
  • Big Government dweebs

…unites to try to jam down municipal garbage collection.

And it’s apparently go-time in Bloomington:

Those in favor most often cited the need to cut down on the number of trucks in the neighborhoods.

“Every Thursday morning my normally serene suburban home life is shattered by a steady caravan of heavy trucks,” wrote John Zimmerman. “Air brakes squeal, backup alarms chirp, and I lose track after the tenth truck has rolled through.”

Apparently John Zimmerman’s realtor told him he was moving to rural Iowa.

Bear in mind, Bloomington already has a semi-government-run system, doling out parts of the city to seven different haulers.  The city wants to go from picking seven winners to picking one:

The city still is negotiating with the seven haulers, but the most recent proposal would cost the average household $18.42 a month for trash and recycling pickup, said Public Works Director Karl Keel.

When the government wants to socialize a municipal service, the first number they give you is like that 3% interest rate on your credit card, or that first joint they give the grade school kids; it’s a teaser.  It will not last.

In  Maplewood, the rates may not have risen – but the “fees” tacked onto the rates certainly have.  The “winning” hauler also made the rate by supplying cheap trash carts that fell apart after a year, cutting corners on customer service, and other “savings” that, in a free market, you don’t have to tolerate.

I pay $20 a month, fees and all, to a ma and pa company that calls me if I forget a  payment, picks up extra stuff without any muss and fuss, and always answers the phone on the second ring.

Think you’ll get that with one big municipal service?

Opportunity Dumps:  If you’re a Bloomington Republican, here’s a classic example of a local issue that your candidates can use to set themselves apart from the incumbents (who, on the Bloomington City Council, favor the proposal 6-1).  Yes, it’s early.  No, it’s it’s not early enough.  If you’re thinking about being a conservative candidate for Bloomington City Council, you should be out there on the barricades today.

(And if you’re a “liberty” supporter?  Helping the people win this battle would convince a lot more people that you’re not just a bunch of white frat boys wallowing in an echo chamber eating chicken wings and listening to each other argue about who’s the biggest Austrian-schooler).

 

Currently, Bloomington’s 26,000 households pay an average of $26.72 a month. Keel estimated that city residents would save about $13 million over a five-year hauling contract.

 

Many residents have pointed out that by negotiating with different haulers, they’ve been able to get extremely low rates. Council Member Tim Busse was skeptical of some claims.

“I’d like to meet the residents who are getting their trash [picked up] for 10 bucks a month,” Busse said. “I want to take you with me the next time I buy a car. That’s some pretty good negotiating.”

In the end, the council voted 6-1 to continue negotiating the single-hauler deal, with only Cynthia Bemis Abrams opposing. A public hearing will be held before a final decision is made.

To Be Fair, You Were Warned

Seattle minimum wage workers discover exactly what everyone has been telling them about huge minimum wage hikes all along; they destroy jobs.  Their jobs.

http://redalertpolitics.com/2015/04/30/pizza-shop-worker-loves-seattles-new-15-minimum-wage-finds-cost-job/

image: http://cdn.redalertpolitics.com/files/2015/04/z-pizza-min-wage.png

Pizza shop worker Devin Jeran was excited about the raise that was coming his way thanks to Seattle’s new $15 an hour minimum wage law. Or at least he was until he found out that it would cost him his job.
Jeran will only see a bigger paycheck until August when his boss has to shut down her Z Pizza location, putting him and his 11 co-workers out of work, Q13 Fox reported.

Oh, Devin. If you’re getting your news from the mainstream media, you will always be a naif lost in the woods. Shake it off, champ.

Does this sound familiar (emphasis added):

He said that while the law was being discussed all he heard about was how the mandatory minimum wage increase would make life better for him, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“If that’s the truth, I don’t think that’s very apparent. People like me are finding themselves in a tougher situation than ever,” he told the TV station.
Owner Ritu Shah Burnham said she just 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 told Q13. “I’ve also raised my prices a little bit, there’s no other way to do it.”

And “Z” is a nationwide franchise that takes some on some of the local franchises’ ad costs (and makes excellent pizza, if you’re ever in Roseville).

Small businesses in Seattle have up to six more years to phase in the new $15 an hour minimum wage, but even though she only has 12 employees, Z pizza counts as part of a “large business franchise.” As a result, she is on a sped up timeline to implement the full raise.

The left’s contempt for business – counting all franchisees’ employees together is pretty contemptible – has to start harming them eventually, doesn’t it?

Shah Burnham said that she is “terrified” for her employees after she closes up shop.
“I have no idea where they’re going to find jobs, because if I’m cutting hours, I imagine everyone is across the board,” she said.
The organization that pushed for the higher minimum wage, 15 Now Seattle, wouldn’t comment directly on the closing to Q13 and didn’t offer any sign of sympathy.

When I read stories like this, I wonder – perhaps some of the people who agitate for minimum wage hikes can help the displaced workers find new jobs?  Maybe that union booth at the State Fair that hands out all the “Living Wage” agitprop can devote some time to the task?

“Restaurants open and close all the time, for various reasons,” Director Jess Spear said.

I guess that’s a “no”.