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”.

Lost

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Federal debt has stopped going up. It’s stayed the same for three weeks.

 Well, maybe. Federal debt subject to the debt limit law has stopped increasing. Makes me wonder: does that mean the government stopped borrowing money to meet its obligations, or that it’s simply borrowing the money “off-book?” I’m suspicious.

If government can operate with the debt frozen and we simply froze the debt at that number for the next 100 years, inflation would turn it into a trivial amount. Can the solution to overspending really be that easy?

Joe Doakes

I’m going to guess the Fed just lost the emails for the past three weeks’ debt numbers.

Chicago: Going Greek?

After four years under firmer Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Chicago has run up an absolute mountain of debt, and is among the ranks of cities that could easily go bankrupt in the near future.

So naturally, inveterate democrat Chicago voters appear likely to go the Greek route, and kick the physical can down the road even further, appearing to favor someone even further to the left:

Three weeks remain before the April 7 runoff between Emanuel and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County commissioner and fellow Democrat whose candidacy is the vehicle for grievances against the mayor and his efforts to steer the city away from insolvency. Chicago has $20 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, a school system deep in deficit and a credit rating dropping toward junk. It’s in danger of being overwhelmed by debt unless it embraces onerous solutions that probably would include retirement benefit cuts and tax increases.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such financial uncertainty and so many moving parts all going on at once, and no one wanting to blink first by saying what he’s going to do about it,” said Donald Haider, a former Chicago finance director who ran for mayor in 1987.

Of course, they have to walk a very fine line; essentially, both have to campaign on who’s willing to be the most brazen about waiting for a federal bailout, without actually saying it.

Smarter Than Our Leaders

Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain was right about one thing, anyway; despite all of governments foul-ups the fundamentals of the American economy are basically strong.

We have ideas, and entrepreneurial energy, I don’t labor force that (2008 and 2012 elections not withstanding) we’re pretty smart and capable, and one of the worlds larger, wealthier consumer markets. Those, among other things, give the American economy’s a degree of resilience that is going to be hard to extinguish, even after 14 years of flagrant overspending and six years of crypto-socialism.

That’s the economy. Not the governments massive piling up of debt. That’s a whole ‘nother thing.

Why does it matter? Because the fact that the American private market is bigger, stronger, and smarter than its government – for now – may be the only thing that saved it from complete collapse six years ago.

Kill It Dead

Representative Mary Franson, GOP from Alexandria, is making the first move toward repealing the forced unionization of childcare and homecare providers:

… Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria), a former childcare provider, introduced legislation – known as the “Hands Off Child Care Act” – that would repeal the childcare unionization law of 2013.

“The vast majority of childcare providers do not want be forced into a union,” said Franson. “Given the high costs of childcare in Minnesota, this legislation will help alleviate costs that unionization would bring providers, moms, and dads.”

It’s worth noting that Minnesota already had some of the highest childcare costs in the United States – considerably higher than our other costs and standards of living, before the DFL, working at the behest of the SEIU and AFSCME, jammed down the unionize Asian of providers in the 2013 session.

“But wait!”, You might say, “the DFL controls the Senate, and Mark Dayton is still the governor!”

And you to be right. Mark Dayton doesn’t take a dump without his union benefactors’ okay.

But this bill will get votes on the record, assuming it gets out of committee. And that’s with the GOP majority in the house needs to do; get lots of damning votes to associate with lots of DFLers on these bread-and-butter issues.

Rosy

As the media relentlessly chants about “economic recovery”, at least one article (from the AP) notes that those “new jobs” aren’t really doing much for the lower-middle-class – people who may be doing OK on the surface, but are only a missed paycheck or two away from depending on someone else.

And it’s worth noting that every previous sharp recession – like 1982 – had a correspondingly sharp rebound; within two years of the bottom of that recession, the economy was adding 500,000 jobs a month.

The 2007 recession was, along with the Great Depression, part of a tiny, exclusive club; sharp corrections that didn’t bounce back fast – as in, almost like an inverted bell curve.  And what did they have in common?

Govenment efforts to “help”.

The Proverbial Frog In A Pan

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails in re a recent Powerline article:

“Mandatory” [spending] does not include defense, it covers things the government must spend because people are entitled to them: i.e., welfare, medicare, social security, etc.

 

Entitlements are the big growth. Not a surprise. For my wife and me, it’s $22,000 worth. That’s an eye opener.

Joe Doakes

It’s amazing how conservatives can warn people about something for six years, and it can still be a surprise, even to smart people, how bad it actually is.

Getting Ahead By Staying Behind

Walmart stores in 21 states are taking money away from salaries normally paid to higher skilled workers – including those who work their way up from minimum-wage – to pay for minimum wage hikes:

The new laws have prompted Wal-Mart to adjust the minimum premium paid to its higher-skilled employees and combine its lowest three pay grades, Reuters reported Wednesday

Sapping initiative to pay for feel good social canoodling?

All is proceeding according to plan.

Settled Pseudoscience

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Another flawed, biased, incorrect study by big-shot economists proving the raising the minimum wagehurts poor people most.

Clearly deniers.  Won’t admit settled science.  Overwhelming consensus of experts in the field.  Like Hilary.

Joe Doakes

Like – what was Nick Coleman’s version of it?  Like peasants attacking the observatory with pitchforks and torches?

Mandated Equality

Two truisms at play in this story:

  1. If someone has to mandate your equal outcome [*], then you probably really aren’t equal.
  2. Economics 101:  Forcing people to pay more or less for a good or service than they naturally would will distort the market.  Force the price up, and you’ll get a black market.  Force the price down, and you’ll get less of the good or service.

With that in mind, see if you can see both currents in this piece, about developers in NYC and their reaction to being forced (as a condition of a bailout) to include “Market-Rate rentals” which are, in fact, well below the market rate.

A Queens luxury tower that was bailed out by the city is blocking the large terraces of a few affordable units so tenants above with tiny balconies don’t get jealous, one resident claims.

Erin McFadzen chose her middle-income — and rent-stabilized — corner apartment at Long Island City’s new Q41 building because of its wrap-around terrace.

But when she moved in, half of it was fenced off by what she calls a “Jurassic Park”-style barricade.

The ugly 6-foot-high wire barrier also interferes with views from every window of her sixth-floor, $2,186-a-month pad.

“We’re caged in,” McFadzen told The Post.

“Every time someone comes over, I have to explain why the fence is there . . . and tell them we’re rent stabilized, like it’s a badge I have to wear,” she said.

And the tenants aren’t the only innumerate ones; the developers (read the story, for crying out loud) are just as bad.

The innumeracy washes over us in waves in this piece:

  1. Rent Control/Rent Subsidy (as well as the city’s systematic demonization of landlords, much as Minneapolis and Saint Paul are doing, although not nearly as effectively as NYC does – yet) is exactly why it’s impossible to find an affordable apartment in NYC.  “If you make a good or service worth less than it would naturally be, there will be less of it”.
  2. The city shouldn’t be bailing out failed developers – so the developers shouldn’t be complaining that the bailout comes with strings attached requiring them to include rentals for much lower rates than the market would ordinarily bear.
  3. Real estate in New York being as much about image as value, the “low-income” tenants shouldn’t be surprised that the developers are doing something to give the residents paying the actual market rates some sense that they’re getting something justifying the premium that they’re paying for the upscale places they’re renting.  And in that case, that means making the the full-rent balconies a better deal than the cut-rate ones.  Even just by the seemingly bitchy means they used.

If governnment has to make you equal, you’re probably not.

[*] Civil rights legislation is, of course, not an example of this; civil rights and liberties are not given to us by a landlord, but by our creator.  Nobody can justly take them away.  Housing is not a right – much less a specific class of housing for a specific price.

Reasons To Raise The Minimum Wage

[SCENE:  John “FUZZY” Premisse, age 45, steps out behind a Burger King on a grimy industrial boulevard.  He is paunchy, his hairline a distant memory.  His face, doughy from decades of blue-collar food, is criss-crossed with stress lines.  In the background, the smokestacks of a high-tech incubator park belch smoke into the night sky, the glow of the open code hearth lending a faint glow to the background as he lights a cigarette.  ]

[FUZZY is joined by a much younger man.  It is  his son, Luke “STRETCH” Premisse.  Stretch, age 21, bums a cigarette off his father.  As he lights the cigarette, we see spatter burns on his forearms, accrued through hard years on the deep frier]

STRETCH:  [takes a puff] Busy night. 

FUZZY:  [Takes a long puff, holds it, lets it go slowly]  They’re all busy, in their own way.  [Stares into the distance

STRETCH:  Yeah.  Hey, Dad?  That guy who was talking with Erica the assistant manager?  Who was that?

FUZZY:  [Scowls, with an air of contempt] Pfffft.  Sheee-*t.  Buddy. 

STRETCH:  Buddy?

FUZZY:  Buddy Dayusexmachina. 

STRETCH:  Seems like a nice guy.

FUZZY:  [Spits with contempt]  Sh*t.  He’s a f****ng “earner”.

STRETCH:  “Earner?”

FUZZY:  Someone who earns more than minimum wage. 

STRETCH: Huh.  [Takes a puff on hiscigarette].      

FUZZY:  [also takes a puff].

STRETCH:  So – that’s a bad thing?

FUZZY:  [Looks at his son with an air of alarmed]  What?

STRETCH:  So he earns more than minimum wage.  That’s a bad thing?

FUZZY: [Alarm turns to comtempt].  What the hell?  Is that how I raised you? 

STRETCH:  [Takes a puff, flicks his cigarette, stands a little straighter]  What do you mean?

FUZZY:  We’re minimum wage earners.  My grandfather earned $.35 an hour at a burger joint in the forties.  My father before me?  He started at a buck and a quarter at this same Burger King, back in 1965.  Nineteen Sixty Five!  And he worked away, stayed at that minimum wage, til the day he died at the drive-thru.  I started here in 1983 – I made $3.35 an hour.  Flippin’ burgers, just like you do today!  You probably don’t even remember back in 1997, when Bill Clinton raised the minimum from $4.25 to $5.15.  You were just a baby.  But it was one of the proudest days of my life!

STRETCH:  But…why?

FUZZY:  [Steps aggressively toward his son]  Because the minimum wage got raised!

STRETCH:  Yeah, but…so?

FUZZY:  It’s how our life gets better.  When the minimum wage goes up, we get more money.  How f****ng hard is it? 

STRETCH:  Right.  I get that.  We’re the Premisses; the best burger flippers, frier operators and shake-pourers in the Valley. 

FUZZY:  Damn straight.  [Takes another puff]

STRETCH:  OK…well…Mister Dayusexmachina says that if I learn to run the scheduling system and how to count tills, I could move up to assistant manager.  That’d jack my pay up to $12.50…

FUZZY:  [Drops cigarette in shock, turns on son in muted menace]  What did you just say? 

STRETCH:  They said I could move up…

FUZZY:  [walks closer to son, rage building]  I hear what you said.  You wanna “move up”.  Is that how I raised you?   

STRETCH:  Er…what do you mean?

FUZZY:  We earn minimum wage.  You do.  I do.  My daddy did.  So did his daddy.  That’s what we do.  We’re the Premisses!

STRETCH: But – this would be more than minimum wage…

FUZZY:  [looks son in the eye] Mark Dayton just raised the minimum wage.  We all just got raises. 

STRETCH:  Yeah, but this is even more?

FUZZY:  What are you?  Getting all “too good for minimum wage?”  Going out and “learning new skills” to “get pay raises” and “move ahead in life” without waiting for the Feds to raise it for you? 

STRETCH:  Well…

FUZZY:  You think you’re too good for the minimum wage life?  The life that was good enough for your father, and his father, and his father? 

STRETCH:  It has nothing to do with being “too good”.  It’s just that I know how to use the computer, and that other assistant manager Shaylene got fired for dealing pot out of the bathroom, and…

FUZZY: You look at me, son.  Look at me!  Other people may “learn skills” and “move up”.  And some of them “screw up” and “move down”.   But we Premisses?  We are always here.  Reliable.  We do the jobs nobody else wants to.  And we’re the best at them. 

[Javier AMARILLO, President of the local SEIU chapter, steps into the frame and addresses the camera]

AMARILLO:  What we’ve seen here is why America needs to raise the minimum wage.  Because all across this great but racist and deeply flawed nation, hundreds of millions of hard-working Americans have chosen not to learn more marketable job skills, to better themselves, and to go to the job market without skills or education that would give them a skill that anyone would pay for.  Many of them, raised in a public school system that taught grievance-mongering and neglected hard work and striving to better oneself, have no concept of the idea that “bettering oneself” is not an entitlement, but a personal responsibility. 

And it’s for these hundreds of millions of Americans that we need to raise the minimum wage. 

So please join me in demanding your congressperson demand a raise to the federal minimum wage!  

FUZZY:  Hey, it’s Javier Amarillo, of the SEIU!  When are you going to organize fast-food workers?

AMARILLO: [Smiling blandly]  You don’t exist to me. 

STRETCH:  Do you make minimum wage?

AMARILLO:  As if.  I make $187,000 a year plus perks.  I drive a BMW.  I haven’t eaten at a “Burger King” in 20 years.  Get back to work, as****es.    I’ve got to get to a dinner meeting with Tina Flint Smith. 

[And SCENE, as a Pete Seeger song plays dimly in the background]

A Better Japan

To:  MN DFLers
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  The Inevitable End Result Of Keynesianism

DFLers,

I know – most of you don’t know what “Keynesianism” is.  It’s the economic theory that using government tax and monetary policy to “stimulate” the economy is the most effective way to ensure the economy grows steadily and doesn’t have ugly cyclical downturns.

Unfortunately – as we’ve seen in Japan – it doesn’t work.   Hiking taxes, and turning (some of) them into “stimuli”, makes things worse, not better.

Yep, the Democrat party – and the DFL with it – is built on Keynesianism (too much of the GOP has reached an accomodation with it as well, but that’s something for us to root out and kill on our own).

Keynesianism’s inevitable end results gave us the malaise of the ’70’s.  And it’s Keynesianism – delivered by its greatest, worst advocate in US history, Barack Obama, as well as locally by is oompa-loompas in the DFL – that are dragging the American economy down – and, if you’ve noticed by the fact that Minnesota’s tax revenues haven’t kept up with forecasts yet this year, Minnesota’s as well.

Just warning you.

That is all.

Paul Krugman Hates The Poor

Beating up Paul Krugman – a Nobel Prize-winner who is a poster-child for “narrow expertise” – is a little like fact-checking Heather Martens; it’s easy, and there will never be a shortage of material.

Rich Karlgaard at Forbes spells out yet another reason Krugman is jumping from Princeton in disgrace:

Krugman says the rich sock their money in low-yield bonds. But he fails to consider the obvious. Stocks have almost tripled since March 2009. Urban real estate is in a boom. Art is in a boom. If you believe Krugman, it must be the poor folks who are feeding these asset bubbles. Because the rich, Krugman says, are stuck in low-yield bonds.

This is utter nonsense. The excess liquidity created by U.S. monetary policy does not wind up in the hands of the poor. It winds up in the hands of the rich. The rich then put it into stocks, real estate, hedge funds, and art.

It’s actually the poor and lower middle classes whose wealth — such as it is –lies fallow in no-interest bank accounts (or wealth-eroding cash if they have no bank account at all). It’s not the rich, but middle-class retirees that try to eke out a living on low-yield interest rates.

Krugman has it exactly, 180-degrees wrong. Cheap money is a transfer payment to the rich. It is a tax on the poor. The rich-poor divide grew vast under the cheap money policies of Ben Bernanke. This trend will surely accelerate under Janet Yellen.

Wonder what it’ll be like, someday – maybe decades from now, maybe in the afterlife – when “progressives” realize they’ve been squeeeeeing like a bunch of teenager grrrls at a One Direction concert over the permanent destruction of the middle class.

Here We Go Again

The completion of the “Green Line” has the urban planning dorks dreaming big again. 

Next up for Saint Paul – an “urban village” on Snelling by University, where the old MTC Bus Barn used to be.  It’ll be 4+ stories, the usual dog’s breakfast of “mixed-use” buildings a minimum of four stories tall, full of all of the “new urbanist” fads like “pedestrian friendly” spaces and “open spaces” that scream “crime-friendly!” to anyone who’s been paying attention. 

The refreshing part?  The consultants who are, er, consulting on the project admit up front it’s going to be exquisitely expensive:

The verdict? Those plans may be doable, but they won’t be cheap.

The report by Urban Investment Group, RNL and KHO Consulting examined potential development arrangements for the Snelling-Midway “SmartSite.”

The consultants found a $22 million to $31 million gap between today’s market value of the site and the cost of necessary new infrastructure, including $40 million in needed structured parking, as the land is redeveloped in phases.

The report encourages a mix of building types and uses, most of them at least four stories tall, with open spaces and pedestrian amenities to create the feel of an urban village.

It suggests a variety of approaches to close the funding gap, including tax-increment financing and grants and loans.

They’re suggesting a “public-private partnership”, which inevitably means large, rent-seeking “private” companies that are deeply in bed with government, building to a plan that has nothing to do with what the market demands but merely tries – at immense taxpayer expense – to skew the market toward the government’s (politically-driven and ultimately futile) plan. 

Think Galtier Plaza, Riverplace, Saint Anthony Main, The Conservatory, Mississippi Live…

Infallible

I’m a Protestant.  I’m a Protestant for a lot of really good theological reasons. 

I’ve got nothing against Catholicism; parts of my family are Catholic, as are a strong plurality of my friends.  Like a lot of Protestants, I admired John Paul 2, not leastly because he seemed to not only recognized that all Christians were on the Jesus Team, but  that Protestant beliefs were also a path to salvation.

But I’ve wondered sometimes; if the colonies had been majority-Catholic, would there have been an American Revolution?

I ask it when I read things like this; one of the Pope’s top advisors rips on “liberartarian” beliefs and the free market.

The pope, [Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez] Maradiaga said, grew up in Argentina and “has a profound knowledge of the life of the poor.” That is why, he said, Francis continues to insist that “the elimination of the structural causes for poverty is a matter of urgency that can no longer be postponed.”

 

“The hungry or sick child of the poor cannot wait,” the cardinal said.

So far, so good.

“Solidarity is more than a few sporadic acts of generosity,” he said.

 

Instead, he said, solidarity with the poor, as envisioned by Catholic social teaching, calls for “dealing with the structural causes of poverty and injustice.”

And when people talk “structure”, they’re talking “political solutions”.

And when you talk “political solutions” to economic “injustice”, you’re inevitably talking top-down, government solutions. 

Without exception. 

A charismatic churchman who speaks fluent English, Maradiaga was animated in his criticism of the effects of today’s free market capitalism and he peppered his remarks with digs at economic conservatives.

 

Trickle-down economics, he said, is “a deception,” and he declared that the “invisible hand” of the free market — the famous theory advanced by the 18th-century philosopher Adam Smith — was instead being used as a cruel trick to exploit the poor.

The world is full of cruel tricks, when you’re poor. 

But the free market has virtually eliminated widespread starvation (in parts of the world that have a free market), government, thetop-down solution to “infrastructure problems” inevitably makes things worse for the poor, while enriching the administrative class with the graft that always, always follows political solutions to social issues.

Although my Catholic friends my bristle when I say this, I am exceedingly unimpresssed with Pope Francis’ reign, at least in secular and political terms, so far.

Solutions

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The panhandlers are back, stronger than ever. Used to be one per overpass, now there are four. I didn’t see them this Winter, when they could have made a bundle shoveling sidewalks. Do panhandlers hibernate, like bears, or are they migratory, like geese? Maybe the DNR should put up “No Feeding” signs.

I know the courts have ruled that panhandlers have a First Amendment right to ask the public for donations, but I got hit up in the drive-through lane at McDonalds this morning, which is a little much. At first I thought I might slide out of it: he was wearing an American flag on his jacket so I suspected he was a Tea Partier seeking donations to spread the word about Obama’s fake economic “recovery.” If that had been the case, I could have saved a buck plus sicced the IRS on him because, as everyone knows, Tea Partiers have no First Amendment rights. But no – he only wanted money for the bus to get to the homeless shelter for breakfast, so I was stuck.

This is an area where traditional DFL solutions would work: regulate, license and tax. Permit fees and registration. Make them register as licensed mendicants, same as itinerent peddlers. If they work in teams, they must provide employer-paid insurance, including unemployment and Obama care. They need a permit for each day and location of business. Hot spots require a medallion, just like a taxi at the airport. Also nobody is allowed to give alms in amounts less than $20.00. After all, beggers deserve a living handout. Or livable handout, I’ve lost track of the current terminology.

Mandatory jail for first offenders, escalating punishment for scofflaws. Traditional Liberal solutions can solve modern urban problems. We just need to implement them.

Joe Doakes

They “solve” all manner of free enterprise and prosperity.

Doakes Sunday: Dubious Solutions

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Labour Party in Britian proposes to tie the minimum wage to average earnings.

 

Doesn’t this simply shift the fight to Whose earnings?  Everybody?  Only Union?  Excluding Government?  Basing the minimum wage paid by McDonalds on the average wage paid to bureaucrats in Washington – is that sensible?

 

Rife for political manipulation without transparency or accountability, just like every CBO report.

 

I know – let’s tie the minimum wage to an international monetary standard like the Libor, that will eliminate all chance of manipulation of the standard.

 

Joe Doakes

People seem amazed that when you turn things over to politicians, the solution is inevitably political.

Calamity

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Swiss voted down a minimum wage of $25 per hour.   Based on what I heard from the DFL when Minnesota was debating this issue, the Swiss economy will now collapse, children will starve and a rain of frogs will begin any minute now.

 Any minute now.

 Any minute.

 Joe Doakes

Or a revolution. A revolution of McDonalds workers.

Any ol’ time.

“Free”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Dental care in Australia is free.  So everybody wants it.  So you have to wait your turn.  Might take a bit.

 “Springborg said before the NPA, patients were waiting up to 10 years for dental work.”

 And what is this NPA?  The government tossed 200 Million Australian Dollars into the fund to allow patients to go outside the system to private dentists, a one-time shot to reduce the wait which now is under a year.  The government can’t afford to repeat the subsidy, so wait times will rise again.  It’s only a toothache, right?  What’s a few months wait when it’s FREEEEEE!

 Joe Doakes

The defining trait of liberals is that they all seem to assume that if you wish hard enough for a miracle – free dental care, universal healthcare without raising taxes or the deficit or degrading healthcare, raising minimum wages without unintended consequences to employment and prices – that a unicorn will descend from the skies with the means to make it happen.

Dear Minimum Wage Activists

We warned you.

But did you listen?  No!  You said that jobs would not be lost as pay for low-skill jobs was forced upward by government fiat, and that there’d be no unintended consequences – because all consequences, presumably, would be forestalled by foo-foo dust brought down from the skies on the backs of unicorns. 

But there is no foo-foo dust, there are no unicorns, and when you force someone to pay more or less than the free market will bear for something, there will be consequences.

And so there are.

This Is Your Obama Economy, Part MMMCCXVLIII

A report from the center-left Brookings Institution shows that not only is busines dynamism – the pace of new business openings and old business closings – the slowest it’s been, but during the Obama “Recovery” the pace of closings has far outrun the pace of new business creation, for the first time in post-Great-Depression history:


Says Brookings:

Research has firmly established that this dynamic process is vital to productivity and sustained economic growth. Entrepreneurs play a critical role in this process, and in net job creation.But recent research shows that dynamism is slowing down. Business churning and new firm formations have been on a persistent decline during the last few decades, and the pace of net job creation has been subdued. This decline has been documented across a broad range of sectors in the U.S. economy, even in high-tech. …

While the reasons explaining this decline are still unknown, if it persists, it implies a continuation of slow growth for the indefinite future, unless for equally unknown reasons or by virtue of entrepreneurship enhancing policies (such as liberalized entry of high-skilled immigrants), these trends are reversed.

Why has America become less entrepreneurial? 

I’m going to suggest it’s two things; the constant accretion of new regulations atop old regulations, which continually make new businesses harder and harder to launch, and a culture – especially a school system – that is slowly leaching the desire independence out of the citizenry.

(Via Ed)