Premonition

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Oh, so NOW they’re starting to talk about it?  I’ve been pointing out this looming problem for years.
Look, people can afford about $1,500 per month for housing.  If interest rates are 7%, then most of the payment goes to interest so principal must be lower – home prices fall. But if home prices fall, Baby Boomer home owners lose equity.   
The Fed has kept interest rates low to preserve the equity in Baby Boomers’ homes; but that also meant low interest rates on savings.  Boomers have money tied up in their houses because there’s nowhere else to invest. 
Most Boomers are sheep, they follow the herd.  When they decide to sell their existing homes and move to retirement homes, the competition for buyers will lead to reduced home prices.  The race to the bottom, coupled with low interest rates on savings, will wipe out the wealth of an entire generation.
Since they have no savings, and no equity, Boomers will be dependent Social Security and Medicare.  But those programs already are incapable of self-support and young people carrying college debt and new homes can’t afford to pay higher taxes.  The entire thing is an actuarial nightmare.  Or more accurately, a house of cards awaiting the slightest puff of breeze to bring it down.
When the US economy collapses in a mountain of unsustainable debt, the world economy goes with it.  
Our military preparedness is low, our economy is suspect, our enemies are gaining strength, our borders are undefended.  It’s beginning to feel as if I’m sitting in Rome in 450 AD.  What lies ahead is a thousand years of darkness.
Luckily, Democrats are focused like a laser on what’s important – making sure Americans cannot defend themselves after the crash
Joe Doakes

Best case, that collapse leads to forced privatization of…well, most everything. It’s not implausible.

But given the sheep-like nature and entitlement of the “elites” of the Millennial generation, I’m not too bullish on best-case solutions.

More on that, probably, later this week or next.

Ilhan Omar: Back To The Sixties

Back in the sixties, when “affordable housing”  – i.e. having places more or less fit for human habitation to put the poor in – became a thing, America (like the UK) went on a binge of building it.  It was awful – Soviet-style high-rises, or endless blocks of cheap townhouses and low-rise buildings, with brutalist architecture and inhuman landscapes…

…and that was when they were brand new. 

Which wasn’t for long. 

The results are a roll call of failure: Cabrini Green; Marcy Homes; Riverside Plaza; “Council Flats”.   Places where generations of inmates, bereft of any free-market desire to improve things, didn’t; buildings that fell apart around their inmates, because they were “affordable” housing in markets that were growing more expensive by the year; places that became synonymous with crime, addiction, mental illness, bottomless despair.  

Ilhan Omar wants to bring all of that back:

The “Homes for All Act” will invest $800 billion over 10 years and invest an additional $200 billion in a Housing Trust Fund, according to a release from the congresswoman.

In all, the bill aims to create 8.5 million new units of public housing with the $800 billion and 3.5 million private, permanent affordable housing projects for low-income families with the trust fund money.

The act repeals the Faircloth Amendment, which will allow the federal government to invest in new public housing for the first time since the 1990s.

Omar’s office noted the bill will make public housing expenses mandatory in order to “prevent future investment bias.”

“Making this spending mandatory ensures that the funding needs of all current and future public housing are fully met and cannot be cut in the event of a budget crisis or a change in Administration,” reads the release. Omar compared the mandatory spending to that of Social Security and Medicare.

On the one hand, what was that definition of “insanity” again?

On the other hand?  The Twin Cities media won’t cover this, either. 

And They Say Progs Are Illiterate About Economics…

Portland voters impose a 1% “clean energy” tax on large and big-box businesses.

And are then outraged that those businesses pass the costs on to customers.

Emphasis added:

Terry Wiesner stared down at his Safeway grocery store receipt in confusion in mid-September after he noticed being charged an extra 3 cents for buying a package of $2.99 napkins. The 3 cent charge was listed as a tax.
He called over a store attendant while still in the self-checkout line at the Southeast Woodstock Boulevard branch and asked about the charge. The worker pointed to a laminated sign nearby.
Portland instituted a voter-approved clean energy surcharge in January, imposing a 1 percent tax on paper products, wine, beer, household items and other products, the sign said. The surcharge began appearing on Safeway customers’ receipts on Sept. 9 and people should contact the City of Portland if they had any concerns, according to the notice.
“I didn’t remember voting for any kind of tax,” said Wiesner, 74. “I later learned that this was meant to be a tax on businesses, not the people. Frankly, it just made me angry. It wasn’t about the 3 cents, it’s about the spirit of this charge and how it’d been passed off to me.”

To be fair, it’s entirely possible this has been passed off as something that’d “just affect business”; Portland, like Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and now Rochester, is run by people who’ve never worked outside public employment, non-profits or academia.

NIMBY = “Not In My Borough, Yo”

New York assemblywoman argues that housing is a right:

“Unexpectedly”, she also is a plaintiff suing against affordable housing…in her district:

In a Wednesday piece for the New York Daily News, [Assemblymember Yuh-Line] Niou and activist Feliz Guzman argue that the Saturday murder of four homeless people in New York City could have been prevented by more government spending on housing and social services.
“If they had been housed, four of our neighbors would very likely still be with us today,” they write. “We must choose to guarantee every New Yorker the right to a safe and affordable home to prevent a tragedy like this one from ever happening again.” Niou and Guzman call out both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio for falling short of their own promises to build affordable housing:

Awkwardly, Niou is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against an affordable housing project being built by a coalition of developers, including Habitat for Humanity, in Little Italy. The project, named Haven Green, would add 123 units of affordable senior housing to Niou’s district, including 37 units for the formerly homeless…So why is she suing to stop it? It’s all about the open space.
The Haven Green project will replace the privately managed Elizabeth Street Garden that currently occupies the city-owned site. In March, the garden, and a separate non-profit that advocates for its preservation, filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that it erred in approving the project without conducting an adequate environmental study.
“While Lower Manhattan is desperately in need of affordable housing, we cannot pit the need for housing against the need for green space, especially when so many good alternatives are available,” Niou said in a statement.

So her constituents’ desire for open space trumps the “right” to housing…

…in Niou’s district?

Nosotros Todos Somos Venezueleaños!

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking through the Roseville Best Buy, looking for a USB-C to HDMI cable, when, engrossed in thought, he fails to notice Avery LIBRELLE walking up behind him.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Er, hi, Avery. Just kinda busy…nñ

LIBRELLE: Voters need to stop voting against their best interests, and vote Progressive!

BERG: Because “progressivism”…

LIBRELLE: Why are you making scare quotes?

BERG: …is everyone’s best interests?

LIBRELLE: Of course!

BERG: So the places where “progressives have control are the places where all our “best interests” are being seen to?

LIBRELLE: Yes! Yes! Yes! We may be making progress here!

BERG: So places like Detroit, Cleveland, Newark, Camden, Baltimore, Chicago, Saint Louis, North Minneapolis, Oakland and New Orleans represent our “best interests”? Or California, the entire state, which is looking more and more like Venezuela?

LIBRELLE: Um…

BERG: Yes?

LIBRELLE: You see, the problem with “best interests” is that they’ve never been tried in their truest form.

BERG: Huh. Where have I heard that before?

LIBRELLE: You haven’t.

BERG: Of course not.

(And SCENE)

Potemkin Mall

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

CM Warsame [of Minneapolis] is trying to push through an African mall on a city owned parking lot. Neighbors and businesses in the area don’t want it.
But, there is a quote from a hopeful woman- “Marian Hersi, a longtime Cedar-Riverside resident, said the idea of a new mall in her neighborhood is reviving her dream of becoming a business owner. Hersi, who grew up selling bread and tomatoes on the streets of Somalia, has been working as a janitor for Macy’s in Edina for the last 17 years. But once the mall opens, she said she wants to own a convenience store.”
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s dreams, especially someone who left horrible conditions to come to our great USA with ideas of living free and making a decent living. But, I have to here.
1- CM Warsame’s African Market isn’t about helping anyone achieve their dreams. It is politically motivated to make it difficult to drive to the community, gut out the community that is there and eventually build unaffordable housing.

“The only way to save the neighborhood is to destroy it”

2- Ms Hersi would be better off starting with a business with low overheard and working her way up if she wants her own business. There are many organizations that help people learn about small businesses. None of them are politicians.

True.

And none of them will be allowed anywhere near the “mall”, because…

3- The American dream allows janitors to move up and start businesses if one chooses, by working hard, making sacrifices, and taking risks. I have my doubts, though, that this African Market and the people involved have any intention of allowing someone like Ms Hersi a spot. 

Minneapolis is a little like Chicago in the sense that this sort of project will be filtered through some assortment of “community organizers” or another. These are people who’ve built their careers running long grifts at the expense of…

…well, everyone who’s not in the political class.

Ms. Hersi, if you get into that mall as anything but a janitor, it’ll be as temporary window-dressing.

“I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To Hinder The Wrong People”

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

Yes, thank you, CM Mitra Jalai Nelson. The city has not yet done enough to my neighborhood to prevent growth and development here.

We need to continue to run out those evil box stores and gas stations through minimum wage increases, zoning, and destroying streets to reduce people coming here to spend money. Then, we need to turn our back on the crime increases to ensure that people who possibly would invest here decide against it. Any other thoughts as to what the city could do to continue to prevent growth and development opportunities, er I mean gentrification, in our poorest neighborhoods?

Oh, make sure that it’s impossible to drive in or out, or park when you get here! And make sure transit is malevolent, expensive and keeps the peasants in their place!

Any more?

Listening to the celebration over the demise of the Midway Walmart, combined with the awkward lack of comment or facile rationaliation, about the 330 jobs, mostly for lower-income, often immigrant, workers, kinda told you everything you need to know about Ms. Jalali Nelson and the rest of the City Council.

Making Housing Affordable By Making It Unattainable

Minneapolis passed a “renter protection” ordinance last week that’ll hamstring landlords trying to do even the most basic due diligence about potential tenants:

The renter’s protection ordinance prevents landlords from using old criminal or housing records to deny applicants. Specifically, an applicant cannot be denied if they have a misdemeanor conviction older than three years, a felony record dating back seven years, and more serious offenses that occurred 10-plus years ago. Landlords also lose the use of a credit score during the screening process and there is a new cap on security deposits at one month’s rent.

I can see giving people a break on criminal records after a long-enough time keeping one’s nose clean.

On the other hand, I don’t think the City of Minneapolis is the one to plop an arbitrary figure on how long it takes a criminal to be a safe risk…

…for someone else’s investment.

Previously, property owners could look at someone’s criminal and credit history before renting to them, sometimes going back a decade. Renters said mistakes of the past should not affect their future, especially something from 10 or 20 years ago. 

In the 1960s, New York City instituted “Renter Protections” – rent control, making evictions for cause nearly impossible, onerous regulations on landlords – that caused the stock of “affordable housing” to become unsustainable; as landlords abandoned or sold out cheaper properties, housing either became unlivably awful and abandone, or sustainable but only affordable by the wealthy.

San Francisco followed suit; there is little between great wealth and grinding poverty.

Sounds like a fine plan, Minneapolis. You’re in good hands.

What Do You Call Unintended Consequences That Are Utterly Intentional?

The California State Assembly – font of most stupid at the state level in the US, these days, at least in significant states (shaddap, Connecticut) has passed, and seems ready for a signature by Governor Newsom (who is to governors what the State Assembly is – see above) a bill re-classifying independent contractors into employees.

Y’know. So they have to give them benefits.

This should work about as well as forcing up minimum wages.

Look – the “gig economy” looks like a terrible place to have to make one’s living. And it’s a shame we have a huge population of terribly educated 20-somethings who seem to have given themselves no choices but to live in it, writing listicles and proofreading resumes and sharing rides.

But the only thing worse than a crummy, exploitive job is no job at all.

Which is what a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers in California are about to have.

My Unofficial Hobby

Watching “progressives” and socialists (ptr) complaining about the inevitable results of their own policies:

Seventy years of rent control, rigid zoning, tenant-centered policy, official hostility to private landlords, and suffocating regulation “in the public interest”, and a decent lifestyle in Manhattan is unavailable for less than half a million a year?

Who’da thunk it!

It’s Gonna Be Awesome

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Germany is selling 30-year bonds with negative rates. You pay the government to hold your money, betting they’ll be willing to give back some of it, in the future.
This is like Guido saying “That’s a nice nest egg you got there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it. I’ll just hold onto it for you, you know, to protect it, like insurance.”
How is it possible that in a world of 7 billion people there are absolutely no worthwhile Investments?
I suspect it’s because people only invest when they believe there’s a reasonable prospect of getting a return in the future. And the future right now is chaotic, because all of the fundamentals – security of property, property rights, profit, order, rule of law – are being overturned by the revolutionary socialists who want to spread the wealth, your wealth.
Negative Bond. A losing investment. S***, I’ve got plenty of them. Why send my money to Germany? I can lose money right here at home.
Although now that I think about it . . . in the olden days, investors paid a premium to buy government bonds because they were safe, even though the investor would have to wait years to start making money. With a negative bond, will investors demand a discount to buy the bonds so they can start losing money sooner?
And can I bundle a bunch of negative interest bonds, then sell derivatives to investors so they could take the losses as a set-off to income and thereby reduce their income tax? Hmmm, this could be a whole new business opportunity.
Joe Doakes

The free market will eventually figure things out – provided government doesn’t throw a wrench in it all over political expediency…

…oh.

Economic Pauline Kael Syndrome

News Report:   BMW dealers in Hollywood report that import car tariffs aren’t affecting sales to their multimillionaire clients at all.  

Not a big shock, right?  The more money people have, the less price points matter to them.  

It’s Economics 101.  

Which is why “journalists” and progressives (ptr) never, ever get it. 

Remember Obama’s 2014 State of the Union?  When he praised Saint Paul’s “Punch Pizza” for paying its employees well above the minimum wage?    Of course, as I pointed out at the time, Punch is a high-end pizzeria in a posh neighborhood that aims toward a high-value clientele on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul; I wouldn’t doubt that in a neighborhood full of “living wage” activists, starting people at $10 an hour at above the minimum wage is good marketing.  But Punch Pizza is no Taco Bell; its dozen or so outlets are located in upscale areas, where people think nothing for dropping $20 for lunch  and a lot more for dinner and drinks.  It’s a tony niche retailer that gives a robust markup for an uptown dining experience.   And I’m gonna guess they an pick and choose their hires, even now, unlike the McDonalds and White Castles they’re not actually in competition with. 

I thought about that in reading this piece, claiming NYC’s $15 minimum wage is a net gain…

in the Manhattan restaurant scene:

As New York raised the minimum wage to $15 this year from $7.25 in 2013, its restaurant industry outperformed the rest of the US in job growth and expansion, a new study found.

The study, by researchers from the New School and the New York think tank National Employment Law Project, found no negative employment effects of the city increasing its minimum wage to $15.

Restaurant workers in the city saw a pay increase of 20% to 28%, representing the largest hike “for a big group of low-wage workers since the 1960s,” James Parrott, a director of economic and fiscal policies at the New School and an author of the study, told Gothamist.

While the city’s restaurant growth is likely a result of the city’s overall strong economy, the report’s findings might suggest that paying workers more won’t immediately lead to job loss or other negative business consequences as previously thought.

And when the current boom in people with disposable income tails off, the artisanal chicken will come home to their $5K a month walkups to roost.

Comrades In Caricature

When the Babylon Bee just can’t satirize things fast enough, the “Democratic Socialists” Party convention is there to fill the gap:

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) National Convention in Georgia this weekend came to a screeching halt when one delegate formally complained of “sensory overload” from “guys” whispering in the room — prompting another “comrade” to grab the microphone to angrily demand an immediate end to the use of “gendered language.”

The back-to-back moments of impassioned hypersensitivity at the gathering of the largest socialist organization in the United States led to bipartisan mockery from commentators, who compared the scene to something out of the sitcom “The Office” or the sketch comedy group Monty Python.

The stuff that’s too far out for the Babylon Bee starts around six minutes in.

“Uh, quick point of personal privilege, um guys,” began one delegate, who identified himself as James Jackson from Sacramento, and specified that he uses the “he/him” personal pronouns.

As soon as Jackson said the word “guys,” an individual in the audience could be seen becoming visibly irate in a livestream video of the convention posted online.

It could be any interminably tedious political convention, except for the suffocating PC and, of course, all the “Comrade” references.

Sick Of It All

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Legislature is considering government-funded sick leave.  The legislation is incredibly complex and detailed but this is the first I’ve heard of it.
Where’d the proposal come from?  Did an advocacy group assist in drafting it?  Who?  I seem to recall Democrats fuming because the American Legislative Exchange Council had assisted with legislation.  Who assisted with this legislation?
Aside from that, I wonder about the public policy implications.  If the government will pay my sick leave, what incentive does my employer have to offer sick leave?  None, of course.  Will this legislation cause employers to abolish sick leave the way Obama Care caused employers to abolish health insurance benefits?

Of course it will.

And administering the program will create yet more jobs for the political class, serving as a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to them.

Yet again.

Unexpected

Price hikes brought about by New York City’s new $15 minimum wage are causing some consumer heartburn.

Unexpectedly:

Some New Yorkers are displeased with one of the more predictable outcomes of a $15 minimum wage—restaurants all over the city are raising their prices, according to the New York Post.

The city’s minimum wage went up to $15 from $13 or $13.50 at the beginning of 2019, boosting the paychecks for numerous lower-wage workers.
Those who rely on restaurants regularly for their daily lunches, however, aren’t as happy.
“It’s obnoxious—kind of a slap in the face,” Starbucks patron Edward Beck told the Post. “Another increase, and I won’t come back.”
Restaurants are raising prices to adjust for the higher salaries they must pay workers. But, they’re increasingly worried about discouraging customers with too-high prices.
“[Restaurants] feel they’re getting to a point where the customer might reject the higher prices, choose a different way to eat out, or eat their own food,” said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.

“But…but, it’s from The Blaze! Your source has a point of view, and therefore is invalid!”

The same precise story is behind the lines of this story from that noted conservative tool, the Star Tribune, from last year; a local restaurant mainstay is losing customers, price point and restaurant jobs due in large part to all that social justice they’re paying for.

Cold

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Not only are electric cars mere displacement vehicles (they run on electricity generated by burning coal instead of running on gasoline so they still pollute, they simply displace the pollution to Monticello instead of Como Park), now we learn they aren’t capable of driving to Monticello and back if the weather is cold.
But not to fear.  Rep. Ilhan is working on raising your taxes to force more of us to drive less.  It’s her “stay at home and watch TV all day” doctrine.  Looking at the snow falling again this morning, actually, I’m kind of on board with that.

That’s what they’re counting on.

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!

Unexpectedly

After eight years of DFL-led bureaucratic governance and repeated ta hikes, the city of  Luverne was shocked, shocked, to find that a company decided to ditch a deal and move their expansion to South Dakota:

With groundbreaking expected this summer at the Luverne site, Tru Shrimp executives said they recently discovered a state environmental rule about water discharge that could delay construction of the facility, which it calls a harbor, by one to three years.

“Our timeline is to build a harbor in 2019,” Michael Ziebell, chief executive of Tru Shrimp, said in an interview Tuesday. With investors’ money on the line, the company couldn’t afford to wait for the discharge issue to be resolved, he said.

Unexpectedly!

The board of the Balaton, Minn.-based firm in November gave final approval for the $45 million facility on 67 acres just outside Luverne. The state of Minnesota had invested nearly $2 million to build roads and utilities to the site and Luverne, a city of about 5,000 residents, invested $600,000 in the effort.

“I’m not going to kid you, it was like a gut shot and we were blindsided by it,” Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian said. “I understand it was a business decision and they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do, but we had no previous interaction with Tru Shrimp that suggested the regulatory issue was going to be a real problem.”

Nobody expects the Minnesota regulatory inquisition!

Sharing Democracy With The Depraved

Rep Steve Scalise – who’s had more, closer contact with the depravity of the hard left than most anyone – has had enough with Alexandra Ocasio Cortez’ supporters:


There are times when I wonder why this country even tries to maintain a “union”.

Marginal Knowledge

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The New Hotness wants higher income tax rates.  The Left says it’s sensible and there’s historical precedent.
The trouble with historical precedent is picking the right precedent.  College students who drink until they vomit could point to Rome, the pinnacle of civilization at the time, where vomitoria were provided in public entertainment venues.  So that makes it alright?   No.
Similarly, picking a time when America was the world economic superpower and capital investment had nowhere else to go, doesn’t mean that high earners today would find their wages captured by higher tax rates.  Rich people are rich, they’re not stupid.  They can move to low-tax venues.  They can shelter their incomes.  They can lobby for loopholes that only they can afford. 
The only way to ensure that everybody pays their “fair share” is to fully embrace Communism:  from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  But getting ordinary people into that mental state will require a period of socialization, during which the recalcitrant, deplorable, bitter clingers are identified and sent for re-education in the far North, or sent to farm the land by hand, or buried in mass graves.  And who will decide who lives and who dies? 

But the fact that it used to be the status quo back when the US was the world’s only functional economy (with ample tax shelters provided for the fabulously wealthy, like Ocasio Cortez’s benefactors) makes it “moderate”, to Big Left.

Birds Of A Feather

I don’t believe in “guilt by association”.

On the other hand, I can sense that an off a lot of Democrats, especially in the Twin Cities, are not going to be especially mortified by this development – which would have been considered comical 30, to say nothing of 60 years ago:

published his essay last week at People’s World, a “daily news website of, for and by the 99% and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker.”” data-reactid=”23″ style=”margin: 0px 0px 1em; caret-color: rgb(38, 40, 42); color: rgb(38, 40, 42); font-family: “Helvetica Neue”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: auto; text-align: start; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: auto; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(26, 26, 26, 0.301961); -webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration: none”>

Communist Party chairman John Bachtell published his essay last week at People’s World, a “daily news website of, for and by the 99% and the direct descendant of the Daily Worker.”

“[L]abor and other key social forces are not about to leave the Democratic Party anytime soon,” Bachtell promised. “They still see Democrats as the most realistic electoral vehicle” to fight against perceived class enemies.

Bachtell, 58, is playing the long political game and he has a strategy, he said.

“First, we are part of building the broadest anti-ultra right alliance possible, uniting the widest array of class (including a section of monopoly), social and democratic forces. This necessarily means working with the Democratic Party,” the communist leader explained.

“Second, our objective is not to build the Democratic Party. At this stage we are about building the broad people’s movement led by labor that utilizes the vehicle of the Democratic Party to advance its agenda,” Bachtell further expounded. “We are about building the movements around the issues roiling wide sections of people that can help shape election contours and debates.”

“[W]e are for building movements in the electoral arena and see engagement in the electoral arena and democratic governance as a vital means to further build movements,” Bachtell also said.

But don’t you dare say the Democratic Party has moved to the left!

Better Than To Receive?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Got this in the mail.  Not going.  Annoying.

 

“Give back.”  To whom, the beneficiaries of this fundraiser?  The county bar association and the local Legal Aid office?  The phrase ‘give back’ implies I once received something of value from them, for which I did not pay on the spot.  The phrase ‘give back’ implies an obligation, a debt.  Searching my memory (insert Star Trek computer voice: “Working. Working.”).  Nope, can’t think of anything either of them ever gave me for free.  Don’t see that I have any obligation to give either of them anything in return.

“Pay it Forward.”  Cute movie, silly slogan, worse reasoning.  Somebody once did something nice for me, so that burdens me with an obligation to give money to someone else.  And lucky for me, they’ve pre-selected the people I’ll be paying, all good Liberal Democrats, no doubt.  At $85 a plate, plus having to sit through do-gooders giving each other feel-good awards to signal their virtue?  I don’t think so.  If that’s the cost of people doing nice things for me, stop doing nice things for me, I can’t afford it.

This is not an appeal for charity, it’s shaming.  I’ve been shamed enough.  I get it every day.  I’m an old White male.  We’re the bane of society.  Racists.  Sexists.  Rapists.  We didn’t build anything, we never accomplished anything, we’re oppressors who stole our ill-gotten gains and don’t deserve to keep them.  So Give Back the money or Pay it Forward to our pet programs so we can work to further shame old White men.

You know what?  That argument doesn’t motivate me to give money, doesn’t inspire my generosity.

If you want me to give you money, convince me you deserve it.  Offer programs I want to watch (Dr. Who on public television).  Give me something I want to have (salvation, from my church).  Show me you’re helping people I want to help and give me a little reward (Girl Scout cookies).  Hell, stand at the stoplight in the pouring rain holding a cardboard sign to make me feel glad I’m not you.  I keep a dozen ones in the center console for precisely those people.  But not for Legal Aid lawyers.  And not because I’ve got some fake obligation that I should be ashamed I haven’t paid.

The hardest part of establishing an entitlement is convincing those who’ll pay that you are in fact entitled to their money.

It seems MN Democrats have done a fine job of this.

 

The Racket Strikes Back

A friend of the blog writes:

It used to be people would go out for a night of fun and one person would have to be the designated driver. A majority didn’t even think to use cabs and public transit would often not run regularly enough at bar close.

Now that we have Uber and Lyft, I have heard many, many stories of people using those services when going out. I know some people who no longer drive under the influence because of the affordability of Uber.

So, of course, when people get real options that are reliable and affordable, those in the government who think their jobs are as social engineers have a problem.

Of interest locally, I found this link through a Tweet that declared Minneapolis/St Paul should consider this next. Why?

They can try to limit all they want, but there will still be people in cars and ride sharing will still happen. For example, the other day, I was approached by a man on the street who was trying to start his own ride share business, offering lower rates than Uber by about $2. I also have the number of a taxi driver who moonlights as a personal driver for those of us with his business card. He pretty much places himself on call for us.

So, yes, there will be options, which makes it even more aggravating that city governments get involved in private business that actually works for the people.

In a system built on rent-seeking, people will seek rent.

And for the government permission racket to survive, it’s gotta deliver the rent.