(SCENE:  Mitch BERG sits down at a small Vietnamese cafe on University Avenue.  He unwraps a Bahn Mi Dac Biet and is sitting down to read the newspaper when Avery LIBRELLE sits down in Mitch’s booth). 

LIBRELLE:  Hah, Merg!  The President sure pwn3d you wingnuts at his State of the Union the other night!

BERG:  Huh.  You thought so?  I thought it was a lot of pretty vapor.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  He showed you wingnuts what was what!  Especially on issues of equality!  How women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar…

BERG:  …yeah, that was bullshirt 20 years ago, when it was a matter of women taking more years off from their careers to have kids than men did.  And it still is.  Women with equal experience and records and credentials make about the same as men – within the bounds of statistical noise.

LIBRELLE:  Oh, he sure beat you up on the subject of the minimum wage!  Costco and Punch Pizza both start workers at $10 an hour!  If they can do it, anyone can!

BERG:  We talked about that yesterday.  Neither Costco nor Punch are representative of all, or even many, small businesses that employ low-skill workers…

LIBRELLE: Stop right there,you one percenter!  There is no such thing as a “low skill worker”!   Every worker’s skills have value, and every worker’s hard work is vital – indeed, more vital than the bosses!

BERG: Um, what now?

LIBRELLE:  That’s right!  Mitt Romney was frequently not at his desk at Bain Capital – but the janitors had to be there picking up the trash!  No janitors, no major deals!

BERG:  And, uh, we’ve been through that before too.  You think that if a janitor just started picking up stuff at random out on the street, it’d generate value?

LIBRELLE:  Don’t you value clean streets?

BERG:  Er, I already pay a bunch of public union workers with better pensions and insurance than I’ll ever have to do exactly that.  But let’s make sure we’re clear on this – all work is equally valuable?  So if a receptionist and a bunch of janitors sit down outside the bus station and start answering calls and cleaning things, a multi-billion dollar venture capital firm will spontaneously form around it?  Drawing billions in capital and the people who know how to negotiate its use?

LIBRELLE:  Happens all the time!

BERG:   Right.  But let’s look at the other half of your statement – the idea that all skills are useful, provided one works hard.

LIBRELLE:  They are!  All hard work must be rewarded!

BERG: All hard work?

LIBRELLE:  Yep.  The harder the work, the  more valuable it is!

BERG:  So someone who works sixty hour weeks for six months and spends half of his life on the road closing the financing for a deal that opens a factory that provides hundreds of jobs is worth the same as someone who, hypothetically, hammers rocks into smaller rocks as a form of artistic statement for sixty hours a week?

LIBRELLE:  Same?  The rock-breaker should make more!  He…

BERG: …or she…

LIBRELLE:  …of course, works very hard!  Have you ever operated a hammer?

BERG:  Sure I have.  Have you?

LIBRELLE:  The union would break my knees if I did – and I may file a grievance against you, for that matter – but I know the basic theory.  It’s hard work.  Much harder than computing spreadsheets and talking with banksters and sitting on airplanes.

BERG:  But it generates no value!

LIBRELLE:  Says you!

BERG:  Er, yeah.  Sez me!  The act of breaking rocks into smaller rocks for twelve hours a day is of no value to anyone!  It’s even a terribly inefficient way to make gravel!

LIBRELLE:  Perhaps to your bougeouis, one-percenter sensibilities!

BERG: Any rational person’s sensibilities!  I mean, here’s a test for you:  How much are you willing to pay, from your own pocket, for someone to break rocks into smaller rocks as a form of artistic statement?

LIBRELLE:  Well, Merg, that just shows how ignorant you are about economics!

BERG:  You don’t have an answer, then?

LIBRELLE:  The real question is this:  how long do you really think girls should sit in jail for having an abortion?

(Dish of pho arrives at table)

LIBRELLE:  Excuse me – I ordered pho.  What is this?  You charge $5 for a bowl of noodles with crud in it?


18 thoughts on “Value

  1. I know some guys who work for various railroads in the area. BNSF and others are killing for train crews (much of it due to oil and sand traffic). Pay is very good. Benies very very good (railroad retirement is cushy). Catch is that you are home only about 3 or 4 nights or days (often you work overnight, so you sleep during the day) a week. Work out in weather like we had earlier this week. Usually don’t know more than a couple of hours when you will be working next (dinner out with the family?, good luck with that). Dangerous? There is a reason why 92% of all workplace deaths are men.

    The job probably has…..say is 95% male, 5% (tops) female. So, all you ladies out there complaining about making only 85% of what men make, nows your chance. Go to BNSF, UP, CP web sites. What? You are looking for something indoors, 9-5, where you can leave early if you kid gets sick in school. Want to make sure you can have that girls night out Friday night? Well, then don’t complain about not making what men make.

  2. As I recall, LIBRELLE was recently seen in the Griggs building groveling for a job at a Soros fronting, non-profit.

    Did it get the job, and how much does a genderless moonbat make?

  3. Chuck; You are correct! ALL of our nation’s railroads are seeking employees as the old guard retires. My brother works for CSX in Ohio and he’s been begging my son to come to Ohio and work for him. After college, my nephew got frustrated in his attempts to land a law enforcement gig, so he finally went to work for them last year. He’s making $44K, plus OT and yup – union benefits. Here is where all of those unemployed college kids could start making enough money to start paying back their loans, plus live a pretty good life.

  4. “As your president, in the interests of sexual equality, I hereby pledge to use every means available to the federal government to increase the number of female workplace deaths until parity with male workplace deaths is achieved. I will begin with the armed forces, where female soldiers die in small numbers compared to male soldiers. If it means sending women into combat poorly trained, with malfunctioning or useless weapons, well, there is no price I am unwilling to pay if it means the dreams of our American daughters, granddaughters, and sisters can be realized.”

  5. Pow_M. I was thinking the exact thing. Here’s what I would ask The One.

    “Mr President. Right now men only have 8% of the workplace death survival rate that females have. For every 100 men who are killed on the job, only 8 women are killed. Will you pass a work-death equity law that will force all employers to have the same number of deaths for men that they now generously give to women?”

    For those who think this is over-the-top satire, this is how the Obama administration works. Cargill just paid a $2,200,000 fine because of racial discrimination at an Arkansas plant. The plant has 90% minority employment, but the Obama administration ran some demographic numbers and said the minority mix was not right. There was zero evidence of discrimination, but due to stats, Cargill was judged guilty and received a huge fine, and must now discriminate based on skin hues and ancestorial homelands when they hire.

    But hey, at least the gals working there get free birth control pills.

  6. Chuck, if the goal is wage parity, I suggest reducing the wages of men rather than raising the wages of women. More women are dependent on men for income than vice versa. This would scare the crap out of a lot of women whom Obama has led to believe that a golden payday awaits them if they check the “D” box on a ballot.

  7. To me the scary thing will be when the server at McD’s asks if I’d like the $15 fries to go with the $20 burger.

  8. Scott, there won’t be a server at McD’s. You’ll place your order on a touchpad, and a machine will grill and assemble your sandwich for you. As a bonus, you’ll also get the correct change back.

  9. Sue wants Mary to work for her. Mary wants to work for Sue. Who should determine Mary’s wages?
    A) Sue should pay Mary what she thinks is fair.
    B) Mary should be paid what she thinks is fair.
    C) Sue and Mary should negotiate a mutually acceptable wage.
    D) Barack Hussein Obama and Eric Holder should determine the wage. Any other arrangement would be unfair to women.

  10. As a bonus, you’ll also get the correct change back.

    Or, unlike the McD’s on 110 and Lexington, I’ll get the correct order more than 50% of the time.

  11. Librelle would like the wonderful economy in Cuba, where wages are limited to a maximum of $10/month. Except for the rulers, of course.

  12. “Or, unlike the McD’s on 110 and Lexington, I’ll get the correct order more than 50% of the time”

    I think that you meant the one on 110 and Dodd. Lexington has a MN Dot facility, a church and a SuperAmerica. But, you’re right about the orders!

  13. Love the comment about correct change; a pet peeve of my Mom’s back when I was in high school (mid-1980s) was that most cashiers could not count change back properly. She showed me how it was done–it took all of about 30 seconds if I remember correctly–and I remember to this day and take note of the 1% of cashiers who know how to do this. Not surprisingly, a lot of them are also “business owners”.

    Maybe a deal for those who aren’t paid well. Learn your arithmetic well enough to count back change, and you’ll get a raise to $10.10 per hour–or, more likely, a lot more than that.

  14. Nerdbert, silly boy they all have college educations and its free, who cares what they make

  15. An important feature of the American labor force is the huge range between the best and least qualified workers. While the best workers are highly educated and highly productive, the worst are unemployable at a legal wage. The taxes and benefits that are mandated by government or by normal practice in an industry (health care being the big one) make the minimum cost of a worker much higher than the minimum wage in practice. America is the home of both the highly productive, overburdened worker, and also the lay-about who has not worked a productive hour in his life. The number of Americans who are incapable of productive work continues to grow due to poor public education systems in poor parts of the country, family breakdown coupled with a weak safety net, and a lack of effective training programs for low skilled adults. The population of the unemployable continues to grow as smart machines become more capable and general productivity levels continue to rise.

  16. “The number of Americans who are incapable of productive work continues to grow due to …family breakdown coupled with a weak safety net”

    Holy crap.

  17. Emery, it should be noted that the reason we have family breakdown to the extent we do is because of that “weak” safety net. Moynihan warned about this just a few years ago in 1965. Since we haven’t taken action on this, I’m assuming that the “weak” safety net is doing exactly what its architects intended it to do; to generate generations of people dependent on the government who will reliably vote Democratic.

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