Is Chicago the Next Detroit?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2014

Week in Review

Another big American city is having ‘Detroit’ problems.  And may soon follow Detroit down the Road to Serfdom.  The warning signs are all there.  But will this big American city—Chicago—listen?  Well, Chicago like Detroit is a big Democrat city.  So, no.  They will not heed the warning signs.  And will make things even worse by going more ‘Detroit’ (see Chicago Votes to Go the Way of Detroit by Michael Auslin posted 2/6/2014 on National Review).

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is increasingly a textbook example of how far the Democratic party has moved to the left since Bill Clinton’s day.

Emanuel, who cut his teeth in Clinton’s administration, just presided over a $1.9 billion increase in Chicago’s debt, only months after Moody’s downgraded the city’s bond ratings three notches based on its growing and unsustainable spending and debt obligations…

Old-line Democratic cities, it seems, have learned nothing from Detroit’s collapse. Wishful thinking, ignorance of the parallels, and misleading excuses are the common defenses trotted out by city administrators who have no intention of having to deal with the mess they have either made or worsened. Indeed, Emanuel explicitly rejected the Detroit comparison, arguing that, unlike the Motor City, which was fatally dependent on the auto industry, Chicago has “an extremely diverse economy where no one sector is more than 13 percent of the employment.”

That may be true now, but surely Emanuel knows that Illinois’s and Chicago’s high tax rates are causing a business exodus. The Chicago Tribune recently highlighted ten major companies threatening to leave Illinois and the Chicago area, including the Chicago Board of Trade, U.S. Cellular, and CME Group, the world’s biggest futures exchange company. Part of Chicago’s problem is being stuck in Illinois, which has the country’s third-highest unemployment rate, a dysfunctional state government, and crippling taxes that have led over 30 companies to cross over the state line to Indiana recently. But Chicago’s own borrowing and profligate pension promises will continue to eat away at its credit rating and desirability of doing business there. All this will help hollow out the city and its tax base, and eventually could lead to an all-too-familiar downward spiral once the productive elements of the city decide the benefits of staying don’t outweigh the costs of moving.

Of course the reason why Emanuel is throwing Chicago into this black hole of debt is because he is a Democrat.  And that’s how Democrats win elections.  By buying votes.  With a lot of good-paying jobs in the public sector.  Jobs with generous benefits.  Especially in retirement.  Thanks to profligate pension promises.  Requiring a large portion of city taxes to go to pay these underfunded pension obligations.  That are so underfunded they need to borrow money in addition to those high taxes to meet those pension obligations.

This is exactly what happened in Detroit.  The massive cost of their public sector became harder and harder to pay for.  So they began to fleece businesses as much as they could.  With higher taxes, fines, fees, regulations, etc.  Which only chased businesses out.  Making their problem worse.  For they never cut their spending.  Even though half of their tax base had disappeared they still tried to spend as if their tax base never shrunk from its high in the Sixties.  And we see where that led to.  Bankruptcy.  Something Chicago is now flirting with.  And a fate they will share if they don’t cut back their spending to what they can support without fleecing businesses out of the city.

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Women to Serve in Combat despite having Lower Physical Standards and Private Rectal Exams in Training

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2014

Week in Review

Women are just as capable as men in combat.  According to people who say women should be allowed into combat roles so it doesn’t limit their chances for promotion.  Which would be all right if they went through the same training as men did.  But they’re not.  The Marines have lowered their physical requirements for women entering combat roles (see The Marines have Lower Physical Requirements for Women they’re Integrating into Combat posted 1/5/2014 on PITHOCREATES).  And the service academies have lowered physical standard for female cadets (see Lower Standards for Women in Service Academies may play Role in Sexual Harassment and Assault posted 1/12/2014 on PITHOCRATES).  This unfairness to men even extends to the military physical exam (see Men, Manliness, and Being Naked Around Other Men by Richard Senelick posted 2/3/2014 on The Atlantic).

I was already in medical school when I took my military entrance physical for the doctor draft. It was high school all over again. Grown men of different shapes and sizes, lined up to be poked and prodded. No one ever forgets being told to “bend over and grab your ankles.” With the increasing number of women in the military, I decided to research the current military physical exam. The article contains a section, “For Women Only,” where it proudly states that, “your visit with the physician will be in a private room.” Not so for the men, apparently. Six paragraphs down under a section titled “Do”, it says “Wear normal underwear. You will be sorry if you don’t!” Once again, a man’s modesty is a joke.

Why can’t women line up in their underwear, bend over and grab their ankles like the men do?  Are they too dainty to have a rectal exam in front of other women.  Like the men have to?  If so perhaps they are too dainty for combat.

Part of the reason for this public humiliation in training is because of the lack of modesty in combat.  If you have to poop during an artillery barrage and you’re hunkered down in your foxhole guess where you’re going to poop?  In your foxhole.  Even if there is another soldier or Marine in it with you.  You may try to defecate in your helmet and dump it outside your foxhole.  If you want to risk getting your arm blown off.  And you’re probably not.  So when you feel the call of nature you are going to drop trou, squat and poop while close up and personal with someone else.  With that poop remaining in you foxhole with you and your buddy.  And the thinking is if you lose all modesty in basic training you’ll have no problem pooping while hunkering down in a foxhole with someone else.  Or doing other unpleasant and/or embarrassing things.

Will a female soldier or Marine who has her basic training rectal exam in a private room be able to do this?  Or does she think she’s just going to hold it in until she gets to a proper bathroom off the line?  Either women and men meet the same standards.  Or they should not serve together in combat.  For the enemy only makes one type of war.  Not one for men.  And another less strenuous and more modest one for women.

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Obamacare will require more Tax Revenue just as it Shrinks the Tax Base

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2014

Week in Review

President Obama’s economic policies have given us the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  With some of the greatest economic carnage coming from the Affordable Care Act.  Obamacare.  The great hiring dissuader.  Because of the high cost of compliance for employers.  And now people will even be choosing to leave the labor force.  For it will be less costly for them not to work and collect subsidies for their costly Obamacare (see Obamacare will push 2 million workers out of labor market: CBO by Stephen Dinan posted 2/4/2014 on The Washington Times).

Obamacare will push the equivalent of about 2 million workers out of the labor market by 2017 as employees decide either to work fewer hours or drop out of the job market altogether, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office.

The analysis set off a furious debate in Washington. The White House argued that the reduction is positive because it means Americans will forgo jobs or extra work to stay home with their children or strike out on their own as entrepreneurs…

“This is one of the perverse incentives in this terrible law. It actually encourages able-bodied people to not work,” said Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican. “We should be doing all that we can to increase labor force participation. The health care law actually pushes it in the opposite direction.”

Taking the budget as a whole, the CBO said Congress has made substantial headway on cutting spending and raising taxes, which will reduce the deficit to $514 billion this year and $478 billion in 2015.

But it will rise by 2016 and steadily grow to more than $1 trillion in 2022.

If these people choose not to work and become entrepreneurs who will they hire if others like them choose to leave the labor force?

People choosing not to work is a very bad thing for a big-spending government.  Because government taxes workers to pay for all of that spending.  And if people are leaving the workforce leaving fewer workers in the workforce to pay the taxes government needs that can mean only one thing.  Higher taxes on those with jobs.  To help offset the loss in tax revenue as people leave the labor force to spend time with their kids.  Or become entrepreneurs.

Of course anyone becoming an entrepreneur in this economic climate is a glutton for punishment.  For President Obama has created a very anti-business environment.  Higher taxes, more costly regulatory policies and lest we forget, the Affordable Care Act.  To quote Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies when he asked cousin Pearle if he should move to Beverly Hills after discovering oil on his property.

COUSIN PEARL BODINE

Jed, how can you even ask? Look around you. You live eight miles from your nearest neighbor. You’re overrun with skunks, possums, coyotes, and bobcats. You use kerosene lamps for light. You cook on a wood stove, summer and winter. You’re drinkin’ homemade moonshine, and washin’ with homemade lye soap. And your bathroom is fifty feet from the house. And you ask should you move!?

JED CLAMPETT

Yeah, I reckon you’re right. Man’d be a dang fool to leave all this.

This is how a lot of people feel today about the Obama economy.  “Man’d be a dang fool to” try and be an entrepreneur in this economy.  Especially with the Obamacare Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.  So those 2 million people plus leaving the economy is not a good thing.  It is a very bad thing.  Which will require some large tax increases.  Or massive cuts in government benefits.  Because federal tax revenue will fall if people leave the tax base.  It’s just that simple.

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Henry Ford built a Strong Middle Class with Nonunion Labor

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2014

Week in Review

President Obama’s new message is the horror of income inequality.  As his friends on Wall Street and in Hollywood make so much more money than the ‘folks’ do.  Of course, if it weren’t for his abysmal economic policies the ‘folks’ would be able to get a better-paying job.  Since he’s been president his policies have destroyed some 11,301,000 jobs (see The BLS Employment Situation Summary for December 2013 posted 1/13/2014 on PITHOCRATES).  The Affordable Care Act, new taxation, costly regulatory policies and his support for union labor all help to kill jobs.  Forcing a lot of people to work a couple of low-paying part-time jobs to pay the bills.  While his friends on Wall Street and in Hollywood have never been richer.

The economy wouldn’t as bad as it is if President Obama didn’t attack business so much.  And, instead, embraced it.  Like Henry Ford (see The Internet Is the Greatest Legal Facilitator of Inequality in Human History by Bill Davidow posted 1/28/2014 on The Atlantic).

In the past, the most efficient businesses created lots of middle class jobs. In 1914, Henry Ford shocked the industrial world by doubling the pay of assembly line workers to $5 a day. Ford wasn’t merely being generous. He helped to create the middle class, by reasoning that a higher paid workforce would be able them to buy more cars and thus would grow his business.

Yes, Henry Ford did want to pay people enough so they could afford to buy his cars.  But this did something else.  It attracted the best workers to his company.  Because of the incentive of the higher pay.  And if they were lucky enough to have gotten hired in they busted their butts so they could keep those high-paying jobs.  It was a meritocracy.  If a worker wasn’t performing they got rid of that worker.  And offered that job to another person willing to bust their butt to keep that job.

Of course, the unions changed all of that.  The Keynesians will point to Ford to justify their consumption policies (putting more money into consumers’ pockets as the be-all and end-all of their economic policies).  And NOT on how attracting the best workers with the best pay helped make Ford the most efficient.  Allowing Ford to produce cars at prices working people could afford.  Once the unions came in they decreased efficiencies.  Slowed down those assembly lines.  And raised the cost of cars.  So only unionized working people could afford them.  While most other working people had to settle on used cars.  Unless they had a relative that worked for one of the automotive companies that could give them a car at an automotive worker’s discounted price.

Surprisingly, the much-vilified Walmart probably does more to help middle class families raise their median income than the more productive Amazon. Walmart hires about one employee for every $200,000 in sales, which translates to roughly three times more jobs per dollar of sales than Amazon.

Why do some vilify Wal-Mart?  Because like Henry Ford was in the beginning they are nonunion.  Helping them not only to hire the best workers but to provide goods at a lower price so those not in a union can afford to buy them.  So Wal-Mart helps middle class families in two ways.  They help to raise the median family income.  And they allow that median family income go further.  Perhaps the greatest weapon in the arsenal to fight income inequality.  As they help those not in privileged jobs (such as a UAW job or a government job) to live as well as someone in those privileged jobs.

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The Earth has been Warmer and Cooler before Man created his First Carbon Emission

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 9th, 2014

Week in Review

The left likes to attack religion.  Pointing out how those in power created all religions.  To control the people.  And to increase their power.  They note that these religions are not based in scientific fact.  But on faith.  And silly superstitions.  Not intelligent thought.  Which is why the left attacks religion.  To free people from these silly superstitions.  So they can control the people with their own silly superstitions and faith (see I Spent 28 Hours on a Bus. I Loved It. by Eric Holthaus posted 2/4/2014 on Slate).

For the first time, 195 nations backed a consensus statement saying that humanity is “extremely likely” (greater than 95 percent confidence) to be the dominant cause. That’s about the same confidence doctors have that smoking causes cancer…

That means we have no choice but to change our collective path right now.

There is no such thing as consensus in science.  We don’t take votes in science.  We use the scientific method.  And here’s how Merriam-Webster defines the scientific method:

principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses

Do you see anything about taking votes and forming a consensus?  No.  Because it’s not science when you take votes and form a consensus.  When empirical data and experimentation uphold a hypothesis what does that mean?  It means we haven’t disproved that hypothesis yet.  It doesn’t mean that hypothesis is a scientific fact.  It just means someone hasn’t come around to disprove it yet.

We don’t know what killed off the dinosaurs yet.  We have many hypotheses.  A massive meteorite hit the earth.  A period of volatile volcanic activity.  Continental drift cooled the planet.  Dinosaur flatulence warmed the planet.  Aliens killed them.  Or took them away.  There are many theories.  But no one knows for sure what happened.  And scientists haven’t taken a vote to settle the matter once and for all.  They are still working to figure that out.  Because that’s the scientific method.  Whereas the theory of global warming (let’s call it what it was before their warming predictions were proven wrong and they opted to use climate change) is the only ‘science’ the left wants us to accept as settled science.  Without any further inquiry.  And they even belittle anyone who believes in the scientific method as climate change deniers.  Because we don’t pray at the altar of global warming.  Turning our world over to those who want to regulate every aspect of our lives.

Climate was around a lot longer than dinosaurs.  Yet while we can only make educated hypotheses on what happened to the dinosaurs we can supposedly understand fully something that predates the dinosaurs.  Which is preposterous to say the least.  In the Seventies they were warning us about global cooling.  Then in the Nineties they were warning us about global warming.  Without ever saying that they were wrong when they said the planet was cooling.  Or why we should believe them now when they were wrong before.  And not just a little wrong.  They were the most wrong possible.  Changing from one extreme (cooling) to the other extreme (warming).

Climate doesn’t only predate the dinosaurs.  It also predates man.  And there was a lot of climate activity going on long before man created his first carbon emission.  Once upon a time there were no polar icecaps.  Then at another time glaciers reached down from the polar regions to near the equator.  These extremes happened long before the internal combustion engine.  Or the coal-fired power plant.  In fact, these things happened when there were no manmade carbon emissions.  So what caused these climate extremes that were much more extreme than the climate of today?  Whatever it was we do know one thing.  Man did not cause them.  Just as he is not causing global warming today.  For it may come a shock to liberals but man is not bigger than climate.  Climate is bigger than man.  And it can bring on another ice age and kill us in droves.

If you live in a northern clime look out your window at that snow and ice covering the ground.  Now ask yourself this.  How much food do you think our farmers could grow if their fields were covered with snow and ice all year round?  Or if the temperatures never rose enough to warm the wet soil enough to allow seeds to germinate?  None. That’s how much.  We can irrigate land during a summer drought.  But there will be nothing we can do to warm and dry the soil enough to grow food.  Which means the climate doomsayers were right in the Seventies.  Global cooling is the greater threat.  Not warming.  And anyone worried about manmade global warming should ask the climate ‘scientists’ to explain how the polar icecaps could melt, glaciers could extend down from the polar regions to the equator and then recede back to the polar regions without any manmade global warming around to cause this climate change.  And if they can explain how with a straight face than perhaps we should listen to them.  But not until then.

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