A ‘Living’ Wage would probably push Quiznos into Bankruptcy Court

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 7th, 2013

Week in Review

Minimum wage workers just picketed for a ‘living’ wage.  Wanting $15/ hour.  About twice what many are making now.  For they believe that the fast food restaurants they work at are getting rich off of their unskilled labor.  And they want a piece of the profits they’re making.  And they’ll cite the profits of, say, McDonald’s and say they can afford to pay their workers more.  But the thing is, most of those McDonald’s stores are independent franchises.  And the fact that McDonald’s may be making the big bucks it doesn’t mean their franchisees are.

Owning a franchise is a way to own a restaurant without having to spend money on marketing.  And you don’t have to create a menu.  In fact, when you buy a franchise it pretty much comes with an operating manual.  Something most other restaurants don’t come with.  Which is why restaurants are the number one business to fail.  Because running a restaurant is hard.  Even a franchise (see Crisis Quickens at Quiznos by Julie Jargon, The Wall Street Journal, posted 12/6/2013 on Yahoo! Finance).

The once-booming sandwich chain Quiznos is stumbling two years into a major turnaround effort, prompting the company to seek concessions from creditors owed nearly $600 million.

The Denver-based chain, known formally as QIP Holder LLC, has struggled with store closures and tension with franchisees. It recently missed a payment on a loan, and has been negotiating to restructure some or all of its debt load with creditors, who have hired bankers and lawyers, people familiar with the matter said…

Quiznos…shrank to about 3,000 stores world-wide two years ago, and to around 2,100 today, including roughly 1,500 stores in the U.S., people familiar with the matter said. Hundreds of the U.S. stores are underperforming and could close in the next year, some of these people said…

Franchisees long have complained that Quiznos requires them to buy food and other supplies from a Quiznos subsidiary, which they allege charges more than what they would pay to purchase those goods themselves.

To address franchisees’ concerns, current management decreased costs for food and supplies this summer, a person close to the company said. Quiznos reviews food and supply purchases annually to compare market prices, and shares results with franchisees, this person added.

Current and former franchisees said high costs ate into stores’ profitability, causing many to close. With fewer stores contributing to an advertising fund, the chain had fewer resources to promote new products, hurting sales, which resulted in more store closures, they said.

“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Brian Peticolas, who owns a Quiznos in Alton, Ill. “I almost closed my store five months ago, but I didn’t have any other prospects so I kept the doors open.”

Mr. Peticolas said his store averages $5,000 a week in sales, down from $7,000 a week three years ago. He estimates the restaurant is losing up to $300 a week.

Owning a franchise is a lot easier than trying to open and run your own restaurant.  Because it comes with the menu, the restaurant layout, a list of the equipment you’ll need, an ‘operating manual’ that tells you everything you need to do, etc.  New items are researched and developed.  Then marketed.  And everything you need to sell is shipped to your store.  But this comes at a price.  The franchise fee.  And in the case of Quiznos, owning a costly supply chain.

Pizzerias and sub shops are some of the most competitive businesses.  Most are forced to sell ‘a low price’ because of the great competition.  But when you lower your price you hurt your ability to introduce and market new items.  To get an advantage over your competition.  But if you raise your franchise fee or your food/supply costs to your franchisees you will make it impossible for them to operate at a profit.  Causing store closures.  Which makes it even harder to introduce and market new items.  As the one store owner said, it is a vicious cycle.  That usually ends in bankruptcy court.  Or in an out of court settlement with your creditors.

There is only one thing that can make all of this worse.  Higher wages.  Which will only accelerate franchise closings.  And the trip to bankruptcy court.  Of course the people picketing won’t believe this.  Until the store they work at closes.  Which will most likely happen if they raise the minimum wage to a ‘living’ wage.  Especially at these Quiznos franchises.  Which are struggling to stay out of bankruptcy court.  And will probably lose that struggle.  Even if the minimum wage isn’t raised to a ‘living’ wage.

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Eating Healthy is More Expensive than Eating Fast Food

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 7th, 2013

Week in Review

Fast food workers recently picketed to raise the minimum wage. To a ‘living’ wage.  Saying they can’t afford to live without a ‘living’ wage.  Even though they have been ‘living’ on the wages they have now.  For however low their wages may be they have been able to put food on the table.  In large part because of fast food.  Because of those low wages.  Making fast food a great value for the money.  Of course if they raised everyone’s wages they would have to raise the price of their food to cover the higher labor cost.  Making fast food less of a value for the money.  Raising the prices such that some families will have no choice but to buy less.  And go hungry more often.

It may not be the healthiest food out there.  But it is the most affordable food out there.  Allowing people to eat until they’re full and then some.  But there are some who want to raise the cost of fast food.  Such as those picketing minimum wage workers.  And Canadians concerned about healthy diets (see Eating healthy adds $2,000 a year to family grocery bill by CBC News posted 12/5/2013 on CBC).

A family on a healthy diet can expect to pay $2,000 more a year for food than one having less nutritious meals, say researchers who recommend that the cost gap be closed…

“Our results indicate that lowering the price of healthier diet patterns — on average about $1.50/day more expensive — should be a goal of public health and policy efforts, and some studies suggest that this intervention can indeed reduce consumption of unhealthy foods,” Dariush Mozaffarian, the study’s senior author and a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and his co-authors concluded.

Eating a healthier diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts would increase food costs for one person by about $550 a year, the researchers said. Diets rich in processed foods, meats and refined grains were considered unhealthy…

Previously, Mozaffarian’s team suggested taxing less healthy foods together with subsidies for healthier foods would balance price differences.

Does anyone see the failed logic in this taxing scheme?  Poorer people tend to eat fast food and richer people tend to eat the healthier fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts.  So they are advocating raising the taxes on the poorer to make the food of the richer less costly.  In hopes of getting the poorer to eat the food of the richer.  But if they do just who will pay the tax on the bad food to subsidize the good food?  On the one hand the poorest people will pay more for their food.  On the other hand if the taxing scheme works the source of the subsidies will vanish.  Either way this taxing scheme will force the poorer to pay more for their food.  Or it will simply require higher taxes to replace the lost subsidies.  Which is Canada’s problem in the first place.

Why are people struggling to buy food?  Because of high taxes.  And a weakened economy those higher taxes bring about.  For adding a ‘bad food’ tax on fast food will surely reduce sales.  As is the goal.  But with fewer sales you need fewer people.  So some people will lose their job.

If you want people to eat healthier just let them get a decent job so they can afford to.  Cut taxes and regulations to spur economic activity.  Let the demand for workers increase.  Which will increase wages.  And make it easier for everyone to put healthier fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts on the table.

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FT186: “Liberals are so bad at economics because they had no one in their lives to undo the bad education they got.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 6th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Minimum-Wage Workers in Fast-Food and at Wal-Mart want a Living Wage for their Minimum-Wage Jobs

Wal-Mart workers are now demanding a living wage.  (Or people hired to protest the company the left loves to attack.)  Awhile back it was the fast-food workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage.  So they could have a living wage.  Because they can’t raise their families with a minimum wage job.  So they want a pay rate beyond the pay rate of a minimum wage job.

So how much is earning $15/hour?  Well, if you work full-time and get the usual (2 weeks of vacation and holiday pay) that comes to 2080 (40 hours/week X 52 weeks/year) payroll hours a year.  At $15/hour that comes to $31,200 annually.  Which is the ‘living wage’ the fast-food workers want.  And no wonder.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (see May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates) here are some other jobs that pay around $31,200 annually with what they do as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Medical Assistants (Perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician).  Medical Equipment Preparers (Prepare, sterilize, install, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment).  Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians (Cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters).  Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation (Mix or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical application on trees, shrubs, lawns, or botanical crops. Usually requires specific training and State or Federal certification).  Pharmacy Technicians (Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders).  Phlebotomists (Draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, or research. May explain the procedure to patients and assist in the recovery of patients with adverse reactions).  And Substitute Teachers (Teach students in a public or private school when the regular teacher is unavailable).

Some have worked Two or More Fast-Food/Retail Jobs so they could get the Education and Skills for a Higher-Paying Job

These are not entry-level jobs.  You just can’t walk in when you’re still a high school student, fill out an application and expect to get hired in any of these jobs.  They all take training/education beyond high school.  And require a license or certification.  Which requires an investment of time and money to get.  Usually including night school at the least.  And more often at least 2 years of college.  None of which is required for a minimum wage job.

So it’s no wonder people with minimum wage jobs want a pay rate that is beyond their skill-set.  Who wouldn’t?  Wouldn’t you want to get that higher pay without putting in that schooling?  That investment of time and money?  Things you probably can’t even do if you’re raising a family on a minimum wage job.  Or two.  But does that mean we should just pay these people more?  Would that be fair to the Medical Assistants, Medical Equipment Preparers, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians, Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomists and Substitute Teachers?

No.  It wouldn’t be fair to them.  For they would have made great sacrifices in their life to get those better paying jobs.  Because that is how you get a better-paying job.  In fact, some may have worked two or more fast-food/retail (such as Wal-Mart) jobs so they could get the education and skills these jobs required.  A lot of people working in fast-food/retail today may be doing the same thing.  For fast-food and retail offer two great things that allow these people to acquire these skills.  They will hire people without any skills (i.e., entry-level workers).  And fast-food and retail have many working schedules available.  Allowing single-parents to work when they have other arrangements for their children (school, daycare, parents, etc.).

The Hippies of the Sixties became Professors and then Moved on to Write the Curriculum

Instead of protesting fast-food and Wal-Mart we should be happy that at least someone in this horrible economy is actually hiring people when so few others are.  As President Obama’s economic policies have made such an anti-business environment.  The economy is so bad that just this past month another 516,000 have left the labor force (see Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age).  Which is the only reason why the unemployment rate fell.  Because of discouraged workers who couldn’t find a job just quit looking for a job.  But the government puts a positive spin on this by lauding the 169,000 new jobs the economy created.  Saying it’s further proof that President Obama’s economic policies are working.  Despite 516,000 who quit looking for jobs that are just not there.

If people are unhappy with their low-paying jobs in fast-food and retail they should be more upset about this economic destruction being waged by the Obama administration.  Which is the reason why fast-food and retail are the only businesses hiring today.  But there is no outrage.  Why?  Because most don’t understand economics.  And there is a reason why most people don’t.  It’s because of our education system.  Which the left has taken over.  Who write a curriculum that teaches students that capitalism and profits are unfair and bad while government and income redistribution so the rich pay their fair share is good.  And just.

A professor at Michigan State is the latest professor to illustrate the indoctrination of our young going on at our public schools and colleges.  Parents had to deal with their kids coming home from high school to hear how they were killing the polar bears because they drive cars.  But when these kids go to college this is the kind of stuff they encounter on a daily basis.  And he’s not the worst offender.  The worst offenders are those who don’t say outrageous things.  But who do it more subtly.  A smile, a smirk, a condescending remark—things that tell a young impressionable mind out from under their parents’ control for the first time that their parents were wrong.  Unless their parents were liberal.  They will believe almost anything these professors say.  Because they are very smart and must know far more than their parents.  And they treat these kids like adults.  And there is nothing that high school/college kids want more.  To be grown up.  It’s why they smoke cigarettes.  And have sex.  Because that’s what grownups do.

So is it any wonder that people have a poor understanding of economics?  Ever since the hippies of the Sixties couldn’t change the country from the outside they became professors to change it from the inside.  And then moved on to write the curriculum.  These people who hated capitalism.  And admired communism.  Which is why so many of them lived in communes in the Sixties.  These are the people writing the curriculum for our children.  Making sure our education system creates like-minded people.  To keep them voting Democrat until wisdom and experience opens their eyes.  And undoes the bad education they got.  This is why people think that it’s fair to pay minimum wage workers the same as Medical Assistants, Medical Equipment Preparers, Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians, Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation, Pharmacy Technicians, Phlebotomists and Substitute Teachers.  Just to see how pervasive this indoctrination of our children is—and why people keep voting for those who keep trying the failed economic policies of the past—we should put a webcam in every classroom and lecture hall.  So parents—and the rest of America—can see the liberal dogma being fed to the young.  Making them think, and vote, the way they do.  Then we’ll know whether these are isolated incidences.  Or that it is in fact pervasive.  Explaining why so many people today have no understanding of economics.  That minimum-wage jobs are entry-level jobs.  And that if you want to raise a family you probably shouldn’t be voting Democrat.  Whose policies are making the only available jobs in this horrible economy those entry-level jobs.

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How a 12-Year Old Canadian and U.S. Unions see Business Differently

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 12th, 2013

Week in Review

Advancing technology has greatly increased productivity.  Allowing fewer workers to do what workers a generation earlier did.  Causing our workforce to age.  Fewer workers are entering the workforce than are leaving it.  And costly union contracts paying pensions and health care to those who have left the workforce has decimated union membership.  For the costs they place on business have made these businesses uncompetitive in the market place.  Chasing manufacturing jobs out of the country.  Leaving union membership in the private sector at its lowest rates since the heyday of the labor movement.  To understand why let’s take a business lesson from the Canadians.  Who are trying to encourage their kids to become entrepreneurs.  Unlike in America.  Where business and profits have become a 4-letter word (see Canadian entrepreneurs: Born or made? by BARRIE McKENNA posted 5/10/2013 on The Globe and Mail).

[Entrepreneurial Adventure] pairs students with local business people to create a business, design a product, sell it and then give the profits to charity.

Why?

Evidence suggests Canada suffers from a weak entrepreneurial culture. While it’s relatively easy to start a company, the record of turning start-ups into fast-growing and successful enterprises is less convincing.

A 2010 study by Industry Canada…

… found that Canada generates a lower proportion of fast-growing companies than other developed countries, that relatively few small companies export and that the age profile of business owners is getting older…

Many business schools, including McGill University and the University of Toronto, now offer special entrepreneurship programs.

This is a problem.  For the number one job creator in any free market economy are small business owners.  People who go into business for themselves.  Taking great risk.  And hiring people as they grow.  This is the entrepreneurial spirit.  People who start out small.  And become someone like Steve Jobs.  Most people don’t understand the entrepreneurial process.  And the importance of having a business-friendly environment to encourage entrepreneurialism.  To create jobs.  To grow a healthy economy.  Creating new products that make our lives better.  And to do that one of the first things an entrepreneur must learn is what this 12-year-old learned.

“Some things work and some don’t,” acknowledged Alim Dhanani, 12, who worked on project management and Web design for the company. “To sell something, you have to have the right price. Not too small, so you have a profit, but not too big, so people will buy it.”

A 12-year-old can understand this.  The role of prices in the economy.  They have to be high enough to pay the bills.  But low enough to encourage people to buy from you.  Often times it’s not a matter of a business owner determining the price he or she wishes to charge.  They have to figure out how to pay their bills (and earn a profit) at the prevailing market price.  Something labor unions don’t understand.  Or they simply don’t care (see Fast-food workers in Detroit walk off job, disrupt business by Steve Neavling and Lisa Baertlein posted 5/10/2013 on Reuters).

Hundreds of fast-food employees in Detroit walked off the job on Friday, temporarily shuttering a handful of outlets as part of a growing U.S. worker movement that is demanding higher wages for flipping burgers and operating fryers.

The protests in the Motor City – which is struggling to recover from the hollowing out of its auto manufacturing sector – marked an expansion in organized actions by fast-food workers from ubiquitous chains owned by McDonald’s Corp, Burger King Worldwide and KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut parent Yum Brands Inc.

Fast-food workers, who already have taken to the streets in New York, Chicago and St. Louis, are seeking to roughly double their hourly pay to $15 per hour from around minimum wage, which in Michigan is $7.40 per hour…

“People can’t make a living at $7.40 a hour,” said Rev. Charles Williams II, a protest organizer. “Many of them have babies and children to raise, and they can’t get by with these kind of wages.”

Those workers face high hurdles in their fight for better pay. Low-wage, low-skill workers lack political clout and face significantly higher unemployment than college graduates…

The Detroit action was put together by the Michigan Workers Organizing Committee, an independent union of fast-food workers, that is supported by community, labor and faith-based groups such as the Interfaith Coalition of Pastors, UFCW Local 876, SEIU Healthcare Michigan and Good Jobs Now.

The unions want to do to fast-food what they did to the automotive industry.  In this case the union basically gave unskilled workers the wages and benefits of skilled workers.  Sounds great if you’re an unskilled worker.  But the UAW priced the U.S. auto manufacturers out of the market.  The Big Three are a shell of what they used to be.  With both General Motors and Chrysler requiring taxpayer bailouts to avoid bankruptcy.  And pay for their crushing pension and health care cost obligations.  For GM was paying for more people not working than they were paying to work.  Even a 12-year-old can understand that this is a business model that just won’t work.

So what will happen in fast-food restaurants if you raise the labor wage from $7.40 per hour to $15 per hour?  That’s a labor cost increase of 103%.  In the restaurant business the rule of thumb for calculating your selling prices is as follows.  You calculate your food cost then triple it.  For in general one third of a menu price goes to food.  One third goes to labor.  And one third goes to overhead (utilities, rent, insurance, etc.) and profit.  Now let’s take a typical combination meal (sandwich, fries and beverage) price of $7.50.  One third of this price is $2.48 which represents the labor portion of the price.  The increase in labor is 103%.  So we take 103% of the $2.48 ($2.54) and add it to $7.50 to get the new selling price of the combo meal.  Bringing it to $10.04.

What will customers do?  Now that the combo meal will cost $2.54 more will they just continue to eat fast-food like they once did?  Will they stop adding an extra item from the dollar menu?  Will they just buy a burger and eat it with a beverage from home?  Will they just buy from the dollar menu instead of buying combos?  Of course, with the increase in labor costs that dollar menu will have to become the $2.03 menu.  Will people stop going to fast-food as often as they once did?  Some may decide that if they’re paying for a $6 hamburger the may go to a diner or bar for a $6 hamburger.  Worried about the lost business would fast-food owners try to cut their costs elsewhere to try to continue to sell fast-food at the market price?  By hiring fewer people?  Pushing current workers to part-time so they don’t have to give them costly health insurance?  Or will they just close their restaurant.  As people just won’t pay fancy restaurant prices for fast-food.

That 12-year-old in Canada would understand how the higher labor costs would affect business.  Causing changes in buying habits.  And changes in business practices.  He would not start up a fast-food franchise if labor prices were 103% higher than they are now.  For he would have to raise prices high enough to pay the bills.  But when he did they might be too high to get people to come in and buy food.  Causing a fall in business.  And a loss in revenue.  Making it more difficult to pay the bills.  That 12-year-old would see this as bad business.  Because he understands that a business owner can’t charge whatever he wants to charge.  He has to figure out how to stay in business while selling at the prevailing market price.  And though he may love fast-food he knows that his allowance won’t be able to buy as much as it once did.  So he would reduce his purchases at fast-food restaurants.  Just as his father will probably take the family out less often because of the higher prices.  Just as single mothers struggling to pay their household bills will, too.  But the unions don’t understand this.  Or simply choose not to.  Instead they just tell the workers that their employers are greedy.

It’s a sad day when a 12-year-old has better business sense than our unions.  Then again if unions cared about business they wouldn’t have bankrupted two of the Big Three.

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The Current Economic Recovery is so Bad that Fast Food Restaurants have to Increase their Dollar Menu Offerings

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2013

Week in Review

While the Obama administration, their economists and those in the mainstream media celebrate job creation month after month the official unemployment rate (U-3) remains at 7.8%.  Worse, the better gauge of how awful the economy is, the U-6 unemployment rate, is holding steady at 14.4%.  Which says a lot about the horrible economic policies of the Obama administration.  But these numbers still seem a little abstract to most.  So here is a summary of the current economic climate most people will be able to understand.  At least, if they eat at fast food restaurants (see Wendy’s Doubles Down on Dollar Menu by Martha C. White posted 1/3/2013 on Time).

Although it bumped Burger King out of second place by positioning itself as a more upscale fast-food burger chain, now Wendy’s is supersizing its value menu by adding a second tier of under-$2 items in addition to a core group of 99¢ offerings.

The company missed analysts’ earnings expectations last quarter, while rival McDonald’s recovered from an October dip in sales by heavily promoting its dollar menu. (The thousands of McDonald’s stores that stayed open on Thanksgiving helped lift sales too…)

In a conference call last month, president and CEO Emil Brolick told investors, “We have lost some share in the value-menu area,” and said  the new menu would help the company reverse that slide…

According to research firm Technomic, Wendy’s took the No. 2 spot from Burger King among fast-food burger brands last year. Helped along by Burger King’s sluggish response to changing tastes among fast-food diners, Wendy’s stole the King’s crown by focusing on higher-end (and higher-priced) items like bigger, more natural-looking patties and specialty sandwiches like an asiago ranch chicken club.

The problem was, it got almost too good at aligning itself with the higher end of the market. “The new menu is intended to better balance Wendy’s overall menu, which had gotten top-heavy through [the addition] of higher-priced sandwiches,” Burger Business observed.

“We do believe that the number of price-value-sensitive customers out there is not insignificant,” Brolick told analysts. He’s right. Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant-industry analyst at research company NPD Group, says fast-food diners, especially those under 35, are abandoning combo meals in favor of the dollar menu to save a few bucks.

Fast food is not only fast it is also inexpensive.  So if fast food has to offer lower-priced items to entice people into their restaurants you know the economy is bad.  Which it is.  Bad.  However you want to measure it.  This economic recovery is so bad it is as if we’re still in the Great Recession.  Why?  Because this administration’s policies are not business-friendly.  So businesses are not hiring.  Or only hiring people part-time to escape some of their expensive anti-business policies.  Like Obamacare.

And there is worse to come.  Without having to worry about reelection President Obama has no reason to compromise with Republicans.  Which means only one thing.  Americans will be buying ever more off of these dollar menus.  As it is the most they can afford thanks to the horrible economic policies of the Obama administration.

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FT112: “You can have liberty or equality but you can’t have both.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 6th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Higher Taxes were Okay when it was Someone Else’s Money but they’re Just Plain Unfair when it’s your Money

People throw around the word ‘equality’ a lot.  Especially politicians.  To make life fair.  More egalitarian.  Where they make the rich pay their fair share.  For they won’t just voluntarily pay their fair share, will they?  Sounds fair, yes?  And just.  For no one should be ‘too rich’ when others have ‘so little’.  Of course the only people who agree with this are the ones who have ‘so little’.  Those who are ‘too rich’ are not all that supportive of using their wealth to help others be more equal.  Especially when the scale that measures what is ‘too rich’ is a sliding scale.  For someone believes a person is ‘too rich’ when they have more than he or she does.  And that holds true even if they win the lotto.

It’s open season on rich people.  Everyone attacks them.  For they are easy prey.  There are few of them.  So angering them won’t have a huge impact at the polls.  Which is why politicians whip up a fury of hate against them.  Which the people who have ‘so little’ are eager to join them in that hate.  Because they hate rich people.  They hate them a lot.  And there just isn’t anything good they can say about them.  They hate them so much that they buy lotto tickets in hopes of becoming rich people themselves.  Because that’s the only thing that can assuage their hate of rich people.  Becoming rich people.

People who have ‘so little’ will define anyone as having ‘too much’ if they have more than they do.  But if they win the lotto it’s a different story.  For rich people like them don’t have ‘too much’ then.  In fact they become downright greedy.  And become everything they once hated.  They don’t want to share their winnings.  (Even some in lotto groups who bought a winning ticket will try to keep that ticket for themselves, saying they bought THAT ticket with his or her own money and not the group’s money and therefore they don’t have to share THOSE winnings.)  And they sure don’t want to pay half of their winnings in taxes.  Higher taxes were okay when it was someone else’s money.  But they’re just plain unfair when it’s your money.  It’s just a fact of life.  People are greedy.  Even those with ‘so little’.

If there is No Incentive to Choose the Hard Jobs then Someone will have to Coerce People to ‘Choose’ Them

Consider this.  How hard would you work if you had to deposit your entire paycheck into a general fund?  Let’s call the fund the Equality Fund.  All workers everywhere on payday take their checks to the bank and deposit them into the Equality Fund.  And then they get their ‘equal share’ from that fund to live on.  So doctors and janitors earn different incomes.  But their distributions from the Equality Fund are the same.  NFL franchise players and workers in fast food earn different incomes.  But their distributions from the Equality Fund are the same.  Ditto for movie stars, rock stars, pop stars and lotto winners.  They all deposit their income into the General Fund.  And live on the same money as do hair stylists, Wal-Mart greeters, busboys and gardeners.  Even the people who don’t work.  Who love the Equality Fund.  Because with equality they don’t have to work.  Pretty sweet.  Don’t work.  And get paid the same as those who do work.  So they have no incentive ever to go to work.  And some of those who do work start asking themselves, “Why am I still working?” 

If there was an Equality Fund how hard would you work at your job?  Would you even work?  Would you choose a difficult career field that took a lot of costly education?  Would you work that hard to earn more money only to deposit those high earnings into the Equality Fund?  Instead of using those high earnings to buy a nice house?  In a nice neighborhood?  With nice schools for your kids?  Probably not.  Let’s say everyone is paid $50,000 from the Equality Fund.  Regardless of what you paid into it.  Either nothing.  Or millions of dollars.  Everyone lives on $50,000 per year.  Not too shabby.  Especially for low-income people or the unemployed.  They’re going to love the Equality Fund.  But those paying in millions will not be living in million dollar mansions.  Buying expensive cars.  Big boats.  Fly in their private jets.  Or even fly first-class.  No one will wear a Rolex watch.  Or other expensive jewelry.  Or high fashion.  No one will have these things.  Not when you’re raising a family on $50,000 per year.  Even if your work skills bring in the kind of high earnings that could afford them.  Because all of your pay will go into the Equality Fund.  Is that fair?  It’s equality.  But is it fair?

Let’s take this a little further.  Say everyone wises up and quits working.  Because they get the same amount to live on whether they work or not.  So why work?  Those who would like to tell the boss off and quit working are no doubt saying, “Sounds good to me.”  But this would cause a problem.  For what would you buy with your $50,000 annual allotment if no one worked?  For you need people to work if you want to buy a house.  A car.  A boat.  Fly.  Wear a watch.  Jewelry.  Clothing.  Sure, some will say we can just buy old homes.  And buy imported cars, boats, planes, watches, jewelry and clothing.   Sure, you could.  But you can’t import everything.  You can’t import road maintenance.  You can’t import port facilities and railroad infrastructure.  Or the people to operate them.  You can’t import restaurants complete with chefs, servers and busboys.  You can’t import emergency trauma care.  Maternity care.  Cardiac care.  A college education.  You just can’t import everything.  Someone has to work these jobs.  Even though they won’t get paid any more for working than they would for sitting at home collecting their allotment from the Equality Fund.  And when no one chooses to work at the jobs we can’t replace with imports someone will have to ‘help’ them change their mind.  To make them choose to work.  Even if it’s against their will. 

This is the problem with equality.  If we pay everyone equally no one will choose the hard jobs.  They’ll choose the easy jobs.  Worse, if we pay them equally whether they work or not they’ll simply choose not to work.  And if there is no incentive to choose the hard jobs then someone will have to coerce people to ‘choose’ them.

You can have Liberty or Equality but You can’t have Both

To choose your career you need liberty.  To choose to go to school to learn a high-paying skill you need liberty.  To work in a high-paying job you need liberty.  To keep your high-pay earnings you need liberty.  To work hard and to advance yourself to reach your personal goals you need liberty.  To play in the NFL you need liberty.  To be a movie star or rock star or pop star you need liberty.  To play the lotto and keep your winnings you need liberty.  To do all of these things you need liberty.  And one other thing that makes all of these things possible.  Inequality.

People working in fast food can’t earn the same as neurosurgeons.  Because if they paid their workers that much the cost of fast food would be prohibitive.  And no one would be neurosurgeons because it’s a lot less stressful working in fast food.  It doesn’t take years of training.  Or expensive malpractice insurance.  You don’t have to live with accidents that permanently disable or kill people.  Or deal with their aggrieved family members.  So that’s why we pay neurosurgeons so much.  It’s a very difficult profession that few choose.  Because so few choose this profession those that do are very valuable resources.  Demanding high pay.  And because they demand such high salaries it attracts the few who are willing to deal with all the things that come with being a neurosurgeon.  The high pay helps people choose this valued career despite the high personal costs.  So inequality is a good thing.  It provides incentive to choose the hard jobs.  Which is a good thing.  For who wants a low-paid person forced to be a neurosurgeon operating on his or her brain?

Everyone who has ever bought a lotto ticket agrees that inequality is a good thing.  They wouldn’t buy a ticket otherwise.  Because they buy those tickets to become rich.  To have more than other people.  That is, to be unequal.  Because everyone is greedy.  Just like football players, movie stars, rock stars, pop stars and, of course, lotto winners.  And not a one of them is going to work hard to develop their unique earning potential just to put the fruits of their labor into the Equality Fund.  They may talk the talk.  Support Democrats.  But they do that just so the people who have ‘so little’ leave them alone.  For they all still live in their million dollar mansions.  Because they like being unequal.  The more unequal the better.  They adore their pampered lives.  And when it comes to choosing liberty or equality they choose liberty.  As their comfortable lives clearly show.  For you can have liberty.  Or you can have equality.  But you can’t have both.  And that’s okay with them.

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FT88: “Liberals say live and let live when it comes to sex and drugs but don’t you dare eat at McDonald’s or light a cigarette in front of them.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 21st, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Liberals want us to Treat Kids as Adults when it comes to Sex and Drugs

Liberals want to hand out condoms in school.  And they want to teach school kids how to use them.   They want to give them access to birth control.  And abortions.  Because kids are going to have sex.  No matter what we say.  So live and let live they say.  Let these kids have their fun.  And we’ll deal with the consequences later.  Such as an unwanted pregnancy.  A venereal disease.  Or rape.  Should a young girl get scared and change her mind.  Should a boy not understand that ‘no’ really means ‘no’.  Or believes consent is nonrefundable.  Especially after getting all riled up in school learning about sex.  In an academic setting.  Where it seems like just good clean fun.  Rather than learning it the old fashioned way.  From a parent.  Who tells you to wait until you’re a responsible adult.  Because it’s not just good clean fun.  It’s serious.  And can have some serious consequences.

Liberals would like to decriminalize drugs.  At least marijuana.  Because kids are going to experiment.  No matter what we say.  Marijuana is harmless, they say.  And they poo poo the naysayers who say it can be a gateway drug.  Marijuana won’t make people tire of it.  And look for a higher high.  Because heroin, coke and meth addictions just happen.  Spontaneously.  Just like alcohol addiction.  Some people have a predisposition for addiction.  And the drugs themselves are in no way to blame.  It’s a person’s DNA.  So live and let live they say.  Because drugs don’t addict people.  People do.  Those with a predisposition to addiction.  But it’s not their fault.  They’re just hardwired that way.  So we shouldn’t blame them.  Or drugs.  It just happens.

You see, people are adults.  Even kids.  That’s why we need to treat them as adults.  And if we do they’ll make adult decisions.  Partake in sex and drugs responsibly.  Like adults.  And there will be no consequences we can’t manage after the fact.  Like adults.

Liberals aren’t all that Concerned about Unwanted Pregnancies, Venereal Disease or Drug Addiction

So kids may be adults.  But their parents aren’t.  Liberals don’t want them making ‘adult’ decisions.  Such as what to eat, drink or smoke.  Like kids can about sex and drugs.  No.  Liberals want to use the power of government to make these decisions for adults.  Because they can’t be trusted to make the right decisions.

They want to tax fast food.  And soda pop.  Like they tax cigarettes.  To make them very expensive.  So they can make people choose correctly.  To choose what liberals want them to choose.  And not what these adults want.

You see, liberals aren’t all that concerned about unwanted pregnancies, venereal disease or drug addiction.  But they are very concerned about trans-fat and sugar.  They don’t want you enjoying the occasional McDonald’s meal.  A bag of chips.  A Mountain Dew.  Or a cigarette.  And if they catch you lighting up a cigarette after a meal in a McDonald’s, look out.  You will get a look of contempt and pure hate like you’ve never seen before.  Because you’ve dared to expose children to second-hand smoke.  For kids smoking pot first-hand is one thing.  But breathing second-hand smoke is just unhealthy.  Wrong.  And could scar them for life.  Unlike an unwanted pregnancy, a venereal disease or a drug addiction.

Liberals want Kids to Think Sex, Drugs and Vote Democrat

Why do they want to help kids have sex and do drugs?  Because they want kids to like them.  And they will if they make high school and college as much fun as possible.  They want these kids to think sex, drugs and vote Democrat.  Because liberal Democrats need the youth vote.  For they can’t win elections without it.  And they don’t care if these kids get scarred for life from an unwanted pregnancy, a venereal disease or a drug addiction.

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LESSONS LEARNED #49: “The ‘tolerant’ are intolerant.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2011

Agitate and Instigate – Getting the People to Help the Well-to-Do

There are tolerant people out there.  Independents.  Moderates.  Lots of Democrats.  And, yes, even conservatives.  Even though there are those who demonize conservatives.  And say that they aren’t.  By people who claim to be.  Who are, in fact, not.  Liberals.  That 20% sliver of the population.  Those who benefit greatly from a liberal agenda.  And agenda that greatly burdens the other 80%.  Through higher taxes.  And greater regulation.  Which adds costs to business.  Which results in higher prices.  Fewer jobs.  A poorer population that can’t buy as much stuff.  And a depressed economy.

This 20% lives a privileged life.  College professors, public sector employees, union public school teachers, the mainstream media, liberal politicians (both Republican and Democrat), etc.  People who make a lot of money.  But don’t work a real job.  Like the other 80% of the population.

To live a privileged life requires the other 80% to voluntarily pay for it.  And that’s not easy.  These people can make as much as three times what those in the private sector make.  So they can’t expect much pity.  Because people just don’t pity you if you’re struggling to make two house payments and a boat payment.  Especially when they’re staring foreclosure in the face on their one and only home.  So they need to get our support some other way.  So they agitate.  Instigate.  They like to stir up trouble.  Demonize their opponents.  So no one focuses on just how well they live and how little they work.

Feigning Tolerance to Attract the Single Issue Voters

So they agitate and instigate to get some of that 80% to support them.  They look at single issues that are dear to some people.  Abortion.  Immigration.  Drugs.  Cigarettes.  Birth control.  Fast food.  Sugary beverages.  Health care.  Secularism.  Etc.  Anything they can politicize.  Anything they can use as a wedge to move people from supporting the 80% and to supporting the 20%.

Scare tactics.  Demonization of individuals.  Political correctness.  These are some of their tools.  Things that can help stir up trouble.  Agitate people.  And make them do something that they normally wouldn’t do.  Support their far left agenda.  Because they attach these single issues to their agenda.  These single-issue people may not agree with the far left liberal agenda, but their single issue trumps all.  Much like Congress does when attaching pork to a bill.  They’ll attach bazillions of dollars of outrageous earmarks to a bill entitled ‘it’s time to stop abusing children’.  It’s effective.  Vote for the bill (and the irresponsible spending attached to it).  Or be on the public record for being in favor of abusing children.  Not much of a choice, really.  Especially if you ever plan to run for reelection.

Tolerance.  That’s an especially useful tool.  For painting themselves as enlightened and opened minded.  While painting their opponents as mean, cold, unfeeling and close minded.  And it’s rather ironic.  For their opponents are often far more tolerant than the tolerant, liberal left.

The Dangers of Smoke is Relative.  The Cigarette kind is Bad.  But the Marijuana kind, Surprisingly, Isn’t

Pity the poor cigarette smoker.  He or she can’t get a break anywhere.  They’ve made it criminal to smoke pretty much anywhere but in your own home.  And they’re looking at that, too.  Especially if you have kids.  Pity, too.  Some of my fondest memories are as a child when my aunts and uncles came over to visit.  They smoked and played gin rummy.  While we played.  My cousins.  My brother.  And me.  I’m not a smoker.  But to this day when I get a whiff of cigarette smoke I get this warm feeling of nostalgia wash over me.  But those days are gone.  First they’ll band smoking in your home.  Then gin rummy.  And then probably having aunts and uncles over that could unfavorably influence your kids. 

Cigarette smoke is bad for you.  Second hand smoke is bad for those around you. So they are very intolerant of anyone smoking those foul, detestable cigarettes.  But if you want to spark up a fatty, they’re okay with that.  In fact, they want to decriminalize marijuana.  They’ve already started with ‘medical’ marijuana.  Now there is a thriving market for illegal medical prescriptions for medical marijuana.  And, you know what?  That’s silly.  They’re going to smoke it anyway.  So let’s just decriminalize it completely.  And open cannabis coffee shops like they have in the Netherlands.  Because there ain’t nothing wrong with a little unfiltered marijuana smoke.  Unlike that nasty, foul, vile cigarette smoke.  And if you have a problem with marijuana, why, you’re just intolerant.

What’s a worse Lifestyle Choice than Heroin Addiction?  Eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal

San Francisco is a big gay city.  And by that I mean gay-friendly.  They have a lot of gays and lesbians living there.  And a lot of intravenous drug users.  Therefore, they have a big AIDS problem.  To try and prevent the spread of AIDS they’ve been providing clean syringes to help heroin addicts support their heroin addictions.  They brand anyone opposing this policy as intolerant of the gay community.  The addict community.  Or of drug users and sexually active people in general.

Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco has banned McDonald’s from including toys in their Happy Meals.  Because it encourages children to live an unhealthy lifestyle.  So they’re intolerant of parents letting their kids enjoy an occasional Happy Meal.  While they are tolerant of subsidizing an addict’s addiction.  Even though everyone eating a Happy Meal has not gone on to be obese and suffer from poor health.  While most heroin addicts eventually kill themselves from the drugs they abuse.

Gay Marriage is Beautiful.  While Traditional Marriage is Legalized Rape

And speaking of gays in San Francisco, let’s talk about marriage.  The Left says that we should allow gays to marry each other.  That we are denying them the highest form of happiness known to a loving couple.  Wedded bliss.  And anyone opposing this is just intolerant of the gay community.

 Meanwhile, who was it all these years saying that marriage was nothing more than slavery?  An archaic ceremony that made strong, independent women mere chattel.  Slaves in the kitchen.  Whores in the bedroom.  And legalized rape.  Who was this?  Why, the Left.  The feminists.  They hated the institution of marriage.  Because it relegated women into second class citizenry.  Anyone fighting for such an archaic institution was just intolerant of strong women.  Because marriage is bad.  Unless the people getting married are gay.

You can’t tell a Woman what she can do with her Womb.  But you can Police her Eating and Smoking Habits.

The abortion argument is about empowering women.  Liberals say that without the right to choose women are condemned to second class citizenry as housewives and mothers.  Because they would have no choice.  If they enjoy a little slap and tickle and get pregnant, a woman can’t go on in her life afterward like a man can.  And that ain’t fair.  And anyone who is intolerant of abortion on demand is just being intolerant of feminism.  And wants to confine women to being a slave in the kitchen.  And a whore in the bedroom.  Taking care of a bunch of rotten, screaming kids.  While that bastard of a father goes out and builds a glorious career.

Liberals say a woman is responsible for her womb.  That we should all stay out of it.  It’s her decision.  Her personal property.  Her rules.  No one should have any say whatsoever with what she does with that part of her body.  But every other part of her body is apparently open to regulation.  Telling her that she shouldn’t smoke, eat fast food or drink a sugary drink, why, that’s okay.  They have every right, nay, responsibility, to police her body in those respects.  But not her womb.  There, she has choice. 

Temporary Nativity Scenes on Public Property are Intolerable.  But Permanent Religious Displays on ‘Conquered’ Territory are Okay.

The secular left is very intolerant of any nativity displays on public property for a few weeks around Christmas.  They scream about the separation of church and state.  They argue that if we allow these nativity displays we’re just a step away from antidisestablishmentarianism.

These same people though called anyone who opposed the Muslim community center near Ground Zero intolerant.  Now even though all Muslims aren’t terrorists, the terrorists who crashed into the Twin Towers were Muslim.  And, interestingly, throughout history Muslims have built mosques on conquered territory.  So the terrorists (who happened to be Muslim) would have seen that community center (that included a mosque) near Ground Zero as a symbol of the territory that they, the bad guys, not Muslims in general, conquered.  And this was just the height of insensitivity to those who lost loved ones on 9/11.  But as far as the liberal left is concerned, these people are just being intolerant.  Because that community center that will be there all year long for years and years to come is no big deal.  But the appearance of nativity scenes for a scant few weeks around Christmas, well, that’s just plain offensive.  In intolerable.

We Should Tolerate Attacks on Christianity.  But not Attacks on Islam.

And speaking of religion, remember all that hoopla about those cartoons in the Danish press?  Of the Islamic prophet?  Well, this ignited a firestorm.  That reached all the way to South Park.  In Cartoon Wars Part II the show featured an appearance of the prophet.  But when the episode aired, Comedy Central blacked out the image.  Because they said it would be offensive to Muslims.  The Left applauded this.  For anyone who dared to do such an insensitive thing were obviously Christians showing their intolerance of Islam.

Meanwhile, placing a crucifix in a jar of piss is art.  Making a movie about Christ having a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene is art.  Openly deriding Christians derogatively as ‘God-clingers’ is just free speech.  And perfectly acceptable.  No matter how many Christians are offended.  To the offended the Left simply says, “Get over it.  You intolerant God-clingers.”

Never Let a Crisis go to Waste.  Or an Opportunity.

You get the picture.  America is basically a center-right country.  A nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  And these values still guide many people today.  This is the 80%.  So the 20% attacks these values.  To agitate.  To instigate.  To foment.  They attack Christianity and tell gays that conservatives want to get rid of them.  Meanwhile the religion they say we must be tolerant of openly persecutes gays.  They don’t preach to them that they are morally wrong.  But literally persecute them.  Kill them.  The Left supports this religion and their mosque near Ground Zero.  In New York City.  Where there is a large gay population.  And yet no one sees this disconnect.

Because everything for this 20% is an opportunity.  And when you’re opportunistic (never let a crisis go to waste), you don’t let a thing like philosophical consistency weigh you down.  Look at every issue they stand on and you will probably find a paradox.  Cigarette smoke is bad for you but marijuana smoke is fine.  We shouldn’t eat fast food or drink sugary drinks because they are unhealthy.  But let’s give clean syringes to help our heroin addicts feed their addictions.  Marriage is bad and oppresses.  But gay marriage is a beautiful thing.  Women can choose to have an abortion.  But they can’t choose to have a Big Mac Combo meal and a cigarette.  Christianity can be mocked because it’s ‘not nice’ to gays and women.  But we must respect Islam that persecutes gays and treats women as chattel. 

Here a paradox.  There a paradox.  Everywhere a paradox.  Why, you can say liberalism itself is a paradox.  Because it is both tolerant and intolerant.  Often on the same issue.  It all depends on which way the political wind is blowing at the time.  You see, that’s what happens when you trade philosophy for political expediency.  When you don’t govern but exploit opportunity.  When you see an opportunity to extort money (sue Big Tobacco).  Or just to screw with Big Business (like McDonalds) to show those corporate sons of bitches who really has power.  Or to just stir up the pot, getting people riled up against their Judeo-Christian tradition (gay marriage, abortion, feminism, etc.).  Not to advance a particular philosophy.  But an agenda.  That has but one goal.  To perpetuate their privileged class.

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