Bloomberg: The Capeless Crusader

Bloomberg: The Capeless Crusader

Bloomberg is a man who never sleeps, apparently.

His zeal for public health and safety is unabated, despite a resounding “No,” from the courts in response to his ridiculous legislation banning large cups and bottles of soda. Now, the “capeless crusader” has turned once again to the item which health crusaders attack most often and most viciously: cigarettes and other forms of smoking tobacco.

The Capeless Crusader: Tireless Defender of Everyone Else's Health
The Capeless Crusader: Tireless Defender of Everyone Else’s Health

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t endorse smoking, nor do I smoke. But neither do I endorse the government-funded war on smoking. My reason for this is simple: smoking is not healthy, it’s true. But neither is eating too much. And the zealots are already turning toward overeating as their next crusade, starting with a seemingly innocuous requirement that restaurants post calorie content of each menu item. Today, require caloric content to be posted. Tomorrow, completely ban the food items that are the unhealthiest.

All that aside, I think the Mayor’s actions speak for themselves. And they say . . .

And they say . . .

Well, what do you think?

Planning for Success in Difficult Times

Government intervention, the President and current administration tell us–daily–is the way that we will achieve our goals for the future.

There are many reasons to take exception to this statement. Some of the more obvious (at least to me): First of all, what happened in the years before the modern government existed? How did people even survive, let alone thrive, in the absence of the vast resources available from the current government programs? Second, why so many people telling us, to the point of shouting down any dissenters, that this is THE ONLY WAY to do business in today’s world? Third, toward whose goals are we pressing, again? Fourth, what makes you (the progressives) so sure that “everybody” wants what you do?

Just a Thought: Independent men built this country...not bureaucrats.
Just a Thought: Independent men built this country…not bureaucrats.

One of the email newsletters to which I subscribe is titled “The Morning Jolt” and features bold headlines and news that will “set your blood to simmer[ing],” as the author wrote in February 13, 2013’s edition. This daily imprint features Jim Geraghty’s thoughts on a number of subjects, and he is usually dead-on in his analysis of current events. He is committed to combating the pervasive influence of the lovers of the “progressive agenda” (read “retrogressive suppression of independence”) for America.

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Jim Geraghty is a conservative political pundit and a contributing editor to The National Review

(photo credit)

One of the subjects he addresses head-on in the 2/13 edition of Morning Jolt is the rising cost of employing full-time workers here in the US. Written by Charles Hugh Smith, this article is worth reading because it addresses several factors (one of which is the return on investment consideration for employers [woefully under-discussed in the current climate]) influencing the economic stagnation which is so prevalent, and because it does so in such a well-written format that there is no need for this author to reinvent the wheel. ūüėČ

Geraghty quotes extensively from the article cited above, and then offers a few words of his own on this subject:

“In short, the unemployed, the departed-the-workforce, the just-entered-the-workforce and soon-to-enter-the-workforce cannot be sufficiently productive to justify the expense of hiring them. And we know this pretty much has to be true, because corporations are sitting on¬†roughly $1.7 trillion in cash right now [according to a recent article from one of the blogs of the New York Times, apparently. I (Dave here) was not able to follow this link to research it.]. It’s not that they don’t have the money to hire people. They just don’t think that hiring people would generate more money than having it just sit there in their accounts, which is a phenomenally depressing conclusion.”

That’s pretty simple, and it’s pretty clear, too. Excessive and punitive regulation has driven the cost of adding new workers so high that it has exacerbated the underemployment of the younger and (usually) less-experienced members of the workforce. Why do I say that it has made this problem worse, rather than “excessive regulations have¬†caused underemployment of the young?” Because this underemployment¬†is caused by the understandable predisposition of employers to hire more experienced workers, rather than younger workers who require more investment (time to train, money to pay minimum wages, benefits, etc.) and less return for said outlay.

In other words, the employer is made slightly worse off by being forced to be more choosy in who he hires; or, alternatively, by being forced to buy machinery to automate what a minimum-wage worker would otherwise do. The potential minimum-wage worker, however, is made much worse off: not only is he robbed of the opportunity to work for minimum wage, he is also (often) denied the opportunity to work and gain experience that would qualify him for more appealing, better-paying jobs.

As one of the young and underemployed, I know whereof I speak. A six-month job hunt–during which I have aggressively sought employment by repeated phone calls, in-person submissions of my resume, and face-to-face introductions–has resulted in only one interview.

Am I complaining? No, I’m simply pointing out that I understand (from personal experience) how tough it is to find a job in today’s depressed economy.

While punitive (from an employers’ perspective) regulation is certainly a key factor, to say that it is the sole variable in this complicated problem would be to commit an unforgivable oversimplification.

I cannot in the scope of this article address every economic factor that contributes to the high unemployment rate among young workers; however, I believe there are two surpluses, surpluses that go largely unaddressed in the current discussion on the unemployment rate, that play a critical role in this phenomenon.

The first surplus is the result of education. More and more, we see students entering liberal arts colleges pursuing majors such as Twelfth-Century Poetry, Ancient Literature Interpretation, and Underwater Basket-Weaving. (Ok, I made the last one up, but you get the idea.) Even students in fields that, a few years ago, featured robust demand are seeing a dramatic drop in employment opportunities. This decrease has affected not only “soft” majors such as the ones above, but “not-so-soft” majors like liberal arts, communication arts, art, and others. Geraghty wrote a very insightful paragraph in his February 13 “Morning Jolt” column:

“Folks, the art world and publishing world are fiercely competitive even in the very best of times, so you’re going to need a backup career just in case things don’t work out. This also applies to those who aspire to fame and fortune in journalism, professional athletics, the music industry, most of the entertainment industry, and most of the jobs that the world covets. You’ve got to be really talented, and really hard-working. And yes, lucky. I realize I’m very, very, very, very lucky to have a job that I (usually) enjoy and that allows me to make a living. Of course, I suspect those outside those fields overestimate the role of luck. My buddy Cam — now on the¬†Sportsman Channel!¬†— will periodically hear from someone, ‘Boy, you’re really lucky to find a job where you get to host a radio show!’ and he has to bite his tongue and refrain from mentioning all the years he worked as reporter and assistant news director, driving all over the state of Oklahoma on any assignment he could get, long hours, lousy pay, and so on.”

He also makes a very pithy, observant statement: “Nobody just hands you a plum job in journalism.” Truth! It may shock some college students to realize that nobody “just hands you” any plum job. Most of the plum jobs in the world go to those who have busted their behinds for it.

Is that fair?

Before you answer that, stop and think about how you would feel if you spent ten years of your life working at any job you could find in your chosen profession, striving for that “dream job,” only to see it handed to some fresh-faced newbie fresh off the education assembly line because they “deserved it.” How would that make you feel?

Yeah, you’re right…there are two sides to every coin.

The second surplus is the result of a lack of practical education. Increasingly, college graduates are sorely lacking in portable skills that can only be obtained by personal contact and interaction with people. Why is there such a deficit of ordinary, everyday interpersonal skills? Again, the answer is too long and complex for a post of this length, but some contributing factors are the increasing obsession with screen media, the widespread revolt against traditional values, and the epidemic, not of illiteracy, but of a-literacy.

According to Susan Jacoby’s book The Age of American Unreason, published in 2008, only 57 percent of the American public has ever read a non-fiction book. Making a logical assumption that some people’s only non-fictional exposure is from required reading for school, the number of people who read non-fiction books from personal desire is quite possibly substantially smaller. This is relevant to the discussion at hand, precisely because readers are better equipped than non-readers to follow, evaluate, and process a complex train of thought in a logical fashion.

In education, as in many other areas of life, many Americans have forsaken personal responsibility for the convenience of “pre-packaged” curriculum. Some seem to think that if it’s not taught in school, or required reading for one of their classes, it’s just not worth the time it would take ¬†read about it.

It’s heartbreaking to see education of all types going to ruin here in the States. It’s particularly sad when one considers the historical successes of the “self-made man,” the man who educated himself–outside the scope of the marbled halls and manicured lawns of the university–at great expense of time and effort, and built a business, a trade, a living, and (for more than a few) a fortune. The current scoffing at those who have made their living in this way reflects the near-idolatrous regard many hold for the “almighty college degree.” Current disdain notwithstanding, self-education–as with many other forms of self-reliance–is a phenomenon that is disproportionately represented in the United States. Freedom to keep the proceeds of one’s efforts truly is the greatest encouragement to innovation and initiative.

In short, government intervention of all sorts into employment contracts is fraught with examples of stagnation following efforts taken for the (expressed) purpose of producing greater economic growth. In every case, more government intervention and regulation resulted in LESS growth, not MORE as the politicians predicted. The brighter tomorrow our elected officials pay lip-service to will only come about by a return to the truly American principles of independence, self-education, individual choice and liberty, personal responsibility, and self-governance.

 

Please, Mr. Government, May I Mind My Own Business?

Everywhere we turn, the government is there, helping to make the world a better place.

We’re better off now that government does so much to help us, the folks in Washington tell us. There’s no reason for all the furor, they have our best interests in mind…and they know better than us, anyway. Don’t we trust them?

In a word, no; and in two words, certainly not.

Government overreach, rebooted for your viewing enjoyment (for the progressives), or apoplectic rants (for everyone else).

Another attack on freedom...no sir, you may NOT plant those tomatoes there....
Another attack on freedom…no sir, you may NOT plant those tomatoes there….

(photo credit)

The article is here.

You have got to be kidding me.

Yes, I know that’s colloquial. No, I do not care.

This is ridiculous. These bureaucrats are trifling. This is as lame as a horse with five broken legs.

Yes, I know that doesn’t exist. No, I do not care.

At what point do we stand and say, “Give me liberty, or give me death”? Sounds a bit extreme, probably, and I can hear the detractors now:

That’s a ridiculous overreaction of a bitter partisan believer in massive conspiracy theories.

Not hardly.

Food is an integral and vital part of every person’s life. Without sustenance of some sort, you will die. If you eat the wrong type of food long enough, it will affect your health. Changing their diet has helped many people lose weight, gain confidence, build muscle mass and overall endurance, and feel better and more emotionally stable…..all without any other form of medicine!

Well, you might ask, what if “food-only medicine” people are wrong? If they are wrong, there’s nothing to lose. But, I ask you, what if they are right? If they are right, there’s much at stake!

What if, you query, you are wrong about the government overreaching its bounds here? If I’m wrong, there’s nothing about which to worry. But, again, what if I’m right? If I am, there’s much at stake here!

Including, it seems, one’s freedom to grow radishes, beets, turnips, kale, collards, carrots, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, and corn in the front yard in place of junipers, Japanese maples, clover, boxwood hedges, and other ornamental plants that really don’t have any practical use.

Obama: “Newtown…Deserves a Vote!”

The following is not based on a real conversation….it’s what I’d like to say to President Obama, based on his executive order to “establish a meaningful national dialogue on the subject of gun control” or however he worded the item on his Imperial To-Do List. Picture if you will the President listening–actually listening–to what I have to say. Unfortunately, that probably never will happen; but, I can dream, can’t I?

Kudos to Jeff Rutherford for the photo edit!
Kudos to Jeff Rutherford for the photo edit!

Mr. President, we need to talk. No, really….please hear me out. Using your State of the Union Address as a platform for demagoguery, you declared that the families of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, Tuscon, and etc. deserve a vote. You also mentioned former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, stating that she too, deserves a vote.

Don’t quite recall that? It’s on camera, you saying all this in front of God and everybody:

Mr. President, let’s look at this for a moment.

Former Congresswoman Gabby Gifford is a US citizen. So, too, are the parents of the children from Newtown. That means that they HAVE a vote, which they are free to exercise in this nation. Did they vote? Did they exercise their right to elect a representative that stands for the things in which they believe? Or are they waiting for you to use the bully pulpit of the White House to ram some monster, unconstitutional bill through Congress and down the throats of those who disagree? This isn’t an accusation or projection…I’m just inferring what will probably happen, based on past experience and observation.

The families of those killed in the shootings in Oak Creek, Tuscon, Aurora, etc., are US citizens, and they HAVE a vote. Have they exercised their right to vote? If not, why are they complaining? Yes, it’s tragic that this happened, but let’s not make the mistake of letting emotion interfere with meaningful action. As it stands, your attitude toward guns, your visceral despisement of these vicious assault weapons are setting this nation up for some very foolish choices.

Your policies, darling bosom friends that they are to you, are the reason that these shootings are happening. Yes, even a cursory examination of the objective studies on this issue will reveal that gun-free zones–and stand by for this….don’t prevent gun crimes. In fact, they dramatically enhance the possibility of those within this “safe zone” becoming victims to the next homicidal maniac with a firearm.

To add to that objective fact, the citizens of Newtown have ratified new legislation that makes provision for two school resource officers, one armed and one unarmed, to be on the campus of every school in town. This new legislation simply extends the protection that was already in place at the local high schools to include all schools. This, then, indicates the will of the people of this jurisdiction, and should not be overturned in your usual imperious manner.

Do some disagree with this approach? Fine….it’s still a free country, Mr. President. They are more than welcome to “vote with their feet,” in the popular phrase of the day. Let them move to your old neighborhood, which features both gun laws among the strictest in the nation, and an unparalleled homicide rate. Incidentally, do you suppose that one factor there does not affect the other? Surely you’re smarter than to think that….

Across the nation, communities, cities, counties are not waiting for your top-down edict on how to handle the current “gun crisis (falsely so-called, I add).” They are quietly, efficiently taking action at the local level to implement laws and regulations that they believe will best serve the interests of the community in which they live, and protect the ones they love. They have voted, used the legislative process, and decently and in order instituted new legislation to further their desired end. It would be unwise (and extremely petty) for you to overturn this by top-down, gangster-style government overreach. This isn’t Chicago, after all.

In short, Newtown doesn’t deserve a vote anymore. Your speech’s tendentious argument on this point indicates the premise is founded on dated information. You really should talk to those folks in WHCA, Mr. President….they’re not keeping you current.

You should have listened during that meeting, Mr. President. Newtown has already TAKEN a vote.