American Elephants

The Time Machine by The Elephant's Child
March 20, 2013, 10:00 pm
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, History, Humor | Tags: , ,

(h/t: Vanderleun)

What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive* by The Elephant's Child

I would guess that not many Americans are interested in, or even know what “the Sequester” is. Let’s just say it falls in the strategy and tactics portion of politics involving the budget. The federal budget is always a complicated matter for Congress. Republicans are mindful of ordinary family budgets especially at a time when it is a big worry for many families, and concerned about thrift and balancing the budget which simply means — don’t be spending more than you take in.

Any family understands that you’re better off when you have something left over after you pay the bills. And if it’s the other way around, and you have to put too much on the credit card, it can make your life miserable. The United States has put way too much on the national credit card, and Republicans fear for the future if we don’t put our house in order.

President Obama and the Democrats insist that spending is not a problem. They believe in Keynesian economics which tells them that if you just put money into the economy, there is a multiplier effect as those dollars are passed around. They think it is around 1.5 x or even 2.5 x.  That’s why they believed in the stimulus, and all the projects that paid for windmills or green jobs, or even new government buildings.

So there’s not much agreement between the two parties. The White House devised a tactic to force Republicans to give in on Democrats’ spending requests, called the “sequester.” Because it forced across-the-board cuts, with the greatest percentage coming from defense, they thought that Republicans would give in to prevent big cuts from defense. Republicans recognized the tactic, and assumed that letting it take effect was the only way they were going to get Democrats to agree to cut back, spat it out, and said let’s go for the sequester.

President Obama decided that if Republicans were going to make them cut spending, the cuts would all be centered on those budget items that would most painful and most disruptive for the public — so they would blame the Republicans for their discomfort. Word apparently went out to all departments from the White House to make whatever they were cutting as painful as possible and as public as possible.

The Republicans did not cave. Obama had not expected that. Instead of calling the battle off and agreeing that it was quite possible to cut back on the spending, for the cuts were not to the current budget, but to the additional appropriations which were more than they spent last year anyway.

Republicans were offended at the unnecessary attempts to make minor cuts in spending painful, and are holding hearings to find out just why departments were cutting in such ways. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who is a former federal attorney, wanted to know why Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of Homeland Security, chose to release over 2,000 illegal immigrants who were being held in immigrant jails, among them ten level 1 aggravated felons to the public. Rep. Gowdy questioned DHS Under Secretary, Management, Rafael Borras:

But you agree with me that the decision to release level 1, aggravated felons was not the only option that you had, there were other places that you could have cut costs?

There’s the fictional firing of teachers, the closing of the White House for student tours, the furloughing of meat inspectors.  Food stamps for Mexican illegals survived the Sequester, as did a program to advertise free food stamps for illegals in our consulates abroad.

Mr. Obama is a fierce competitor, but he misjudged his strategy, and now he is in full damage control mode.

*Sir Walter Scott: Marmion

Still Misunderstanding the Minimum Wage by The Elephant's Child

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at a hearing of the Senate HELP Committee, is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage. The question is always—do these leftys understand the minimum wage and its purpose, but owe so much to the unions that they will do their bidding, or are they just clueless?

Unions want a higher minimum wage because it pushes their lowest-paid workers into a higher wage bracket. It is, effectively, a youth unemployment act, for it makes fewer jobs available.

The minimum wage worker is a beginning worker with few skills. Very few Americans actually work at the federal minimum wage: it’s only about 2.9 percent of workers. In other words 97 percent of workers earn more.
Minimum wage increases reduce the number of entry-level minimum-wage jobs available — actually harming the workers the proponents of wage increases want to help the most. It’s one of those economic paradoxes.

More than half of minimum-wage workers are between the ages of 16 and 24. These young people tend to work part-time, a majority of them are enrolled in school at the same time, so the after-school burger-flipper is more probably a college student. A hike in the minimum wage mostly raises pay for suburban teenagers.

Over two-thirds of minimum wage workers earn a raise within a year. As they gain experience and  employment skills, they become more productive and contribute more to their employer. The jobs are the very first rungs on the employment ladder. There’s lots of room to climb.

Very few single parents work full-time in minimum wage jobs. The average family income of a minimum wage worker is more than $53,000 a year. Few workers at minimum wage jobs are the primary workers in their families.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) urged the country to “heed the president’s call” to raise the minimum wage. Ms. Boxer offers internships that provide “a valuable opportunity to see how a Senate office functions” according to her website. Interns are advised that they “should dress in a professional manner befitting the representative of a U.S. Senator at all times.” Her interns are unpaid.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “Interns in my Washington D.C. office work on a wide range of projects.” prospective applicants are told. But the young folks are on their own when it comes to expenses: “internships in my Ohio and Washington D.C. offices are unpaid. In addition, we are unable to reimburse you for parking and mileage.”

The White House too offers internships, famously. An internship is designed to mentor and cultivate today’s young leaders, strengthen their understanding of the Executive Office and prepare them for future public service opportunities” The pay is, of course, zero.

These young people come from well-to-do families who are able to fund their professional wardrobes and mileage and parking in order to gain professional skills.  Although I vaguely remember seeing something about the Labor Department making unpaid internships illegal. Laws don’t apply to Congress anyway, we know that.

Imagine your local fast-food restaurant. They are now required to prominently post the ingredients in each item with nutritional counts, which in many cases means redecorating. ObamaCare has forced them to provide health insurance unless the workers are part-time, which the government defines as 30 hours a week or less, or pay a fine. So most fast food places have reduced all their workers to part-time. Nice going, Mr. Obama. Now Obama wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour.

His excellency has gazed upon the  economy and found a raise for the peons to be good. With one hand he giveth and with the other he taketh away, and lo and behold, nothing improveth at all.

%d bloggers like this: