American Elephants

The Left Once Again Gets All Excited Over Nothing. by The Elephant's Child

The Left has once again gone nuts. The Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Hobby Lobby case this morning. The issue was whether closely held companies such as Hobby Lobby could be forced by the government to provide abortifacient coverage to its employees, in defiance of its owners’ deeply held religious beliefs.

In a 5-4 ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other closely held companies do not have to provide contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the religious beliefs of the owners of the companies.

The government must provide religious accommodations to for-profit companies. The court ruled that the accommodations provided to non-profit religious organizations by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act also apply to for-profit companies.

All sorts of ideas here that are anathema to the Left: “for profit companies” — the Left really doesn’t believe in profit, and often believes that companies should not make a profit. They don’t get “deeply held religious beliefs.” And any hint that corporations are people takes them right back to Citizens United which brings on red-faced rage.

The decision applies only to “closely-held” companies not all corporations. It does not recognize a carte blanche right for all corporations. A publicly held corporation that trades on the stock market would not get the same protections.  Hobby Lobby has had no objection to providing insurance for contraceptives, 16 different kinds, but objects to providing abortifacient coverage, or the “morning after pill.”

In oral arguments, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor offered the argument that religious owners of a company could just drop coverage entirely. There would be a huge tax, but that’s just too bad, sometimes you have to pay hefty taxes. Hobby Lobby owners believe that they are compelled by their religious beliefs to provide health insurance to their employees, so that argument was no solution at all.

This is not an attack on women’s rights, nor an attack on women. I don’t see why insurance should be covering contraceptives at all. It only costs about $10 a month. If you want or need the “morning after pill” why should you not pay for it yourself? You can always refrain from unprotected sex.

The Left will try valiantly to make this a campaign issue. “Women’s health,” or “women’s reproductive health.” They will refine the language to make it more compelling.


The President Doesn’t Understand the Free Market! by The Elephant's Child

Forgive me, but this is so embarrassing. Barack Obama has just carefully explained that he has no understanding whatsoever of business. Like many leftists, he regards profit as something rather distasteful. The good things are when government retrains all those who have lost jobs due to private enterprise laying people off.  Government investing money to encourage investment, encourage innovation, those are good things, aren’t they?

The only reason for a business to exist is to earn a profit, whether for the sole businessman or for huge groups of investors. If there is no profit, the business cannot operate. You have to earn enough to pay expenses, and have a little left over to live on, and to keep the business going until the next day when the process begins again.

Without a profit, a business cannot pay the wages of the workers. Without wages, the workers cannot pay taxes. Without taxes, there in nothing with which to enable a government to exist.

All those wise bureaucrats in government are there because of the profit in private business. Their comfortable offices, fancy buildings, government cars and hefty salaries come from business profits distributed in wages to workers who pay taxes to support the government. The government has no money of its own. The whole caboodle is supported by a vast array of taxes and fees and payments and charges, regulations and mandates that come from the profits of ordinary people making voluntary exchanges in the hopes of making a profit. Profit is not a dirty word. It is the essential driving force.

Mr. Obama also misunderstands the job of a president. It is not his job to figure out how to retrain people who lose their jobs. Most of the job losses have been caused by government in the first place. The government does not care to admit it, but this recession was caused by government’s good intentions to get everybody into owning their own homes — whether they could afford it or not. That was the vast gasbag that puffed-up a vast housing bubble that the banks and mortgage industry and Wall Street tried to swallow, but in the end, couldn’t.

The government is remarkably unsuccessful at job training. There are currently 47 duplicative, or overlapping  job programs that are mot particularly successful. It is not a president’s job to retrain people, nor to pick companies to favor with taxpayer money, nor is it his job to pick winners and losers among businesses.  It is not the president’s job to decide what form of energy the country needs or should have. The market will decide. If the marketplace will not willingly pay for a newer or cleaner form of energy, then its time has not come. It is not a president’s job to decide what kind of cars we should drive nor if we should abandon our cars for some other form of transportation.

Our government is divided into three equal branches, for good and historically careful reasons. The powers of each branch are delineated in the Constitution. There are limits to the expansion of government allowed under the commerce clause. The Supreme Court is going to be kept very busy. It would be wise to read the fusty old document. that will be 275 years old this September. I know that the left believes that it should be a “living document” so they can adjust it to their very own tastes, but it is meant for all generations — not just the current temporary one. It has survived good generations and less good ones as well, and it will, with our help, survive this one.

The Goal of Business Is To Create Jobs? by The Elephant's Child

Investors Business Daily noted today  that a Rasmussen survey that was taken on August 20 and 21st found that 64% of the country thinks that the  most basic goal of businesses is “to create jobs for the overall economy.” Only 25% of the respondents to the poll understood that “the primary objective of a business” is “to create value for the shareholders.”

Jobs are probably the number one concern of Americans at this point. Even those who are happily employed probably know someone who is not, or at least are aware of shuttered storefronts and ‘for Rent’ signs on offices. So in a way it is not surprising that they should answer incorrectly.  But jobs are not created out of thin air, and businesses are not charities.

Business begins with an idea. Someone thinks he can make money with his idea. Unless he is independently wealthy, he must raise money to start. He has to sell his idea to people who will believe that his idea will create value. Those people will become shareholders, giving our idea man enough money to get a start, and he in turn, gives them shares or rights to future value.

With that financial backing he can hire people to do the jobs necessary to create the value promised to shareholders and continue to create value so they will continue to support him.  Investors will stick around only so long buoyed by hope for future profits. They expect to get their money back, with some more value thrown in to reward them for risking their money.

“Profit” is not a dirty word.  People have long been confused by the political left— academics and media people who simply do not understand the profit motive. A successful idea, well-implemented, can create many jobs, not only in their own offices, but in all the companies that supply a business: raw materials, shipping containers, computers, equipment, janitorial services, transportation, and so on; and the same increase happens in each of the suppliers’ businesses.  Free enterprise at work.  How is it possible to misunderstand so completely?

In early American times, most houses had a garden, an orchard, some livestock. Many were self-sufficient — until they needed something that their land could not provide.When they raised more than they needed for themselves, they could sell the excess to neighbors who did not have as much produce, and use the money to buy a buggy. If he grew a lot more than he needed, he might create a job for another man to help. With more income he might buy some more land to increase his income and hire more help.  We are talking about “profit” here. At what point does profit become a dirty word? And when does it become “excess profit?” Is our man’s wanting something not produced on his self-sufficient property “greed?” Of course it is.  And why not?

When our self-sufficient man gets a big idea and decides he will make buggies out in the barn, and gets friends to invest and hires helpers to train in buggy-making, he may be entering the industrial revolution, but is there something bad about his profit?  Who knows, maybe his grandson will become Henry Ford and invent the production line.

Do greed and profit only become dirty words when you post your business name on the internet? or when you get a neon sign and a letterhead?

The business of business is to turn a profit to create value for shareholders because that free enterprise process is how jobs are created. When a business grows, it hires, when it grows it enriches its suppliers who are creating value for their shareholders, and creating jobs, and so on.

Businessmen hope to create value for their shareholders, but that “greed,” that wish to create value may well also be a desire to create the world’s most perfect buggy, or i-pad.

So how do Democrats get so confused about how jobs are created? Why are they so troubled about profit, and greed, and value and free enterprise? If you look into backgrounds, it is easy to discover that many, if not most, have never had to meet a payroll, or work to turn a profit.


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