Unions are big businesses which seek to gain a monopoly in sales over a commodity (labor). As such, I completely fail to see why they should have even a gnat's breadth of help from the government in the marketplace. And yet they do. For example, in New York State, some groups are subject to hiring standards. These include paying "the prevailing wage", which always means the union wage. Of course, if you have to pay union wages, you may as well hire a union member, because, well, that's a nice business you've got, and you wouldn't want any accidents to happen to it, would you?
Fri, 27 Jun 2008
Mon, 23 Jun 2008
George Carlin passed away today. He was an amazingly funny storyteller and observer of life. At one point in my teens I had several of his sketches memorized. Well, not exactly memorized, as that would imply that I had put effort into trying to remember them. It was more that the cassette tapes were starting to wear out from the playing and replaying.
UPDATE: George Carlin didn't pass away. He FUCKING DIED! Ahem.
Mon, 16 Jun 2008
environmentalistsidiots are opining about the harmfulness
of bottled water to the environment. Unfortunately, in a democracy, even
idiots get to open their trap. Go read that article. It won't convince you
of anything you didn't know already. Perhaps some people drink bottled
water for the reasons they cavail against. There are other reasons for
preferring the services that come with bottled water.
The real problem here is that environmentalists don't understand that NOBODY sets out to harm the environment. Nobody wakes up thinking "yeah, I'm gonna go destroy some environment today." People do destroy various bits of the environment every day. So do animals, and in a non-sustainable way, too. Deer will eat themselves out of food.
Instead, people want services, services which inevitably end up destroying a part of the environment. People value these services more than the cost of the destroyed environment. Just as environmentalists are free to whine about how awful everyone is (not including themselves of course, even though they also prefer services to a perfectly protected environment), so, too, are people free to buy these services.
Tue, 10 Jun 2008
Looking for a way to understand global warming in just one sentence? Try this one on for size:
I find no value in any mention of human-caused CO2 global warming when there is no corresponding mention of the 2-3 degree 1500 year +-500 warming / cooling cycle.
Or, its more succinct version:
A fart on a farm isn't noticable.
Sat, 07 Jun 2008
Our lawmakers are saving us from reality yet again. I guess that means that they live in a fantasy world where bad things never happen and resources are never scarce (but given that they can raise taxes at will their resources are never scarce). Assemblyman Lafayette is one of them:
Lafayette's Price Gouging Statute Must be Strictly Enforced
When hurricanes strike, when floods, fire or ice storms ravage neighborhoods, a few unscrupulous businesses take advantage of vulnerable people by skyrocketing prices of essential consumer goods to make large profits. This was why Lafayette authored Chapter 510 of the laws of 1998, which strengthened the price gouging statute.
The huge increases in gasoline prices have a high profile with sometimes twice daily increases. But, let’s not forget about heating oil, natural gas and electricity.
The law originally stipulated that only retailers could be held accountable for gouging the price of consumer goods during times of crisis. Lafayette made the law more expansive to prohibit price gouging by any party within the chain of distribution of consumer goods including manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.
Unfortunately, there are some businesses who will increase the cost of essential consumer goods in times of crisis for their own benefit. When gasoline prices are at their highest levels in history and oil companies are reporting record profits, it raises a red flag. These companies, along with their suppliers and distributors, must be investigated to determine if there is any wrongdoing.
Price gouging is not an uncommon practice. It has occurred in New York City during previous hurricanes and floods. This law provides broad authority for the Attorney General to investigate businesses that may take advantage of vulnerable people. Lafayette believes that people need to be punished accordingly and the way to do this is to utilize this more encompassing law that works.
Now they're raising the fine for price gouging from $10,000 to $25,000 plus restitution, when they should be eliminating the fine and restitution entirely.
In a crisis, certain resources are scarce. They shouldn't be wasted, and they should go to the people who put the most value on them. The best way to discover who these people are, in a free-market society like America, is to let the price of the resource float. The people who have the highest use will be willing to pay the highest price.
This has several pleasant effects: first, it rewards people who have the good sense to keep these resources in stock, available for other people to use when the crisis hits. Second, it encourages other people to work really really hard to increase the supply of this scarce resource, because they know they'll be rewarded by high profits. Third, the higher the profit, the more the resource will flow into the area where it's badly needed, and the sooner the price will drop down to normal levels.
Instead of allowing gouging and its pleasant effects, our
are doing their best to eliminate these pleasant effects, and ensure that the
pain of a crisis lasts as long as possible.
Tue, 03 Jun 2008
Food is more important to your health than anything a doctor can do for you. Why don't we have a food insurance program?
Answer: because it would obviously be stupid. Now ... defend the health insurance system.
I didn't think you could. The reason we have employer-paid health insurance can be traced back to WWII wage and price controls. Desirable workers could not be paid more, but you could give them free health care. Employers did, and didn't stop when the wage controls went away.
Now we're stuck in the ridiculous situation of treating people like cars, doctors like car mechanics, and insurance companies like car owners. The car has no say in how much maintenance it gets, nor how much that maintenance costs. Consequently, it demands the best maintenance, price be damned. Any wonder that lots of people can't afford health care unless it's paid for by someone else?
Health care should be cheap and readily available, like food.
Sun, 01 Jun 2008
Chinese companies are starting to realize that their brand name is "Chinese", and that their brand is no better than the worse of their competitors. When one "Chinese" product contains lead, all "Chinese" products are equally harmed. Expect more Chinese companies to start pushing their brand names, as a way of standing behind the quality of their products.