The Cost of the Minimum Wage


There’s a push to raise the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Of course, the actual cost to an employer will be greater. For example, the employer’s share of the FICA tax on $15 is 93 cents, and there will be other additional expenses. But for the this exercise, let’s use $15.93 an hour as the employer’s cost. What will happen to a marginally skilled employee who provides less than $15.93 of value to the business and whose presence is a net loss to the employer?

Let’s not always see the same hands.

The real effect of a minimum wage is not to make it illegal to pay workers less than some arbitrary wage. Instead, it outlaws the participation of marginally skilled workers in the on-the-books economy, forcing them to work in the shadow economy.

BTW, some politicians see that result as a feature rather than a bug.

Who Did What?


Yesterday in DC was a mess. While it appears that most of the folks participating in the various Stop the Steal gatherings were well-behaved and peaceful, there were exceptions, most notably at the Capitol. Who were the people rioting at the Capitol?

It’s been suggested that the whole thing was a false flag operation designed to turn public opinion against the Stop the Steal demonstrations. While it’s possible that there were leftwing provocateurs in the crowd, it seems that most of the rioters at the Capitol weren’t leftists. I’ve seen the suggestion that they were Alex Jones fans. That may be closer to an accurate description.

I suspect that a substantial number of frustrated Deplorables have looked at the rules that have been applied to Antifa and BLM and have decided that those they should act out under those same rules. The Old Rules required a decent respect for public order and the common good. The New Rules are about grabbing and holding on to power by any means necessary.

Yesterday’s riot reminded me of this scene from the movie Network

That’s from 1976, a low point during the Watergate/Oil Embargo/Stagflation era. Since then, things got worse and then got better but are now worse again for many Americans. It’s not hard to imagine someone making that speech in 2020.

[Mixed metaphor alert!]

The Left has uncorked several bottles over the past four years, and some rather evil genies are now on the loose. As a result, Our Betters are going have to deal with the corollary of Murphy’s Law that says once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen. I wish I were wrong.

I’m Confused


After ending a prayer with the word awomen [autocorrupt really fights me when I try to type that word], the Democrats imposed a new rule on the House of Representatives that eliminates the use of such “gendered” words as mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle.

So are they for celebrating the biological differences between the sexes, or are they insisting that we’re all the same and the differences are socially constructed?

Or will they also end prayers with words like atrannie?

2020 has turned 21 and is now drinking openly.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know


A Democrat representative who is allegedly an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church concluded a prayer he led in the House of Representatives with the word “awomen.” [Note: The term is so wrong that I’m having to fight with autocorrupt to get it typed into this post.]

I’m so old, I was taught to conclude my prayers with the word “amen” (Hebrew אָמֵן). The English word amen can be an adverb, interjection, or verb, and those parts of speech are genderless in English. It can also be a noun (a synonym for truth), and as a noun, its gender is neuter.

Grammar is hard.

Don’t Let Your Mouth Write a Check …


Legal Insurrection reports that Iran has been making public threats against the life of President Donald Trump. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the airstrike that killed Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani, and the Iranian government is plainly stating that they intend to take revenge by killing the President.

On Friday, Iran’s judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, warned that President Trump and members of his administration will “not be safe on earth” as the regime marked Soleimani’s death.

“Do not presume that someone, as the president of America, who appeared as a murderer or ordered a murder, may be immune from justice being carried out. Never,” Raisi said. “Those who had a role in this assassination and crime will not be safe on Earth.”

Tehran could hit President Trump on American soil, Soleimani’s successor Esmail Ghaani suggested. “It’s even possible that there are people inside your home [the U.S.] that will respond to your crime,” he said on Friday.

This strikes me as a sign of desperation on the part of the Iranian government. Their economy is free fall, collapsing not only because of sanctions but also because American energy policy has held the price of oil at levels well below what Iran needs.

I doubt that the Iranians will be able to carry out their threat successfully. Their mouths have written a check that their asses can’t cash. However, I’m afraid that they will not learn the proper lesson from that failure—that they should moderate their behavior. Their evil brew of politics and religion won’t permit that. Rather, they will further convinced of the need to acquire nuclear weapons and use them.

I fully expect the Xiden/Harris administration will take the steps necessary to remove restraints from the Iranian weapons program.

2020 has turned 21 and has started drinking.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know


The Girl Scouts are suing the Boy Scouts. As part of their”gender-inclusive” programming, the Boy Scouts have change their name to Scouts BSA. The Girl Scouts have filed suit over trademark concerns, contending in the suit that the Boy Scouts’ rebranding would be “uniquely damaging” to Girl Scout operations. The Girl Scouts claim in the filing that the Boy Scouts’ gender-inclusive rebranding has led to “rampant” confusion among parents who are unsure which organization their children should join.

Don’t Know Much Biology


The New England Journal of Medicine has published a paper titled Failed Assignments — Rethinking Sex Designations on Birth Certificates which claims that designating a child’s sex on a birth certificate can be harmful. Here’s the paper’s abstract.

Sex designations on birth certificates offer no clinical utility, and they can be harmful for intersex and transgender people. Moving such designations below the line of demarcation wouldn’t compromise the birth certificate’s public health function but could avoid harm.

Boys and girls grow and develop at different rates and in different ways. I am not a physician, but it seems to me that knowledge of a child’s normally expected development should have real clinical utility and that ignoring it could be a form of malpractice.

BTW, neither of the two physicians among the paper’s authors is a pediatrician. The third author is a lawyer.

Titania McGrath was unavailable for comment.

A Second Amendment Victory


The ATF has backed down in the face of overwhelming negative public comment and substantial Congressional pressure and is withdrawing its proposed “guidance” relating to pistols equipped with arm braces. The ATF posted the following:

Upon further consultation with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, ATF is withdrawing, pending further Department of Justice review, the notice and request for comments entitled “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’,” that was published on December 18, 2020. 85 FR 82516. As explained in the notice, the proposed guidance was not a regulation. The notice informed and invited comment from the industry and public on a proposed guidance prior to issuing a final guidance document.

The withdrawal of the guidance does not change any law, regulation, or other legally binding requirement.

Over 48,000 public comments had been received in less than a week, and over 90 Representatives and Senators (including Cocaine Mitch) had contacted the ATF questioning the legal basis for the guidance.

Given the substantial number of new gun owners over the past year, it will be interesting to see how much political capital the Xiden administration is willing to spend on suppression of Second Amendment rights.

We Live In Alternate Worlds


That headline is a quote from one of three pieces I’ve read over past few days that have set me to worrying about the next few weeks. It’s from a post at The Washington Times by Newt Gingrich. He was writing about the difficulty he had explaining to a liberal friend why he was not accepting Joe Xiden’s election as legitimate.

The challenge is that I — and other conservatives — are not disagreeing with the left within a commonly understood world. We live in alternative worlds.

Indeed. While not all conservatives are practicing Christians, the philosophical underpinning of mosts conservatives’ worldview is grounded in the Judeo-Christian belief in an absolute standard of Truth and the principles of logical reasoning handed down from Greece. As I wrote in an email to David French discussing his latest French Press essay which was titled Why They Hate Us:

I wonder if it’s not the case that the Christian worldview that holds that there is an objective standard of Truth and that each of us is personally accountable for our actions leads to some of the differences in the opinions shown in the data you reference. That’s not to say that Evangelical Christians always reason correctly from the teaching of the Bible, but that the place we start from is so disconnected from marxist/neomarxist/postmodern thought that we aren’t in the same conversation as those who hate us. We’re talking at each other rather than to each other, giving different answers because we understand the questions differently.

If we cannot engage with our political opponents logically—and if they insist on making everything a power contest—then we either must get up from the table and leave the game, or we must beat them at their own game. Neither choice appeals to me.

Which brings me to the third piece, a post by Carol Brown at American Thinker. It catalogs the misdeeds of the Left over the last few years and forecasts even worse behavior to come. It’s a call to active resistance.

Who is willing to put it all on the line to save this nation?

Who among us is willing to go to jail?  Who is willing to be injured, or killed, should we attend a protest or engage in civil disobedience and find ourselves attacked without police protection?

Who is willing to travel to Washington, D.C. on January 6 to attend what could be a historic protest scheduled for the same day the joint session of Congress meets to make the Electoral College votes official?

Will the Million MAGA March on 6 January turn into something akin to the 2013/2014 EuroMaidan demonstrations in Kyiv? The incident at the Oregon State Capitol yesterday certainly shows that some on the Right are losing patience with a system they believe treats them unfairly.

I’m trying hard to be optimistic, but 2021 is starting to look even uglier than 2020.

A Failure of Our Betters to Do Good


Note: This is a guest post by Dianna Deeley who has recently joined Stacy McCain and me as a full-time member of The Other Podcast crew. Dianna operates a consulting business that provides advice to not-for profits organization.

A friend of mine linked this story on Facebook—it’s the story of what another friend describes as the “Make It Very, Very, Wrong Foundation.”

Brad Pitt’s Make it Right was established in 2008 to rebuild the 9th Ward of New Orleans, a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The mission statement from Make it Right’s 2015 990-PF (the last 990 available) reads: Development of affordable green homes in economically challenged areas. Just as an aside, $130,000 seems a little steep for an affordable home.

Ground was broken on the first homes in 2008, and by 2015 Make It Right had spent over $26 million on the development. Building stopped by early 2016, as complaints about the design and construction of some of the houses began to surface.

Award-winning architects were turned loose, and a “green” builder was hired. At a minimum, $26 million has been spent, and at least two of the houses have been demolished, with complaints being lodged over the design and construction of the rest. Lawsuits are flying. Neighbors are furious, and residents would like some repairs done.

This is an utterly predictable fiasco. The intentions were great; the money was no object; the development was going to be a great and glorious topic of discussion at Hollywood cocktail parties; and all would be well. It’s drearily predictable—all sizzle, no steak.

If the endeavor had started with a little humility, and worked with agencies that build affordable homes (offhand, there’s Habitat for Humanity and Mercy Housing South), some respect for Murphy, and some serious due diligence, this might have been money well-spent. Unleashing celebrity architects to create a bunch of blue-sky designs was a terrible thing—the buildings may be architecturally stunning, but don’t serve the needs of people who are living in them. Finally, it would have been wise to hire the construction firms who build upper middle class housing in the area.

Instead, the COO hired to run the show is an authority on renewable energy and has an MBA in finance (which is reassuring when very large amounts of money are being slung about!) but no previous construction experience. In other words, they hired someone who would have been a terrific consultant for energy efficiency but is the wrong choice to be in charge of the foundation.

There was a construction manager. I cannot discover what he was managing during construction, because on completion, the roofs leaked, the foundations … weren’t foundational, the gas meters were installed improperly, and the buildings started rotting pretty much immediately. This is not good management.

Also, when a new, green, product is offered (See: TimberSIL), it might be wise, rather than leaping on it with great enthusiasm, perhaps to test it initially on one building, like, say, a community center, in which no one lives. When you know how well it works, consider using more of it. But no one ever seems to have mentioned this concept to the foundation.

There are about 385 non-government funders who give in the New Orleans area, at least 50 of which build housing as part of their mission. No, the Make It Right’s board wouldn’t have gotten as many plaudits on their wonderful, daring new buildings, but the houses would not be falling down about the owners’ ears, and there would not be any lawsuits. Or, given the way we operate these days, at least a lot fewer lawsuits! If they’d actually built houses right, the foundation’s board could still be looking for new and wonderful projects that need the kind of money and clout that a foundation like Make It Right should have.

UDATE—Some typos corrected.

Losing Their Grip


Our Betters were surprised in 2016 when all those Deplorables voted the wrong way. They don’t seem to understand that it was their multiple failures to keep up their end of the American social contract that led to the 2016 revolt. While they may have executed a tactically successful counterstrike in 2020, I don’t believe they’ve put the strategic assets in place to properly regain and sustain their control.The analogy to the end of the Europeans’ control of their African and Asian colonies is useful, if inexact. The Europeans were tired after the war, and they were split by significant internal divisions. Their internal struggles made them less able to maintain control of their overseas possessions. I suspect that similar internal struggles on the Left will impede their elites attempts to restore their vision of normalcy. The turf wars between BLM and more mainstream democrats or between the Squad and the old guard in Congress (or the TERF war between the feminists and the LGBTQs) will sap the Left’s ability to enforce their will on increasingly rebellious Deplorables.

2021 is going to be interesting. And very, very ugly.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know


Blazing Cat Fur reports that a San Francisco school named for Abraham Lincoln will be renamed “because the former president did not demonstrate that ‘black lives mattered to him’.” The district plans to remove other names from schools including George Washington, Herbert Hoover, and Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein’s name will be stricken because she allowed the Confederate flag to fly outside City Hall back in 1984 when she was mayor.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know


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