Friday, March 5, 2021

Minimum Wage = Fewer Jobs

 

MINIMUM WAGE = FEWER JOBS!

Written by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, March 5, 2021

Anything appearing in BLUE is a link to a web site

 

DISCLAIMER:  I am not an economist but I have on occasion demonstrated limited “common sense.” 

President Joe Biden said he was going to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour and so far, he is attempting to deliver on that promise. 

If you read ONLY the headline of that story, you might be like most Americans and declare, “It’s about time.”  But few if any headlines tell the entire story yet, Americans have become so accustomed to headlines and soundbites, few if any, actually read the entire story. 

$15.00 an hour in cities like New York, Los Angles, San Francisco, Chicago, etc. may sound like a great idea because the cost of living in those cities are so high.  But what about cities like Bogalusa, Morgan City, Pearl River, and even New Orleans where the cost of living is NOT at the same level as cities like New York?  What about the minimum wage in those cities?  Is the Federal Government going to MANDATE, REQUIRE, PENALIZE, employers in Pearl River, Louisiana by establishing how much they EACH MUST pay their employees as a starting salary regardless of skill levels and actual job performance?  Is that really what Americans want to see happen?  Is that what YOU really want done unto you? 

When did it become a common acceptance that a minimum wage was designed to support a family because that is the argument I constantly hear when people attempt to justify the increase?  I remember growing up as a kid that minimum wage meant that people like me were hired to perform minimum skilled jobs at a minimum wage because I had, are you ready?  MINIMUM SKILLS!  I also understood that as I became more proficient and was assigned more and more tasks to learn and perform well, my employer would occasionally raise my wages.  For the record, my first job in 1957 paid 60 CENTS an hour.  I was a stock boy in a local drug store.  

What would have happened to my $1.20 per hour wage that I began earning as I proved myself IF the government required my employer to pay all new employees $1.20 per hour, the same that I had started to earn through my job performance?  Would my employer raise my hourly wage?  Or would my employer just ask me to remain at the $1.20 per hour or I could leave the work place and look for work elsewhere?  Could or would my employer afford to pay all the new people $1.20 per hour and increase my pay to say $1.35 an hour to compensate me for something that I had already earned prior to the new minimum wage imposed on my employer? 

If an employer is mandated to raise their starting minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, employers will have no choice but to either RAISE the price they charge to consumers for their products and/or services or eliminate the number of employees they hire JUST TO BREAK EVEN WITH WHAT THEY NOW HAVE!  If an employee reduces the number of employees, that probably will adversely affect the services and/or products they sell which will adversely affect their profit margins.  THE EMPLOYERS OF AMERICA WILL LOSE EITHER WAY!  More importantly to people like Joe Biden who DEPEND upon tax dollar revenues coming to the Federal Government, fewer employees will equate to less tax revenues. If businesses were to close because of excess costs of doing business, that too means less tax dollars coming into the Federal Government.  AGAIN, EVERYONE LOSES.  And what about the teenagers and also the senior citizens who have come to depend on using minimum wage jobs to supplement their incomes?  They too are hurt. 

In short, wages should be driven by the market place, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  If an employer doesn’t want to pay people what they are worth based upon the work the employer demands they perform, people should choose NOT to work there and go elsewhere for work. 

REAL LIFE SITUATION:  The year was 1979 and the oil and gas industry in Southern Louisiana and Texas was booming.  I served in the U. S. Coast Guard at the time this situation occurred.  There was a huge demand for ships designed to service the offshore oil producing platforms.  They could not build the ships as fast as they could be sold.  What happened?  The MARKET took over.  Shipbuilders would put probable ship buyers on waiting lists for their ships to be built.  What happened next?  Ship buyers who were low on the list realized that they could “buy” their way to the top by offering money to buyers who were higher up on the list to switch places, much like what happens every April with the National Football League Draft.  If the DEMAND (MARKET) for the ship to be built exceeded the additional cost of moving up the list, the ship buyer determined that moving up the list was a prudent business decision, paid the money and moved up the list and received his or her new ship faster than had been expected. 

During this same period WELDERS became a premium skill trait.  Welders were desperately needed in shipyards to build ships and also in yards where the offshore rigs were being built.  Housing at that time in the Morgan City, Louisiana area, where I was assigned by the Coast Guard, was non-existent.  I eventually rented an apartment in the New Orleans area and drove U. S. Highway 90 back and forth from New Orleans to Morgan City EVERY DAY because I could not afford to buy a home nor could I find a home that I could afford to rent on my Coast Guard salary anywhere near Morgan City.  Other factors entered my decision to locate my family in New Orleans and I chose to drive the almost 100 miles one way, every work day. 

On my daily commute I would see full size road side billboards advertising for Shipyards needing welders and the billboards would include the hourly wage being offered to anyone signing up to work.  The very next billboard I would see would have a similar wage crossed out with a slightly higher wage roughly painted over.  It was that way the entire distance of my drive to Morgan City.  It was a case of SUPPLY AND DEMAND where the MARKET determined the wage structures. 

This is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of “the market” dictating what wages would be paid to people to do specific work.  The wages were determined by what the market would bear NOT by some politician sitting in Washington DC.  

Another PERFECT EXAMPLE of “the market” at work, occurs every day in every locale across the nation in the real estate market place.  People have bought and sold homes for hundreds of years.  How much is a home worth?  I can tell you by my own experience that in 1979, homes in the Morgan City, Louisiana were off the chart as compared to other areas of the country.  This was “the market” affect on the value of homes.  Were they actually worth as much as people paid for them?  They were to the people who bought them.  They were considerably higher than an equivalent home located in the New Orleans area just 100 miles away.  The point is obvious and well know to most people but not apparently to Washington politicians, THE MARKET BEST DETERMINES VALUE, not artificial price controls (minimum wages) set by politicians in Washington, DC. 

I don’t fully understand how “rent controls” are used in the New York area but my limited understanding is that THE government determines what is to be a "fair rent” for an apartment as compared to what the market could or would bear.  As real estate values in the New York City area began to significantly rise because of the increased commercial activity, rental values would also necessarily rise but NOT if the government imposed its control through “rent controls.”  Why would anyone buy a unit to rent if the government controlled what they could charge for the unit?  A prudent investor wouldn’t.  Property owners who already own the units are then stuck with the units collecting lower than market value rents and cannot sell because the incoming rents would not justify a property investor paying a high price for a unit that could not, by regulation, pay for itself through higher rents collected.  Dah!!!!! 

IT'S THE MARKET STUDPID!   It IS the “market” that should determine values and wages, not the government!!!!  How difficult is this to understand.  If someone never studies how businesses operate, they would have no understanding of how little profit is actually made by a great many businesses.  When one of the elements involved in the cost of doing business (minimum wages) increases, owners are left with FOUR choices.  ONE, they literally eat the losses they will incur thus lowering the profits they earn.  TWO, they hire fewer employees or they reduce the number of hours the employees work.  THREE, they pass the increased costs of doing business on to the paying customers.  Or FOUR, a combination of all three choices.   What would the most PRUDENT business decision be when the government increases your cost of doing business?  In my world, it would be to reduce the number of employees so you can afford to pay the increased wages to the fewer employees you have remaining on the workforce.  It may also mean using automation instead of humans to do the work which we have seen occur in fast food restaurants. Ultimately that would most likely result in less customer service to potential paying customers; not a good outcome.  If I keep the total number of employees and pay them the government mandated wages, I would be forced to increase the price of my product or service to the paying customers, again not a good solution for future business profits.  As a business owner I lose no matter what choice I make created by GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN MY BUSINESS OPERATION!!!!! 

The ONLY people, certainly not you, who think that it is a good idea for the GOVERNMENT to raise the minimum wage or get involved in establishing wages at all, are people who have come to rely upon the government for their income or benefits.  GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION leads to more and more SOCIALIST policies dictated by “the government.”  The more such policies are put into effect, the less freedom everyone enjoys in their daily lives.  Government Intervention, as F. A. Hayek so aptly describes in his book The Road to Serfdom, (written in 1943) leads to Socialism and Socialism eventually leads to Communism, there is no other choice once a country starts down that road. 

Interesting question.  If you believe that the government should REQUIRE an employer to pay an employee a minimum wage, what would keep that same government from establishing a MAXIMUM limit on what a person could earn.  What would that do to CEOs, Hollywood Elites, Professional Athletes, sales people earning commissions on their sales?  For example, would a professional kicker in the National Football League be permitted to earn in excess of 7 Million Dollars for a job that takes less than 5 to 10 minutes of playing time in each game played?  Or, how much money would be considered to be too much money for a very successful real estate agent to make selling real estate?  Where is the government mandate for that grossly OVERPAID individual? 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Foster Home to the White House

 

From the Foster Home to the White House

Written by Terrence K. Williams

Reviewed by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, January 28, 2021


Disclaimer:  I have been a fan of Terrence Williams and all of his very funny posts on social media mocking current events for the past 2 years.  I did not know about his youthful days and the difficulties he experienced before I began reading about his life.  This book was an eye-opener, at least for me. 

If you watched the movie DAS BOAT or read the book, the one aspect that came across loud and clear was that most of the time the German sailors spent underwater was extremely monotonous and boring. The first half of Williams book at first seems to be repetitive but that is exactly the point he desires to make regarding the turmoil in a very young boy’s life when they are brought into this world by a mother addicted to drugs and alcohol.  The repeating of his treatment and the treatment of his many siblings is exactly the point of his book.  To the young mind like his, there should have been no hope of ever escaping the abuse or looking forward to a brighter future.  Just more of the same, day to day to day.  

The title of Williams’ book nails it.  Williams went from the depths of living in total poverty, not knowing where his next meal and clean clothes would come from, to sitting next to the President of the United Stated in the White House.  This is a book about The American Dream and how it is available to anyone who sets out to achieve it in spite of their good or bad life stories.  

Williams story is heartbreaking to say the least.  He relates his ultimate success in believing in the will of God even when Williams gave God every reason to abandon him.  While on his way to meet President Trump, Williams was involved in a very serious auto accident that resulted in a broken neck when he spent all of 2019 in recovery.  His life story, thus far, is compelling and well worth reading.  Many within the Black Community will undoubtedly take exception to his beliefs and HAVE taken exception to his position on advancing the wellbeing of Blacks and freeing them from the status quo of governmental dependency as evidenced by the many vial death threats he has received because of   his beliefs and positions.  This is a book about making choices, achieving what you want to achieve in spite of roadblocks thrown in your way to distract you.  

Who should read this book?  Everyone but especially any young child currently living in the foster care system

Would I read it again?  Probably not but not because it is not worthy of a second read, just not necessary.

Would I give it as a gift?  ABSOLUTELY!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

NO MORE FIRST AMENDMENT!

 

NO MORE FIRST AMENDMENT

By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, January 8, 2021


In the outside chance that you are NOT familiar with the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, 

I have repeated it below:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

There are actually THREE methods by which we could see the erosion of the First Amendment, one could be done by Congress through legislation which would definitely be in violation of the U. S. Constitution. A second method is currently being exercised by Local and State Governments through executive actions (as compared to state legislative actions) by restricting what people can do and where they can go like to church all in the name of a pandemic.  The third method is even more alarming.

 

We recently saw thousands upon thousands of Americans meet in Washington, D.C. to protest what they believed was a fraudulent 2020 national election.  You can believe whatever you wish to believe based upon whatever “facts” you choose to read or listen to, that is NOT the point I wish to make.  Congress has NOT passed any laws prohibiting free speech or the right to assemble, at least not yet.  Americans, supported by the main stream news media, HAVE used the their new found “cancel culture” to do what Congress and the Media could not. 

 

I watched a local news program last evening describe how a retired owner of a large grocery chain, Rouses, here in the New Orleans area, was seen participating in the protest held in Washington.  The report’s tone would suggest that he was breaking some law by attending.  The report may not have been quite that direct but the message it was sending was quite clear, “how dare this New Orleans business man (being retired didn’t seem to matter to the reporter) attend a predominantly Republican led protest in Washington, D.C.?”  The reporter then switched to a reporter in the field to interview people in the parking lot of a local Rouses Supermarket to get their opinions regarding the RETIRED owner’s decision to partake of his First Amendment RIGHT to attend the protest. The reporter made no mention of his decision being his RIGHT GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION!  Instead, the reporter made him sound guilty of taking part in the riots that also took place as if HE was part of the group rioting in the Capital Building; he was not.  In fact, he left the protests long before any of the rioting took place. The same field reporter then asked one woman sitting in her car what she planned on doing about it to which she responded, “I guess I’ll turn my car around.”  The reporter took it upon himself to literally declare war against Rouses Supermarket and the over 7000 Rouses employees who depend upon the grocery chain for THEIR income.  The reporter is not going to lose his income over his report but if business fails, those employees’ income may ultimately be adversely affected!

 

No mention was made by the reporter of the thousands upon thousands of people who PEACEABLY protested and only focused on the very small group by comparison who actually broke the law and vandalized the Capital Building.  It was one of the most one-sided stories I can recall ever seeing broadcast on our local news.  It’s called CANCEL CULTURE.  Politicians, news reporters and people in general have been engaging in attempting to cancel out people who do not agree with them on just about any subject you care to consider.  If you are a Republican, you want to cancel out all voices from the Left.  If you are a Democrat, you want to cancel out all voices from the Right.  If you are on the Right of the political spectrum, you believe that ONLY the Left is doing it, in all honesty, it certainly appears to be that way given the last 4 years of the Trump Administration.   If you are on the Left you believe ONLY the right is doing it.  In fact, both sides are doing it but I believe that at this moment in time, it has become a vicious and evil tool of the Left.

 

Vladimir Lenin famously described the term “useful idiots” as: 

 

In political jargon, a useful idiot is a derogatory term for a person perceived as propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending the cause's goals, and who is cynically used by the cause's leaders.

 

Americans have become the “useful idiots”, willingly or unwillingly, carrying the water for those people in our society who want to banish all forms of free speech when it does not agree with the beliefs of “those people” as well as banning “peaceful protests” when the protests are not in alignment with the beliefs of “those people.”  American Useful Idiots have in fact accomplished what those on the Government’s Left could not do, nullify the first amendment by shaming everyone who does not agree with those on the Left.  Immediately following the DC riots, we saw Republicans who were on record as going to vote against certifying some of the electorial votes because of potential fraud, suddenly change their vote because they were shamed into changing their vote.  If there was fraud, you would think EVERY politician would want it to stop but that obviously is not the case.  You may find an isolated case of someone from the Right doing such things but the predominance of this behavior is definitely coming from the Left and far more importantly being reinforced by repeated news media broadcasts and commentaries.  The Bill of Rights has been under attack by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for decades because the Bill of Rights is a definite threat to their power and access to the millions of dollars that have enriched their personal lives and the lives of their families. 

 

You may not agree with this assessment, frankly, I don’t give a damn what you think!  I believe it to be true.  I also am well aware that in 1965 I took an oath to defend, with my life if necessary, the Constitution of the United States.  I only wish the members of Congress would pay more attention to the oath THEY all took to do the same. 

 

At the current rate, our personal rights and freedoms WILL become a thing of the past.  Like it or not, those rights and freedoms are what have made America what it is, a fantastic place to live.  It has also made it a target of Communism and Socialism as well as a destination goal for millions from around the world as a place they desire to live.  People want to live here because of those rights and freedoms, the very rights and freedoms that American Useful Idiots are actively trying to destroy.

 

I am afraid that the Useful Idiots will eventually win out because not only do they have politicians on the Left pushing the agenda, they have the main stream media also pushing the agenda AND more importantly Left supporting local, state and Federal judges.  The fix is in and most people have no clue what they are doing.  The elites of the world have wanted a one-world-government even before WWII.  The ONE country that stood in the way of that happening was America and more importantly Americans. Sadly, that is all changing before our very eyes.  Communist China, Communist Russia, Communist North Korea and don’t be fooled by the Islamic roots, Communist Iran and others ARE working together to take America down and they are doing it WITH the help of American Useful Idiots!

 

I truly feel sorry not only form my own family and family to be, I also feel very sorry for countries like Great Britain, France, Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and many other freedom loving countries because if America ever is lost to Socialism/Communism, there will be no one to stand in the way of their eventual Communist domination.

 

Are you a Useful Idiot?  If you answered no, are you sure?