Monday, May 31, 2021

75,600,000 reasons California Governor Gavin Newsom Will Escape Recall

Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall election. He’s earned it as the second coming of recalled Governor Gray Davis. He is boring, boring, boring – totally uninspiring! Totally hypocritical second only to Michigan’s Governor Whitmer for violating Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the general public. His dinner soirĂ©e with lobbyists at the Napa Valley French Laundry in November. Prix Fixe meals start at $450.00. A contest between California’s Gavin Newsom, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and New York’s Andrew Cuomo for America’s worse governor would be close, but Gavin Newsom would win. Governor Gavin Newsom announced a budget surplus of $75.6 billion, a hundred fifty billion improvement from the projected $54 billion deficit a year ago. An additional $27 in stimulus money is scheduled to come from the federal government, He called it “California’s Comeback Plan.” He calls it “a historic transformational budget,” which sounds like President Biden. He said California roars back. The braggadocio governor exclaimed: “This is a generational budget – a historic budget.” Pie in the sky, manna from Heaven, dropped on California. A Constitutional Amendment in California requires tax revenues exceeding a high level shall be returned to taxpayers. What to do? What to do? The answer is obvious: Spend, Spend, Spend! $75.6 billions buys a lot of votes in a recall election, a little less than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in California. To quote Representative Ilhan Omar “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” stealing the lines from a Puff Daddy song. Spend, Spend, Spend! Buy, Buy, Buy votes. State law require s a refund to taxpayers in the rare times, such as now, that the revenues exceed convoluted formula. The sound practice would be to lower tax rates, but this is California. The public employee unions only support tax increases. Some legislators are proposing more personal and corporate tax increases. Let’s start with the $12 billion tax rebate. The Governor is scared of the recall. He proposes therefore to give a refund of $600 to taxpayers, $1,100 if they have children, to those with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less – roughly 2/3 of California taxpayers. The refunds will go to all qualified, including undocumented immigrants, about the same time as the recall election. He’s proposing $$3.4 billion for free pre-K for four-year olds. Obviously the payments will be sent before the fall recall election. Ads are running: “Newsom is delivering money to your pocket” It continues: “Newsom is delivering money to your pocket. And free K-f for every California child. … Gov. Newsom is just getting started.” There should be a law against blatantly using taxpayer/public money to buy votes, but this is California. The $100 billion change in California’s fortunes came from the demagogued 1%ers, mostly in Silicon Valley. $1 billion to extend Medical to undocumented residents over 65, to come strictly out of state funds. $12 billion for the homeless. $8.75 billion for 46,000 units, which comes to $192,000 per unit. Los Angeles has already blown over $1 billion on the homeless, building. Examples include building 39 tiny homes of 400sf@$130,000 and 2 larger projects with each unit costing $750,000 each. A $1.2 billion bond issue was supposed to provide for 10,000 units for the homeless. The money was squandered. The prevailing wage laws, litigation, and bureaucracy devoured homeless money. Excessive studies, planning, public relations, and lawyers are a constant cost in California government projects. For example, the Governor wants $4.2 billion for the Bullet Train. Voters approved a $8 billion bond with representations of an estimated cost of $33 billion. The new estimate is over $100 billion. The $4.2 billion is technically being released by the Governor from the bond issue. As of now the goal is to complete the segment between Bakersfield and Merced in the Central Valley, the easiest part oof the line. The costs to date greatly exceed the bond limits. Then we have Irvine’s Great Park. The Navy turned over the closed El Toro Marine Base to the city. The County wanted to turn the airfield into an international airport. Voters rejected the airport. Opponents offered the 4,682 acre base as The Great Park with $200 million seed money. The money’s been spent. What’s left is a balloon ride that goes straight up and back down. Billions for local transit and $3.2 billion for zero emissions vehicles to prepare for global warming and rising sea levels. $11 billion for underfunded government pension plans – a long overdue contribution to the underwater pension plans. $1.2 for wildfire prevention. $500 million for grade separations and grade crossing improvements. $5.1 billion for drought, water infrastructure, and climate change. $2 billion for renters for back rent and utilities payments and going forward. The moratorium on eviction ends on June 30. A United States Census Bureau survey in December found 1.9 million living in rental homes were delinquent in their rents. $300 million for traffic fine relief. $1.5 billion in grants for small busines; obviously the ones that survived the lockdown, but perhaps for new start-up businesses. Who knows? $7 billion for broadband access to underserved communities. $1 billion for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Of course, in true political smoke and mirrors. There is no $76 billion surplus. Half of it is restricted to K-14 education, K-12 and two years of community colleges. The state’s K-12 funding will come to $14,000/student. Thus, he’s allocating $5 billion for after school and summer school programs for school districts with high concentrations of under privileged students. That reduces the $76 billion surplus in half to $38 billion. Second, he is drawing $12 billion from reserves and borrowing to jack up spending in the short term. Now we’re down to $26 billion plus the stimulus funds. $53 billion is still substantial. Spend, Spend, Spend! Why not lower tax rates and give back to all taxpayers? His proposed budget is a 33% increase in spending from the current $202 billion. Once upon a time, to quote the “California Dreaming Was Becoming a reality.” Now it in exodus. Once upon a time, not that many years ago, one had to pay a large surcharge to U-Haul to rent a truck to California. The opposite is true today. U-Haul charges substantially more to rent a truck leaving California. The population officially dropped by 182,083 last year. The net migration out of California has exceeded the in-migration for several years, 135,000 last year. California’s population continued to increase until last year because of a high birth rate and immigration, not always documented. Did I mention that Gavin Newsom is also disingenuous and incompetent?

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Thomas Jefferson's 1618 Excised Words From the Declaration of Independence That Changed America for the Worse

Thomas Jefferson has become a divisive figure in American History. We celebrate him because he wrote The Declaration of Independence and its soaring words “All Men Are Created Equal.” We celebrate him because he was outspoken against slavery and banned the importation of slaves into the United States, the Atlantic Slave Trade. The Woke Generation condemns Thomas Jefferson because the opponent of slavery was an ardent slaveowner who repeatedly impregnated a slave. The hypocrite’s actions did not match his words. He also thought blacks were mentally inferior to whites. He opposed the institution of slavery, but sold slaves to raise money since he was continuously in debt. He wrote in 1785 in his book Notes on the State of Virginia: “There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.” He also said: “I advance it therefore, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time or circumstances are inferior to the whites in the endowments of both body and the mind.” All of the above describe the public Thomas Jefferson, who was trapped between three strong crosswinds. First was his lifetime hatred of the institution of slavery. Second was his impecunious nature which trapped him in the plantation society built around slavery. The third was the realization that America was not ready to abolish slavery during his lifetime. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first Southern leaders to oppose slavery. He thought slavery was abhorrent, but in his lifetime only freed two slaves and only five more in his will out of the over 600 slaves he had possessed during his lifetime. By way of contrast, George Washington, George Wyche, John Randolph and other slaveowners freed as many slaves as they could in their wills. His estate sold 130 slaves after his death to cover his debts. He opposed the slave trade, believing the elimination of the slave trade would lead to the end of slavery. The slave trade was banned, but the value of existing slaves rose. Their fertility increased the number of slaves in the United States. He hoped that slavery would disappear over time, but realized land and slaves were the largest capital investments. Every slave reaching adulthood was a valuable asset. Slaves were wealth. The drafters of the Constitution included a ban on Congress acting to restrict the slave trade for 20 years. President Jefferson signed on March 2, 1807 a ban on the international slave trade to go into effect on January 1, 1808, the first time allowed by the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, the opponent of slavery, drafted the Declaration of Independence. His draft contained 168 words that would have changed the course of slavery in America. We read today: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to with another…… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….” Then came a long list of grievances against King George III. Thomas Jefferson’s draft contained these 168 words: “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers is the warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase their liberty of which he has deprived them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the Liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.” Whose hands deleted these words? We don’t know, but Jefferson thought it was Georgia and South Carolina. These 168 words, had they remained in the Declaration of Independence, would have forced the drafters of the Constitution to squarely face the legitimacy of slavery rather than entering into compromises masked by circuitous language. A national reckoning would have occurred long before the Civil War. Thomas Jefferson took steps to limit the spread of slavery nationally and in Virginia. His proposed Ordinance of 1784 would have banned slavery outside the original 13 states in 15 years. It failed, but the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 three years later banned slavery in the Northwest Territory. The states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota entered the Union as free states. Thomas Jefferson in Virginia unsuccessfully in 1776 proposed a phrase in the draft new Virginia Constitution which stated: “No person hereafter coming into this country shall be held within the same in slavery under any pretext whatever.” The Virginia General Assembly in 1778 banned importing slaves into Virginia. On the other hand, he approved the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, recognizing the rights of the French and Spanish slaveholders in the territory. The population in the Louisiana Purchase was about 60,000 with half being slaves. The purchase included the future states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma as well as parts of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wyoming Thomas Jefferson in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1795) said of blacks: “Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me, that in memory they are equal to whites, in reason much inferior as I think once could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” He further did not believe that whites and free blacks with the end of slavery could live together: “Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate that these people [negroes] are to be free. Nor is it less certain that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit, opinion has drawn indelible lines of distinction between them.” He added: “Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; 10,000 recollections by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of one race or the other.” His early proposal was to gradually free the slaves. Existing slaves would remain slaves, but their children would be emancipated, educated and upon reaching adulthood be colonized outside the United States. He wrote in a 1814 letter: “There is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity.” He had great trepidations near the end of his life over the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Missouri was part of the Louisiana Purchase. It wished to enter the Union as a slave state, which would have extended slavery out west. The compromise was that Maine would enter as a free state and Missouri as a slave state, retaining the balance between free and slave states, the North and the South, 12 states each. In addition, no new slave states would enter the Union north of 3630’, the southern border of Missouri. The former President viewed the Missouri Compromise as a “fire bell in the night,” calling it “the knell of the Union. It is hushed indeed for the moment, but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence ….” He opposed dividing the nation into free and slave states. The prescient President recognized in a 1820 letter to John Holmes “a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him or safely let him go.” The general, but nor unanimous, consensus today, supported by DNA, is that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Sally Hemings children. His personal relationship with his slave Sally Hemings adds to his disgrace. He was not the first nor the last planter to have sexual relations with a slave. Indeed, John Wayles, his father-in-law, was not only the father of his wife Martha Wayles, but also of Sarah Hemings, the half-sister of Martha. Sally’s enslaved mother, Betty, was, depending on the reports, either a full-blooded slave or mulatto. Sally gave birth to six children by Thomas Jefferson, four of whom survived to adulthood. Her children by the President were either three quarters or 7/8 white. They were still slaves! Thomas Jefferson was locked into, in a sense enslaved, by slavery for financial reasons. One skill he lacked was sound financial management. Debt was a constant problem because the income from Montecito did not cover his expenses. He inherited 11,000 acres, 135 slaves and $4,000 in debt from his father-in-law in 1757. He sold half the land and several slaves to cover the debt, but debt was a recurring problem for him. Virginia recognized slaves as chattels with value. Thomas Jefferson mortgaged 52 slaves and pledged an additional 98 slaves as collateral security for personal loans. His estate was over $107,000 ($2 million in current dollars) in debt. Debts legally had to be paid before assets distributed. The estate sold 130 slaves to pay off the debt. Thomas Jefferson’s problem, and America’s heritage, is that be abhorred slavery throughout his adult life, but was personally locked into slaveholding for economic reasons. He recognized as a politician that the country was not ready to abolish slavery, so he abandoned efforts to end it. The Philadelphia Association for the Abolition of Slavery was founded on April 14, 1775. 17 of the first 24 regular attendees were Quakers. Benjamin Franklin, once owner of three slaves, was elected president of the society in 1785. He petitioned Congress in 1790 to ban slavery. The petition went nowhere. The north eastern states, excluding the border states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri gradually phased out slavery prior to the Civil War joining the Midwest states. The United States had 19 Free States and 15 Slave Trades at the onset of the Civil War. The nation was essentially split along the Mason Dixon Line. The North was growing in population and building an industrial base while the South remained a plantation economy. The young Thomas Jefferson, the enfant terrible Thomas Jefferson fought at both the national level and in Virginia to extirpate the mortal sin of slavery. He failed, America failed, because America was not ready to abolish slavery. It required a later generation of political leaders, Abraham Lincoln, the new Republican Party, and hundreds of thousands of young Americans dying to free the slaves four decades after Thomas Jefferson’s death. He failed to end slavery, but stopped the Atlantic Slave Trade. His words "All Men Are CReated equal" set out out a marker for the United States. He fought the good fight against slavery, but moved on realizing it was futile in his lifetime to abolish slavery. He continued to speak out against slavery.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Inflation is Blowing Up

Inflation is Rearing Its Ugly Head The annual inflation rate was 1.4% in January, 1.7% in February, and 2.6% in March. The Producer Price Index measuring wholesale prices rose 4.2%. The trend line is ominous. Financial sages are warning us. Warren Buffett said at his annual meeting “We are seeing substantial inflation…. We are raising prices. People are raising prices to us, and it’s being accepted.” Sam Zell, the legendary 79 year-old billionaire Chicago “grave dancer,” is known for buying troubled real estate, holding and developing, and then often selling at a high profit. He is now hedging with gold – for the first time. He sees inflation everywhere. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers warned in March of the Biden trillion dollar proposals: “The data flow tends to bear out inflation fears. Relative to a couple of months ago, there is much clearer evidence of labor shortage, there are more and more pervasive supply bottlenecks, commodities and future commodities prices are rising …. Housing is on fire, and market inflation expectations are trending upwards. None of these are inherently transitory factors, so to my mind, grounds for concern are increasing.” The CEO of Kellogg’s said “We haven’t seen this type of inflation in many, many years.” The first sign was President Biden’s election. Gas prices started shooting up. California is now over $4.00/gallon and climbing. The rest of America is reaching $3.00/gallon. So much for American energy independence as the Biden Administration is progressively shutting down fossil fuels in the name of climate change. The Biden New Deal is but a varnished crippling Green New Deal. $5/gallon gas near the end of the Bush Administration was devastating to the economy with the Great Recession. It will be again. Oil rose to $65/barrel. Transportation costs jumped 19% in March. Rising transportation costs drive up the price of all products, whether transported by car, truck, boat, train, or plane. Detroit is still dependent on slightly less gas guzzling SUV’s. Corn futures are up 50%. Soybeans up 50%. Chicken products soaring. Seafood 18.7% Grain Turkey products Peanut Butter Pork Paper products: paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, tampons. Construction Materials: lumber, drywall, steel, aluminum Lumber futures 543% since pandemic low. Iron and Steel Resin, pulp Cardboard and corrugated boxes in short supply And computer chips! Food companies in recent years have reduced the size of their products and the numbers in a package, another form of foood inflation. Warnings are everywhere, but in the eyes of the Biden Administration. Jerome H. Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, views price bumps as temporary with the economy reopening. The Fed views the increases as “transitory,” forgetting that price increases get baked into the ongoing base price of products. The Fed and Treasury officials may actually be worried, but they don’t want to admit failure of the Biden economic plan only 100 days into his administration. They are praying behind closed doors that the inflation is only transitory. He’s vowed to maintain interest rates near zero for two more years. He added that the Fed will respond when the inflation rate exceeds 2% over a period of time, which leaves a lot of slack. The rate lagged 2% the past 13 years. The Fed will be reactive – not proactive Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday said: “I don’t think there’s going to be an inflationary problem, but if there is, the Fed can be counted on to address it.” The two major tools of the Fed and government to control inflation are raising interest rates and imposing taxes to drain money out of the economy. Both are devastating tools to be effective. Leftist economists advance the modern monetary theory (MMT) that posits sovereign nations such as the United States can monetize their debts by borrowing money in a fiat currency they control. They can thereby print money without worrying about budget deficits or funding programs. They send the printed or electronic money into circulation at low interest rates. MMT defies basic economic, history, and common sense. Most Americans were not around during the last period 4 decades ago of runaway inflation. President Carter’s 4 years in office were a disaster. 1980 saw a 13.5% inflation rate. The consumer price index almost doubled in 4 years. Banks in 1980 charged a prime interest rate of 21%. Short term interest rates were 18% in March. The Fed’s prime rate reached14%. Mortgage lending collapsed. Today’s mortgage rates are inching back up to 3%, a far cry we faced in May 1980 in buying a house. We were quoted 15½% with 4 points. Fortunately the bank lowered it to 14% and 1 point the day before closing. We refinanced later. Fed Chair Paul Volcker and President Reagan tamed the inflation monster 4 decades ago, but the Biden Administration is risking unleashing it onto the American people. The lessons of 40 years ago have been forgotten or more likely never learned by today’s leftists. The Fed does not control interest rates. The market controls interest. The hubris of the Fed is that it controls interest rates. The federal government went deeply in debt over the past 12 years. The federal debt was $9.2 trillion in 2008 at the end of the George W. Bush Presidency. It tripled to $28 trillion after 12 Obama-Trump years. The estimated deficit for this year is $2.3 trillion, not including the next $4 trillion in Biden spending. Debt has a cost. The federal government borrowed money to pay $345 billion in interest last year, 1.66% of the nation’s gross national product. The debt and interest payments compound. Inflation is a hidden tax which falls most heavily on the poor. The $6 trillion Biden spending coupled with the Trump payouts are popular. Money, money, money! America is on a sugar high! Then comes the crash! Parents understand the sugar high with children. Always remember President Obama’s admonition about Joe Biden: “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Where Have All the Retail Checkout Cashiers Gone? Gone to Hero Pay and Minimum Wage

I noticed in the past two weeks one cashier with long lines at an Albertsons, zero cashiers at a Target and only one at another, and two cashiers at a crowded Walmart. What happened to 3 or more in line with an announcement additional check lines are opening up? The retailers are funneling customers into self-checkputs. Where, o where have all the cashiers gone? Displaced by the union and governments which profess to protect their interests. Covid-19 devastated America last spring. America was locked down. Pharmacies and food providers, such as grocery stores, Walmart and Target, could stay open. Their employees were in constant contact with scores of people, obviously including contagious patrons, who might be asymptomatic. Management decided to augment employee wages by $2/hour as hero pay. The extra payments continued until June when America started to reopen. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) thought Hero Pay was a great idea. The union represents 1.3 million grocery and meatpacking workers. The political might of the unions convinced several cities and counties to legislate Hero Pay of $4-5/hour for their employees at supermarkets, pharmacies, Target and Walmart. The Union is not interested in Hero Pay for all – only for frontline workers. California is a one-party state with the Democratic Party nominally in control. However, when push comes to shove the unions call the shots in California. The “Hero Pay” and teachers unions not returning to school indicates the power unions have in the California political system. Long Beach’s City Council on January 19, 2021 enacted an ordinance requiring companies with 300 employees and over 15 workers per location in Long Beach to pay workers an extra $4/hour for four months. Kroger responded by announcing the closure of 2 underperforming stores of its 8 Long Beach stores, a Ralph’s and a Food for Less. The company issued a statement: “This misguided action by the Long Beach City Council oversteps the traditional bargaining process and applies to some, but not all grocery workers in the city.” It added: “The irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens as a direct result of the City of Long Beach’s attempt to pick winners and losers, is deeply unfortunate. We are truly saddened that our associates and customers will ultimately be the real victims of the city council’s action.” Andrea Zindar, President of UFCW Local 324 with 22,000 workers in Los Angeles and Orange County, called Kroger’s action an attempt “to intimidate and discourage workers.” Both the city and the county of Los Angeles upped Long Beach by going to $5 per hour. Los Angeles City Council members call the $5 a matter of economic justice. The Los Angeles Council wasn’t listening to the supermarkets or the Chief Legislative Analyst who issued a study of the effects of enacting Hero Pay: higher prices, store closures, and reduced employment and hours. Kroger announced the closure of three underperforming stores in LA, two Ralphs and a Food 4 Less. Kroger said the $5 Hero Pay would add $30 million to the payroll over the four months “making it financially unsustainable” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia echoed the “They can afford it crowd;” “Grocers are making record profits.” Los Angeles Council Member Paul Koretz said “They absolutely can afford the increase …. They absolutely should be paying the increase.” The average Los Angeles grocery store worker, earning $18/hour, will receive a roughly 28% pay increase Hero Pay is becoming contagious. It spread to neighboring, once conservative Orange County. Irvine’s City Council voted 3-2 to impose Hero Pay of $4/hour on large grocery stores and pharmacies despite Walmart closing a mammoth store and Albertsons announcing two store closures. Cities imposing Hero Pay include Berkeley, Montebello, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Monica, West Hollywood Santa Ana’s council voted 5-2 to impose Hero Pay on 27 grocery stores, 24 pharmacies, and four targets and Walmarts. Santa Ana Councilwoman Thai Viet Phan said: “These workers have been on the front line since the beginning. And it’s scary for them.” Fellow Councilman Jonathon Ryan Hernandez added ”Hazard pay sends a message that we really do value people.” Not their own municipal employees. Not one of these cities is considering Hero Pay for their employees, such as first responders, healthcare workers, and transit workers, who extensively deal with the public. City councils find it easy to enact Hero Pay for others because it’s not their budget. The idea of Hero Pay should, if politicians were consistent, apply to nurses, doctors, EMT’s, and restaurant workers, but they’re not represented by the UFCW. Coachella extended Hero Pay not only to retail and food workers, but farm workers. The Coachella Valley has 8,000 farm workers, of which 30% are in the city of Coachella. Food retailing is a low margin business. Supermarkets often earn 1% on sales with LA supermarkets netting up to 2.2%. Labor costs in LA average 9.4% of sales, which leaves little margin for error. A 9-10% increase in wages can shatter budgets, leaving three alternatives: raising prices, cutting underperforming stores, cutting employment, and reducing overtime. Albertsons, Krogers, Target and Walmart are not eleemosynary institutions. Companies which do not earn a reasonable rate of return on capital will wither and die. These stores are survivors in cut-throat retailing in which scores of once mighty grocery chains and discounters have failed. The radicals in the Seattle City Council also think $4 Hero Pay is a great idea for grocery workers. Kroger responded by announcing the closure of two QFC supermarkets, issuing a statement: “Unfortunately, Seattle City Council didn’t consider that grocery stores – even in a pandemic – operate on razor thin margins in a very competitive landscape …. When you factor in the increased costs of operating during Covid-19, coupled with consistent financial losses at these two locations, and this new extra pay mandate, it becomes impossible to operate a consistently profitable business.” The Seattle City Council has proven in the past couple of years that it is either ignorant and/or oblivious to economic reality. Trader Joe’s in Seattle raised pay by $4/hour in response to the Seattle City Council vote, but said it would cancel a scheduled a midyear company-wide raise. Large retailers hired tens of thousands of temporary workers because of the increased needs caused by Covid-19. The large workforce will drop as the large retailers readjust. They’ve begun by reducing checkout cashiers by pushing customers to use self-service checkouts. The retailers have calculated the payroll savings offset the increased shrinkage costs (shoplifting). They are also outsourcing, when possible, jobs to independent contractors. The response to the temporary enactment of Hero Pay ordinances is a poor omen of the pending increases in the minimum wage.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Both Sides Now of President Joe Biden

Let’s gloss over the historic gaffes and misstatements of Senator/Vice President Biden. Let's ignore the five decade history of plagiatism and self glorification. Let’s go straight to the presidential inconsistences. Where to begin? How about his current pet phrase America suffers from “systemically racism?” Yet, he and Vice President Harris both affirmed Senator Tim Scott’s post State-of-the Union Response that American are not racists. How about his current pet phrase America suffers from “systemic racism?” One alleged manifestation of systemic racism is the “excessive” incarceration of African Americans and Hispanics. Senator Biden sponsored The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the 1994 Crime Act or Biden Crime Law. The Biden Crime Law resulted in high incarceration rates. Both presidential candidate Joe Biden both and President Biden promised to follow the science on the Coronavirus. The CDC now recommends persons vaccinated need not wear masks outdoors. He selectively does saying it’s only a precaution and that it’s “It’s a patriotic responsibility, for God’s sake.” His sense of patriotism includes cancelling the traditional 4th of July Fireworks at Mount Rushmore. President Biden signed an executive memorandum to prevent political appointees from interfering with career federal scientists. That memo did not apply to the American Federation of Teachers influencing and writing part of the CDC Guidelines. Presidential candidate Joe Biden was outraged at President Trump’s anti-Asian shutdown of travel from China. President Biden just shut down travel from India. President Biden said they was no crisis at the Border, but then on April 17 said the Border was a crisis. Oops a gaffe, which in Washington speak means accidentally telling the truth. His staff immediately backpedaled. Then four days ago he blamed the crisis on President Trump for not consulting with him and disclosing information during the transition. Unity. President Biden called for national unity in his Inauguration Address. He is now trying to jam the progressive agenda through Congress on raw partisan votes. The blowback and payback will be vicious. He opposes the Green New Deal by name, but is implementing it in fact.