Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

19 February 2009

Global Warming Implies Warming and Cooling in the Same Place

Global warming alarmists have been focusing media attention for several years on some warming of the Antarctic peninsula and the ice shelves around it. This penisula juts northward toward the southern tip of South America, so it is strongly influenced by the local ocean currents. It represents a much smaller fraction of the land mass of Antarctica than the East Antarctica area where the ice mass has been increasing for many years. Computer modelers who claimed the earth was warming rapidly due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions were convinced that a cooling trend in the bulk of Antarctica was consistent with man-made global warming.

Patrick Michaels just wrote an article called Climate Scientists Blow Hot and Cold pointing out that a recent study of the temperature record in Antarctica by Eric Steig of the University of Washington used satellite observations to provide a means to track temperatures across wider areas of Antarctica than ever before. Most thermometer recording sites were on the coasts and very few were in the interior of the huge continent. The result is that relative to the temperatures of the 1950s and 1960s, there has been a slight warming of Antarctica as a whole, though almost all of it occurred in the early part of the time-frame from then to now. This indicates an earlier warming effect than has been claimed elsewhere for the man-made global warming by CO2 emissions proponents, which is puzzling.

Computer modelers have been delighted, however. Even though they claimed that a non-warming or a slightly cooling Antarctica was consistent with their global warming models, they are happier with a slight warming and are now claiming that that is consistent with their models.

Apparently all observed results are consistent with their models. If it warms for the next 10 years in Siberia, that is consistent. If it cools for the next 10 years in Siberia, that is consistent. If the higher altitude atmosphere warms, that is consistent. This is indeed a prediction that it should be warmer than the earth surface temperatures. But in fact, there has been no warming of these higher altitude air temperatures, let alone to higher temperatures than the earth's surface. But this gives the CO2 emissions global warmers no pause. It appears that there is no observation which will give them pause.

No matter what, man-made CO2 emissions are going to cause a disaster sometime in the future. So, stop exhaling now, so you will be morally pure and not responsible for this catastrophe! Then, there will be no need to force you to stop using coal or natural gas generated electricity or heating your home or business with gas, oil, or coal, using products manufactured with fossil fuel energy, or moving about in cars and trucks and planes.

18 February 2009

Muslim TV Executive Fought to Improve Muslim Image

A Buffalo, NY Muslim TV executive who had worked to improve the image of Muslims in America after 9/11 was ordered to leave his home after his wife filed for divorce. She obtained a court order for protection from him. Now she has been found beheaded at his TV station. The good-image-seeking husband is accused of the murder of his wife and turned himself in to a police station.

Most Muslims are capable of better behavior, especially those in America, but some very primitive ideas of morality continue to hang around strongly with many Muslims.

17 February 2009

Japan and Europe are Tanking

An article in today's Washington Times by David M. Dickson points out that Japan's GDP diminished at an annual rate of 12.7% in the 4th quarter of 2008! This is partly because Japan's economy is highly dependent upon exports, as is Germany's. Germany's GDP shrank by the annual rate of 8.1% in the fourth quarter. In comparison, the U.S. GDP shrank at an annual rate of 3.8%. Of course, the actual declines are 0.25 times the annual rate for these 4th quarter results and it is really more legitimate to give the actual reduction for the quarter, but this is rarely done. So, I will continue to use the annual rates for the quarter as the article does here.

In comparison, the 15-nation euro-zone had a GDP decrease in the 4th quarter of 5.9%, which was also the rate of decrease in Great Britain. The decline in France was about 4.5%, while that in Italy was a shade less than 7%. These last two declines were read from a graph, which is why I give them as approximations. Canada is the only nation of the G-7 which had a smaller loss than the U.S. Its loss was approximately 3.0%. Canada even had growth of about 1.25% in the 3rd quarter of 2008, when only France of the G-7 had growth. In France's case, the 3rd quarter growth was only about 0.3%.

So, overall, Japan and Europe are doing very badly, while the NAFTA countries of Canada and the U.S. are doing comparatively well. Japan in particular looks to be ready to plunge even more rapidly into negative GDP growth in the present quarter. Apparently, subsidizing export industries is not always a winning strategy, observed Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland and a former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average is down nearly to half of its 52-week high. It has dropped 13% this year compared to the 11% drop of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the U.S. The Japanese Research Institute is projecting a 20% decline in the first quarter of 2009! Toyota is reducing car production for the domestic market by 54%. Apparently, the U.S. Big Three Auto Makers are not the only auto makers in a world of hurt.

As usual, it is up to the U.S. to pull the world out of recession. As usual, we will do this, with a bit of help from our relatively intrepid neighbors in Canada. Of course, I am assuming that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid axis of idiocentric evil is not quite up to the task of driving the U.S. economy off the cliff. They will do their best, but probably we will just wind up in a ditch. Then tens of millions of productive, innovative American private sector workers will find a way to repair the damage and get the car back on the road, with some loss of valuable time and dragging a trailer full of additional welfare recipient deadweights.

14 February 2009

Unions to Destroy Entrepreneur's Creations

Labor unions have been having a hard time in the private sector in the United States. Only 7.5% of private sector workers are union members. In the 1980s, union membership was about 20% of the private workforce. The unions are desperate to reverse this trend. They spent $450 million electing more Congressmen in this last election in an effort to get changes in the laws to help them unionize more and smaller businesses.

Unions are a major factor in making unionized companies less competitive. Unionized workers are paid in accordance with seniority, not with respect to productivity. In many other ways, unions make companies less competitive. Promotion by seniority saps the incentive to work hard and to think on the job. Work rules may cause a great loss of multi-functionality in employees and may simply have them taking unnecessary breaks. Union-imposed rules may make little sense in many contexts, but management cannot bend them to accommodate the Big Picture or the complete, rationally evaluated context of a particular situation. Unions also push for wage and benefit increases which many companies cannot sustain. Consequently, unionized businesses are a vanishing bred of business in the highly competitive American marketplace. With global markets more and more competitive also, unions are more and more a disaster for many businesses and for their employees.

The premier legislation that unions are seeking to reverse their loss of private sector membership is card checks. They and their Congressional allies are calling this The Employee Free Choice Act. This is really legislation designed to keep employers from ever speaking to their employees before their companies are unionized. It is also designed to make it easy for the union organizers to intimidate workers wherever they wish to corner them to get them to check a card that they are interested in being represented by the union. It is very revealing that union members do not like card check. They want union representation to be chosen by secret ballot. In union households, 69% oppose The Employee Free Choice Act! 76% of union voters say that the secret ballot is the best way to determine if workers want to be unionized or not.

Entrepreneurs create most of the jobs in America. In particular, small businesses create most of these jobs. The owners of these small businesses face a very daunting task in trying to build and maintain a business. Of the businesses started in 1992, 25% died in the first year. 50% were gone in 4 years. In the 10th year only 29% were still in existence. Yet, most of the owners of these businesses worked incredible long hours and did their best to try to make their companies a success. Most of these companies died even without the added burden of being unionized.

A great many small business owners went into business in good part because they had had it with working for others. Many of them are independent-minded people who want to work their way. The unions want to boss them around when they have built a business just large enough for the unions to be able to milk it of some significant resources. With the take-over of more and more small businesses, the unions will try to build up their membership. This will then give the unions more income they can use to try to bribe the politicians into giving them ever more power. The union bosses will be able to live high on the hog in money and power, while ever more small businesses are ground into oblivion.

This is a huge attack on wealth and property in America. It is a serious threat to small businesses and the huge investment that most small businessmen have put into those businesses. It is an overt expropriation of wealth. It is also an attack upon innovation and the determined spirits who have created wealth out of nothing with years dedicated, focused effort. Since the secret ballot is the most accurate way to determine whether the employees of a company want to be unionized, it is also an attack upon their livelihoods. Many of them do have long time horizons and want to work for a company that will exist in 10 years. Many employees do not want to see their union dues given to politicians they do not even want to vote for, let alone fund. This activity by the labor unions is hugely immoral and should be very roundly condemned by everyone.

A worker has a right to choose to be represented by a union. An employer has the right to then fire him rather than to have to negotiate with a labor union representative. Both employees and employers have the right to make choices. But, ultimately, an employee has his job at the discretion of the employer. If the employee does not wish to meet the conditions of employment of the employer, then the employee may leave and find another employer or he may start his own business. No employer is responsible against his will for the employment of anyone. To the degree that the law claims he is and forces him to provide jobs, the employer is simply a slave of the state and of the employee. There is no reason any employer should put up with this injustice. No one should be a slave, most especially not because he is productive and innovative enough to create jobs for others.

10 February 2009

The Strange Anti-Individualist Mentality

There are heroes who walk among men. These men are those who want to and are capable of managing their own lives. They have the desire and the ability to think independently and rationally and the courage to choose their own values and to act to achieve them. They are optimistic enough to expect that they can realize happiness on this earth. These heroes feel worthy of happiness.

Then, there are the ever-popular anti-heroes. These are the people who want someone else to take on the responsibility of providing them with rules for living their lives. They want to know that if they follow the rules, others will be forced to provide their basic necessities for living to them. They are more interested in everyone having as little as everyone else than they are in lifting the average quality of life in society. These are the people who dread having to think for themselves. They dread having to choose their own values and having to figure out how to achieve those values in their own lives. These anti-heroes do not feel worthy of their own happiness. When they do feel a moment of happiness, they feel guilty for having had that moment of happiness. Generally, they are not very happy people, since it is impossible to be happy and to feel guilty about being happy. These people are then very reasonably not inclined to expect happiness on earth and they are therefore generally pessimists.

There have always been men who were willing to provide the rules and the authority to direct the lives of the many anti-heroes. When life was very tough and primitive, that very fact probably convinced a larger fraction of mankind that they were incapable of taking charge of their own lives and this led to a great demand for leadership who would substitute rules for the lacking effort of many to manage their own lives. The rules were always a combination of those of religion and those of the leaders who led people in wars and who provided police powers within a geographical region. This system of substituting rules for personal self-direction led to thousands of years of painfully slow development for civilizations and squelched the personal initiative that allowed the self-directed man to make technological and artistic innovations. Rulers, whether tribal leaders or kings, were seldom willing to encourage the independent thinker, since such thinkers rarely took all of the rulers rules seriously. It was also easier to rule if change occurred as slowly as possible. Stability was sought, not the dynamic upheavals which come with new innovations.

The development of a larger merchant and professional class of men occurred over time. These men were doers and problem solvers, who the kings and other leaders of Europe came to need in order to live luxuriously themselves, to fight their wars well with the slowly developing technology, and to finance their palaces and their wars. Of course, the nobility disdained such men, but they found them essential nonetheless, so long as they were tightly controlled. It was among these men that the philosophical developments of the Age of Enlightenment came to recognize more and more that each man had the capability to think for himself, if he chose to do so. They recognized that each man had the right to his own person, to the direction of his life, and to pursue happiness and the creation of wealth. The many religious wars of Europe also helped to convince them that man should be allowed freedom of conscience and should not be forced to conform to a particular religion or belief.

But, these men were still largely Europeans with a long tradition in rule-following. It was the Americans who in the United States made the greatest innovations in government by making a republican form of government designed to preserve, protect, and defend the right of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The government consistent with this purpose was a very limited government which left men on their own to manage their own lives. This limited government allowed men for the first time to really enjoy freedom of conscience and the freedoms necessary to develop ideas and then to create the organizations and wealth privately to put their ideas to work. For the first time, men were secure in their freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the freedom of assembly with others to share and develop ideas. With adequate avenues for information, the creative thought and energies of Americans became a phenomena for the ages. More and more men were heroes. It was seen by many that man was capable of living his own life and able to achieve his happiness. Many men felt worthy of the happiness they did achieve.

But, the pessimists, the followers, the anti-heroes of self-doubt and self-loathing remained among men, even among Americans. For some reason, wherever men are more crowded together, they seem to turn more sour and lose that knowledge that man must act individually to control the environment in which he lives. The Northeast, the Pacific coast, and the major cities of the Midwest, all turned more and more to socialism. The day of the king leader was gone, but the day of the socialist Messiah has come. Socialism with its myriad rules and its vacuous promises that everyone else will provide for each of us, so that none of us is burdened with managing his own life, has taken the place of the king as rule-maker and authority.

The socialist is an individual who longs to submerse his individuality into a group. As an individual he does not feel worthy. His personal identity has never been discovered and has certainly never been developed. This is the person who worries terribly about how he appears to others, because he has no strong anchor in his own personal assessment of himself. He always feels unworthy of happiness and guilty for any shred of happiness he has achieved. If only he could belong to some group and give up his happiness to that group or another, he could escape his feelings of unworthiness and guilt. If only some group or combination of groups would tell him what to do and then tell him he has done the right thing. If only he could lose his individuality!

So, the socialist, like many of those of religious belief and like many of the impoverished followers of kings, is an anti-individualist. He is a man who fundamentally feels incapable of living his own life and unworthy of any success he may actually have in living it. Unfortunately, for these people, the great lesson of the 20th Century was that socialism comes with serious problems. Because it squelches the individual with his own thoughts, his own values and goals, and his own initiative to action, the creation of wealth stagnates and then the wealth of mankind shrivels. The people become more and more impoverished and dispirited. They turn to drink and any other available distraction from the bleakness of their lives, both spiritually and materialistically.

In socialism they sought an equality of material goods, but in the process they always lose the even more important spiritual values which in a free market induce them to produce those material goods and generally to seek out paths to happiness by investing in their own knowledge and in sharing values voluntarily with others. The involuntary sharing of the socialist system, deprives the sharing of values of all of its value. Socialist systems always become totally focused upon material goods in a way no free market system can ever be. In the free market system, personal values and goals are the motivator for thought and action. The system allows for a great diversity of values, with all men able to live harmoniously, provided only that they agree not to initiate the use of force. In the socialist system these values and goals simply make one a renegade and they must be squelched with the brutal use of force. This is indeed what happened time after time in the 20th Century when all sorts of variants on socialist systems were tried. Among these were fascism, it Nazi variant, and several forms of communism.

Since socialism was widely seen to have failed, many of the anti-individualists came more clearly to realize that they are anti-man. They loathe themselves, so of course, they loathe mankind. Now those who loathe mankind can turn to a man-hating god, or at least to a god that thinks men are sheep. They can also turn the earth or nature into a god. If they do the latter, they come to think of man as an adulterer of nature and the earth. Man is the defiler of the natural beauty and some intrinsic good represented by the earth and nature. This is a very effective outlet for the self-loathing. It is also a rationale for chaining those men who seek to create wealth and to make mankind more comfortable and secure by controlling nature and by altering the environment for the pleasure of man. The anti-individualist resents the individualist mightily. He hates to be reminded that some men are capable of living their own lives and that some men seek out, choose, and develop their own values.

The popular perception that socialism had failed at the end of the 20th Century caused the unworthy feeling man to seek out environmentalism and catastrophic man-made global warming alarmism as substitutes. These served his purposes very well. Then, along came a Messianic socialist leader of the old school who had added environmentalism and catastrophic anthropogenic global warming to his repertoire and many a socialist who has taken refuge in anti-man environmentalism, is now also returning to his socialist roots. Among other discredited theories, Keynesianism has made a comeback. Labor union bullying, the nationalization of the healthcare industry, mandate-chained energy industries, heavy-handed controls of the evil banking industry, further entrenchment of the communist government school system, and much more of the old-time socialist agenda is back in a big way. This is the best of times for the determinedly anti-individualist anti-hero.

Except for one little problem. It must be awful to feel incapable of managing your own life. It must be terrible to feel unworthy of happiness. It must be the ultimate boredom not to be able to think for yourself. How I pity these socialists, rabid environmentalists, and man-hating anthropogenic catastrophic global warming alarmists. They suffer such a lack of spiritual values.

07 February 2009

Religion Demands Unearned Respect

On 18 December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution, with strong advice to its members, that condemns "defamation of religion." You can read that resolution here. The United States, more than half of the European countries, India, and Japan opposed it. The 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference pushed strongly for it and was backed by Belarus and Venezuela. It passed with an 83-53 vote, with many abstentions.

The resolution frequently conflates racial and ethnic discrimination with religious discrimination. It implies that any unfavorable evaluation of a particular religion and its beliefs is intolerance. It deplores "the negative projection of certain religions in the media ...., particularly Muslim minorities following the events of 11 September 2001, ...."

It says "that defamation of religions is a serious affront to human dignity leading to the illicit restriction of the freedom of religion of their adherents and incitement to religious hatred and violence,"

It stresses "the need to effectively combat defamation of all religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general,"

It reaffirms that "discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights and a disavowal of the priniples of the Charter of the United Nations,"

It states that "education should contribute in a meaningful way to promoting tolerance and the elimination of discrimination based on religion or belief,"

It then launches into a list of 24 numbered paragraphs. Some say:

2. Expresses deep concern at the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still evident in the world;

5. Notes with deep concern the intensification of the overall compaign of defamation of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general, including the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001;

7. Expresses deep concern in this respect that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism; [This is the third time Muslims and/or Islam is specifically noted, while no other religion is specifically noted.]

8. Reiterates the commitment of all States to ..... respect for all religions, religious values, beliefs or cultures and [to] prevent the defamation of religions;

9. Deplores the use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media, including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against any religion, as well as targeting of religious symbols [Muhammad with a bomb in his turban!];

10. Emphasizes that, as stipulated in international human rights law, everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference, and has the right to freedom of expression, the exercise of which carries with it special duties and responsibilities and may therefore be subject to limitations as are provided for by law and are necessary for the respect of rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals;

16. Urges all States .... to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs and the understanding of their value systems and to complement legal systems with intellectual and moral strategies to combat religious hatred and intolerance;

18. Underscores the need to combat defamation of religions .... through education for all, ..., including access to free primary education for all children, both girls and boys, [No mention of those Islamic areas where schools for girls are bombed by Islamic enforcers.]

19. Calls upon all States ..... to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols are fully respected and protected, ....;

21. Affirms that the Human Rights Council shall promote universal respect for all religious and cultural values and address instances of intolerance, discrimination and incitement to hatred ....;

Now, I do not believe governments should discriminate against religious beliefs as such. They can and must discriminate against one kind of action, the initiated use of force. So, if a person holds a belief, religious in nature or not, that he is allowed to use force to keep others from exercising their right to freedom of speech, to freedom of conscience, and to freedom of the press and he acts upon that belief to use force to prevent others from their equal rights, then government must protect its citizens from this initiated use of force. To do this, government may reasonably watch with special diligence those persons whose religious or other beliefs state that they may use initiated force to attain their ends. To do anything else would be irrational. Government should not assume, however, that someone holding to a tradition of belief will necessarily choose to act to initiate the use of force, even though that belief may allow and even encourage it. But, Government can watch and be prepared to pounce if such a person's actions reasonably signal an intent to act upon the violent belief.

Freedom of religion was really intended to be about freedom of conscience and it was intended that one could act upon one's beliefs, with one very important proviso. Everyone has this same right, but it would clearly be impossible for any individual to exercise his right to freedom of conscience and to use his belief system to guide his actions, if anyone had the right to impose his beliefs upon others by using force. People of different religious belief have often come into conflict with one another, even when those differences were relatively minor. After centuries of such conflicts among Christians in Europe, the philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment came in many cases to recognize a very practical need for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. But, they also came to understand that the individual had to be allowed to think for himself and to choose his values. These chosen values were required to help guide actions he would take in living his life. But, everyone had this same need by virtue of being human, so this right to freedom of conscience was universal. In America, we developed our Constitution and Bill of Rights in recognition of this fact.

No one, and no religion, has the right to impose its values and beliefs upon others. Many religions have tried to do this historically, as have other belief systems such as socialism (whether fascist or communist) and environmentalism. No one is obliged to give those belief systems respect, though they commonly demand it. No one is required to be silent when they see reason to criticize those belief systems, though religions, socialism, and environmentalists have often tried to silence them. We are only required not to initiate the use of force.

Though Christians did often use force to advance their religion, that religion is fortunate in that Jesus was not a proponent of using force to spread his beliefs. He did not gather armies and attack nearby peoples and impose Christianity upon them. Islam, on the other hand, is the religion made up by Mohammed, who did lead armies to attack non-believers and did advocate either killing non-believers or treating them as second-class citizens in Islamic countries. He also believed that anyone accepting the religion of Islam should be killed if he changed his mind later. This unfortunate tradition of belief in the use of force as a means to spread their religion has caused disproportionate numbers of Muslims to adopt the use of terrorist tactics in our present times. Of course, there are some people of other religions who have also resorted to terrorism, but most of the present-day God-worshiping religions have fewer terrorists operating in the name of their religion.

There are several references in the U. N. resolution requiring respect to the symbols of a religion. These are clearly intended to require countries to abridge the right of the people to publish cartoons critical of Islam. This is an overt attack upon freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

It was ironic that the paragraph requiring States to provide education for both girls and boys, did not mention the fact that in those countries practicing Islam, the education of women is least valued and sometimes prevented entirely by violence in the name of the religion. Of course, this provision also stated that it was the responsibility of the state to provide education, which is wrong. Other provisions also made it clear that the state was to use education to squelch any rational discussion of the merits of various beliefs and value systems, particularly if they claimed to be of a religious nature. The State was to demand respect for all religious beliefs and values.

Frankly, all religions are made up by man. This is particularly obvious in the case of Scientology, Mormonism, and Islam, since they have roots in the recent past. In stating this fact, I am making it clear that I do not respect any religion. Furthermore, none of the religions offer an adequate and rational philosophy for living a human life on this earth. Clearly, I am defaming all religions. Clearly, I am defaming Islam more than most. All religions are false beliefs and harmful to mankind. Of course, people should be free to practice a false religion, provided they do not use force against others while doing so.

So, according to the United Nations, it is the responsibility of the United States government to force me to take sensitivity training and to force me to stop writing of these matters on this blog. It even seems clear that the U.N. is saying that I am inciting hatred and violence against all religions, especially Islam. I would deny this and say that I am simply rejecting the idea that Islam has the right to force me to respect it or to adopt its beliefs as my own. If Islam were to be amended to renounce the use of force, then I would oppose it only because it is false. At this time, I must oppose it because its principle tenets include the claim that it is proper and a duty of Muslims to use force to spread the religion. Of course, I also oppose any other system of beliefs and values which allows for the initiated use of force. This will include any effort by the U.S. government to make me respect religions or any effort by the U.N. to make me do so.

Contrary to the U.N.'s assertion, the only responsibility I have before rational law in the excution of my freedoms is that I do not initiate the use of force against others. I do not have a responsibility not to hurt the feelings of the religious. If I do so, this is not a valid reason to restrict my freedom of conscience, of speech, or of the press. That government which would do so would be a tyranny.

06 February 2009

Upward Revision of Stimulus Job Cost

I just heard Obama give a speech last night (perhaps a replay from the night before) in which he claimed his now about $900 billion "stimulus" bill would create or save 3 million jobs. This means the cost per job has gone up to $300,000 per job. I would bet that many private industry jobs will be lost because the income per job is falling $20,000 short or less from what the employer needs to realize in order to keep the job in existence. This means that taking money away from these employers to put into the stimulus package for others, may kill as many as $300,000/$20,000 jobs. This is 15 jobs lost in order for the government to save or create 1 job!

Incredibly disgusting! It does not get more idiocentric than this. Once again I am befuddled with respect to figuring out how much stupidity versus how much ruthless power mongering rules the minds of our Washington politicians.

04 February 2009

What does a new job cost?

The Obama "stimulus" bill is to cost $825 billion and it is claimed, with little justification, that it will create or save 3 to 4 million jobs. One estimate is 3.7 million jobs, so let us use that estimate to figure the cost of these government "created" jobs. Few people realize that it will also destroy many jobs with future taxes and inflation. Few also understand that Obama's plans to keep our business taxes much higher than those of most other nations and to squeeze our use of energy to almost nothing, is already causing companies to lay employees off and not to hire new employees.

The cost per job created or saved in Obama's plan can be calculated to be $222,973. Some of these jobs, about 10% are said to be government jobs. This would be 370,000 jobs. These government jobs will not be self-supporting in the future, but will require on-going taxation to suport them at the cost of those of us who are in the private sector. The other 90% of the jobs, it is claimed, will be in the private sector.

The cost to create or save these jobs is amazing. Obama claims to be most interested in lower income people and their plight in a toughening job market. In the private sector, a professional position at a firm is commonly expected to add about 3 times the salary of the professional in income so that the firm can cover his salary, benefits, workman's compensation, payroll taxes, work space and tools, liability costs, added utilities, pro-rated advertising costs, and profit. Using this yardstick, the average salary for a year on the job "created" by Obama is $74,324. This is well above the salary of the average American worker. So, instead of creating jobs for the little guy, Obama would appear to be giving jobs to his political cronies and supporters as payoff for his election as President. Or, he is just a hugely inefficient job "creator." Likely, this is some combination of the two.

That 10% of the jobs in government should cost less in tools, liability costs, advertising, and profit. To be sure, these cost reductions are probably replaced handily by lower productivity, poorer management, and a general attitude of loathing for the taxpayer in the private sector, which causes many government workers to have little regard for frugality and the efficient use of resources. Many of these jobs will long be a heavy saddle on the backs of workers and employers in the private sector, not only levying higher taxes upon them, but also regulating them to death, and gobbling much of their time in added paperwork and government agency reporting chores.

Actually, the situation is even worse than this with respect to the government jobs. If we examine the breakdown of the spending more carefully, we find that $214.5 billion of the Obama bailout money is to go to state and local governments. According to Mark Zandi of Moody's, this will save or create 330,400 government jobs. That is an average cost of $649,213 per job. Apparently we should all decide to become teachers so we can partake of this massive payoff program for the support the teachers unions gave Obama! If we divide this cost by 3 we will have an annual salary of $216,404 for working 9 months of the year!

OK, I know that the average government worker or teacher is not going to be given a salary of $216,404 per year. But, why not if so much money is going to be given to local and state governments for only 330,400 jobs. Apparently, government waste is much greater than even you and I imagined! Perhaps this money will not be doled out as high salaries, but will be used to partially fund the unfunded pensions and retirement benefits which are going to balloon state and local government costs in many cases in the years ahead as Baby Boomers retire. This is payoff to the fastest growing unions in the United States, the government workers unions. Of course, we all also know that much of it will go to graft and waste.

What would it cost to create a normal private sector job in the U.S.? I could not find a good average cost, so I will start with what it would cost me and a new young scientist employee to create a new job in my materials analysis laboratory business. I can figure this several ways. First, I would have to add some laboratory equipment, about $75,000 worth. It would also require about $15,000 toward salary, payroll taxes, and benefits to supplement the training of the new scientist and the growth of our new areas of analytical services until more customers became aware of them and came a-calling. So, the cost figured this way is about $90,000. Or, I can create a job at a cost of about 2.25 times a salary of $40,000 a year, which is $90,000. This laboratory, as is the case with many very small businesses is a lean, mean fighting machine, so we can get along with a multiplier of only 2.25, or even 2.0 for the short haul of a recession, rather than the usual professional factor of 3.0. Figured this way, we borrow the money to buy the equipment and pay that off as we make money using the equipment to solve materials problems.

Of course, many other small businesses need much less expensive equipment, so many can undoubtedly create a job for less than we can in this laboratory. There are also many jobs which can be saved in the private sector with only a few thousand dollars of additional income for a company or a few thousand dollars of lower taxes. Clearly, the U.S. taxpayer would get much more bang for his buck if the stimulus program were aimed at small businesses. Of course, it is not surprising that it is not, because small businesses have no great lobbying clout and their owners are associated more commonly with the out-of-power party, which gave them little but more regulation after the early Bush tax cuts in the last administration. Howerve, no particular sector of the economy should be targeted by government as the winner.

The stimulus package that would work would be one of broad tax cuts for corporations, investors, personal income taxes, estates, and capital gains. Allowing corporations to bring back income earned in out-of-country operations without having to pay a 35% tax on it would also be very wise. A cessation of threats to put all of the 50% of our electric generating capacity based on coal out of business would also be very reassuring, as would be a general set-aside of all the efforts to mandate huge reductions in the use of energy, such as the 80% reduction Obama is advocating. Business has no future without energy, so why invest and create new jobs if our future is to shiver in caves until most of us are starved and frozen.

We also need a government which is willing to allow companies to have profits, which Obama has been arguing against in his sublime economic ignorance. We need to know that government will not be allowed to grow faster than the industry which supports it. With such knowledge and some willingness of government to get off our backs, we in the private sector will surge forward and produce all the productive, long-term jobs needed in America to continue the American Dream, which we created in the first place. With these conditions, our recovery from the recession will be quick and sure. With the Obama government spendthrift plan, uncertainty will reign in the business realm and investors will stay in their shells, which is exactly where they are now and for very good reason. Obama has a penchant for wasting the taxpayers resources and is madly displaying that penchant now.

Surely it is better to have the private sector create good, long-term, taxpaying jobs at a cost of less than $100,000 per job than to have government "create" them at costs upward of $223,000 per job. Only the most idiocentric ass (or donkey), more interested in creating an ever larger government and an ever smaller role for the rights and freedoms of the individual, will choose to make government the "creator" of jobs. Of course, the Messiah Obama is riding into town on just that ass.

01 February 2009

Man-Made Global Warming Catastrophe De-Bunking Presentation

Go here for a slide presentation by Prof. Noah Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine which de-bunks the myth of catastrophic man-made global warming. He shows that warming preceded the large increases in atmospheric CO2 and also shows how helpful CO2 increases are to the growth of plant life. As he says, water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide are the most critical and necessary gases for the support of human, animal, and plant life on earth.