Obama’s economy and his health care plan come together in the restaurant business

On Monday, I noted that ObamaCare regulations requiring employers to provide full (really full) insurance coverage to all employees may make running restaurants, which have a famously low profit margin, so prohibitively expensive that many will go out of business.

It turns out that we needn’t fear this eventuality, because we’re about to see a perfect confluence of two Obama policies.  Restaurants can avoid the costs of ObamaCare by hiring only part-time employees.  This is so because ObamaCare says that employers don’t have to provide health insurance for part-time employees.  The down side of this is that the poor, part-time employees will have to provide their own insurance (or pay a penalty), not to mention struggling to pay for food and housing on a part-time salary.  Or will they?

As you might have noticed, the economy has not improved measurably under Obama.  Indeed, thanks to Obamanomics, college graduates are barely getting by:

In California, it’s long been the joke that prospective actresses come to the state to become waitresses. Now, thanks to the Democrat-created economy, so do college graduates. The newest census shows that between 2006 and 2011, the number of college graduates working as waiters doubled. Approximately 260,000 California college graduates below the age of 30 worked in low-level menial jobs in 2011, an increase of 60,000 over 2006.

And there you have it:  the Obama economy provides ready-made part-time employees for a restaurant that can no longer afford full-time employees.  Even better, these part-timers will live in their parents’ basements and, until they’re 26, get their insurance from their parents’ employers.  Right now, we won’t worry about what happens when their parents’ employers can no longer bear the cost of providing for their own full-time employees, plus an increasing number of Obamanomics-created dependents.

What we’re seeing is the perfect symmetry of an imploding Leftist-managed economy.

Hustling for gigs

I drove Mr. Bookworm’s car today.  That means that, when I turned on the radio, I got NPR.  I don’t listen to NPR anymore.  I find very dull the carefully packaged stories, all of which advance, with greater or lesser subtlety, a Progressive political agenda.  I prefer freewheeling talk radio, where hosts do live interviews of people with whom they agree and, even more interestingly, with people with whom they disagree.

Today, though, I listened to NPR long enough to hear a promo for an upcoming show, the name of which I forget, which looks at the fact that more and more people are free-lancers rather than employees.  It was clear that NPR disapproves of this trend, because the show was sold as a look at people who are pathetically hustling for work without the security of full-time employment.

I used to be one of those people, although I never thought of myself as pathetic.  I did my best lawyering when I stopped being a wage slave and started working for myself.  Instead of resenting every hour worked, because it simply put more money into the boss’s pockets, I threw myself into my work because it benefited me.  When I hustled, there was a direct return on effort.

The economics of what I was doing meant I never made as much money working as a free-lance attorney, hiring my services out to other law firms, as I did when I worked for the big firms.  I also actually worked harder for that lesser amount of money.  But I was so much happier.  The direct connection between labor and profit was incredibly satisfying.  Yes, I was out there hustling, but I was free.  And while it’s true that I’d lost my “safety net,” the fact is that my employers could have fired me at any time.  So that safety net was an illusion.  Working for myself, I knew what I had to offer and I knew I could survive.

Newt Gingrich, poor children, and work habits

One of the reasons a lot of people, myself included, like Newt is because he says politically incorrect things that ordinary people think.  In other words, his politically correct utterances aren’t out of the KKK playbook, they’re out of “the reasonable common-sense before 1960s Leftist education took over” playbook.

A week ago, he said that child labor laws are stupid insofar as they prevent children from getting paying jobs (including janitorial jobs) that would help them to maintain their own schools — at less cost, incidentally, than using unionized janitors.  His most recent utterance, expanding on this point, was that poor children have no work ethic:

“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.

“They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

All the usual suspects are up in arms.  I haven’t bothered to hunt down quotations from the unions that keep schools supplied with janitors, but I’m sure they’re not happy.  More than that, though, Newt’s statements have been interpreted to mean that he advocates a return to 19th Century child labor, complete with seven-day work weeks, 12 of which are spent laboring in a coal mine.  Take a gander, for example, at this screen shot from YouTube after I searched up “Newt Gingrich poor children”:

Charles Blowhard, New York Times opinion columnist, is horrified that Newt might look at the way in which the poor behave and conclude that their learned behavior contributes to their poverty.  He also comes back with reams of statistics about the fact that the poor do work:

This statement isn’t only cruel and, broadly speaking, incorrect, it’s mind-numbingly tone-deaf at a time when poverty is rising in this country. He comes across as a callous Dickensian character in his attitude toward America’s most vulnerable — our poor children. This is the kind of statement that shines light on the soul of a man and shows how dark it is.

Gingrich wants to start with the facts? O.K.

First, as I’ve pointed out before, three out of four poor working-aged adults — ages 18 to 64 — work. Half of them have full-time jobs and a quarter work part time.

Furthermore, according to an analysis of census data by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College, most poor children live in a household where at least one parent is employed. And even among children who live in extreme poverty — defined here as a household with income less than 50 percent of the poverty level — a third have at least one working parent. And even among extremely poor children who live in extremely poor areas — those in which 30 percent or more of the population is poor — nearly a third live with at least one working parent.

I’ll accept as true the fact that the poor work, but that’s too facile.  We also need to look at their attitude towards work.  As Shakespeare would say, there’s the rub.  Let me quote from a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, describing the way in which a white liberal tried desperately to explain away the fact that large corporations find it extremely difficult to keep minority employees:

Mr. Bookworm works for a very large corporation.  While we were in the car with the kids, the conversation turned to the exquisite sensitivity the corporation has to show when it’s faced with firing a minority employee. The process is arduous, requiring huge HR involvement, dozens of staff interviews and a lengthy paper trail.

The reason for this labor intensive firing is the unfortunate fact that minorities tend to be less satisfactory employees. As Mr. Bookworm was at great pains to point out to the children (and correctly so), this is a group trend and has nothing to do with the merits of any individual minority employee. It’s just that, if you look at a bell curve of minority employees versus a bell curve of white employees, you’ll find more white employees than minority employees in the segment denoting “good worker.” No modern corporation, however, wants a reputation as a “firer of minorities.”

The above are facts. What fascinated me was the different spin Mr. Bookworm and I put on those facts. Mr. Bookworm sent twenty minutes explaining to the children that, to the extent blacks were poorer employees, it was because their culture made them incapable of working. (This was not meant as an insult. He was talking, of course, about the culture of poverty.).

Mr. Bookworm painted a picture of a black child living in a ghetto, with a single mother who gave birth to him when she was 14, with several siblings from different fathers, with a terrible school, surrounded by illiterates, hungry all the time, etc.  No wonder, he said, that this child doesn’t bring to a corporation the same work ethic as a middle class white kid.

This creates big problems for corporations.  A modern corporation truly wants to hire minorities.  Once it’s hired them, though, according to my liberal husband, it ends up with workers who are incapable of functioning in a white collar, corporate environment. The corporation therefore finds itself forced to fire it’s minority hires more frequently than white or Asian employees, with the result that it’s accused of racism. Its response to that accusation is to proceed with excessive caution and extreme due diligence whenever a black employee fails at the job.

My suggestion to the children was that minority employees, aware that it’s almost impossible to fire them, might be disinclined to put out their best efforts on the job.  Why should they?  Logic and energy conservation both dictate that a smart person should do the bare minimum to get a job done.  In this case, for the black employees, the job their doing isn’t what’s in the job description.  Instead, their job is simply to keep their job.

Amusingly Newt thinks exactly the same as my liberal husband does.  They both blame black culture for poor black employment habits.  The difference is that, while Newt thinks it’s a fixable situation, starting with the children and their attitude toward labor, my husband, like Mr. Blowhard, thinks that all one can do is accept that minorities are going to be lousy employees.

America’s black poverty culture (as opposed to the Asian or East Indian) poverty culture is handicapped by a terrible, false syllogism:

  • Slavery was work
  • Slavery is evil
  • All work is evil

Even when they’re getting paid, too many African-Americans seem to feel they’ve sold out — that any work involving the white establishment is tantamount to slavery and that they can participate in this system by participating least.   It’s a principled stand, but it’s a principle that’s in thrall to terribly flawed logic and that ensures generational poverty and despair.  As far as I’m concerned, Newt gets serious kudos for his willingness to state what is, to the working class, quite obvious:  learn how to work well when you’re young, and you’ll be able to support yourself when you’re old.

Youth unemployment – where does it lead?

As we settle into the Obama Depression era, one thing that I and others have noticed is that many of the very youth that voted enthusiastically for Obama are the ones already feeling the consequence of his policies: they are unemployed. As one of my college-age kids put it, “our generation is so over Obama, today!”.

High youth unemployment is an inevitable consequence of socialism. In modern Europe, it has always been high. Here is an example of its pervasiveness in the U.K., for example:

http://anglo-americandebate.blogspot.com/2011/01/left-wing-policies-have-destroyed.html

In Europe, the problem has been exacerbated by extensive “social safety nets” that guarantee a pretty good lifestyle for the unemployed. Why work, when you can live comfortably on public assistance combined with the black market economy (dealing drugs, for example)? There are large swaths of the European population that, like people in our inner city projects, have no idea how to work. A young man in France with a finance degree recently reported to me that he was “happily unemployed”. Thanks to his government, he leads a comfortable existence. However, that, too, shall come to an end, for Europe faces the same economic collapse as the U.S.

I really do feel sorry for university students graduating today: for many, if not most, their degrees will be obsolete by the time the economy recovers (which could be a very long time). What employer would hire a student with, say, a business, philosophy, English, or whatever degree that has lain fallow for two, four or more years when they can hire a freshly minted graduate instead? These students’ parents, meanwhile, will often have drained hundreds of thousands of dollars from their retirement funds to fund such now worthless educations. I know of parents that have destroyed their retirement options in order to put their kids through university.

So, what happens when you have armies of unemployed young people with obsolete skills? I know that this has happened before, such as in the Great Depression. However, when economic recovery did come in the mid-to-late ’40s, workers with no education and technical skills could still find plenty of hands-on work opportunities. I don’t know that this holds true anymore in a modern economy. There’s only so many openings for baristas.
Any ideas?

An initiative requiring large employers to comply with the law in Novato

I received the following email, which I pass on to you directly:

Hello CLEC and friends,

I am the leader of a group that is gathering signatures to get a petition on the November 2010 ballot in Novato [California].  We have over 50% of the signatures we need.  The group is called “Citizens for Legal Employment and Contracting,” CLEC, and the website is http://clecnovato.com.

CLEC’s initiative protects American jobs and Novato tax payer money.  The goal of the initiative is to ensure that the people whose salaries are paid with Novato taxpayer money are citizens or legal immigrants.  More specifically, our initiative requires that big contractors with the city of Novato use E-Verify to confirm that their new hires are citizens or legal immigrants.  The initiative does not apply to small businesses.

Supporting workplace enforcement is popular not just with most Republicans but with independents and moderate Democrats.  In March 2009, the Rasmussen polling company surveyed the support for workplace enforcement.  Not only did more than three quarters of Republicans express support for that sentiment, but over seventy percent of independents did, and over half of Democrats as well.

Although our initiative applies only to Novato, it will be popular with non-liberals across Marin County and it can be easily franchised to other cities or the county.  Further, it sends a message that Marin County believes in enforcing immigration laws.

As I said, we have over 50% of the required number of signatures.  We need to gather 1,500 valid signatures from Novato voters before April to be on the November 2010 ballot in Novato.  Here is what CLEC needs to get on the ballot:

1.    Opportunities to gather signatures.  See our website.
2.    Volunteers to help in signature gathering.  Volunteers do not need to live in Novato.
3.    Donations to pay for professional signature gatherers.  $6,000 buys the signatures we need.

Thank you,

clecnovato@yahoo.com
http://clecnovato.com

Oh, about those jobs saved? It’s not true.

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” — Abraham Lincoln

Obama lies, and lies, and lies again. Sometimes he lies directly, and sometimes he lies by having his administration make a formal announcement. AJ Strata decimates the administration’s lie about “jobs saved or created.”