Rule 5 Blogging: On Active Duty

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Mila Kunis in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Senior Airman Vanessa Velez, a convoy driver with the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction Team, poses for a photo in front of the humvee she will be driving just before her next mission outside the wire here Feb. 10. Velez, who is a vehicle maintenance controller with the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., has driven at least 120 convoys during her 365-day deployment in Afghanistan.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: On Active Duty’ »

Senator Bob Casey: Lying through his scummy teeth!

Remember back in 1992, how Governor Robert Casey (D-PA), a pro-life Democrat, wanted to speak at the Democratic National Convention? From Wikipedia:

Because he considered abortion a key social issue for the 1992 presidential election, Casey tried to get a speaking slot to give a minority plank on the topic at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. He was not given a speaking slot and said in a series of news conferences the party was censoring his pro-life views even though he agreed with the party on nearly all other issues.

Actions during the convention highlighted the hostility of the Casey-abortion issue. During the convention, Karen Ritter, a pro-choice Pennsylvania legislator, reportedly sold large buttons featuring a picture of Casey dressed as the Pope. And after a speech by another pro-choice supporter from Pennsylvania, DNC supporters actually sent a camera crew in search of Casey in order to humiliate him.

Al Gore called Gov. Casey the next day to apologize.

After the convention, convention organizers tried to say that Casey was not allowed to speak because he did not support the Democratic ticket. By contrast, convention speaker Kathleen Brown had been falsely claimed not to have endorsed the ticket due to bitterness over her brother Jerry Brown‘s losing the nomination, but in actuality Kathleen (along with the other Browns, except for Jerry) had come to support the Clinton ticket prior to the convention.

Several pro-life Democrats such as John Breaux addressed the convention. After the convention, Casey went on vacation rather than campaign for Clinton in Pennsylvania, which was a key swing state. He also refused to say whether he would campaign for the Democratic nominee, though he told the New York Times, “I support the ticket. Period.” Several pro-life Democrats spoke at the convention, but they did not focus their remarks on their opposition to abortion, and the issue was not debated the way that Casey had wanted.

United States Senator Bob Casey, Jr (D-PA), a blatant liar.

Along comes Governor Casey’s son, Bob Casey, Jr, another devout Roman Catholic, and an alumnus of Catholic schools, Scranton Preparatory School, College of the Holy Cross (B.A.) and The Catholic University of America (J.D.), another pro-life Democrat running for office in the Keystone State.  Mr Casey lost the 2002 primary for the gubernatorial nomination to Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, but, after two terms as Pennsylvania’s State Auditor General and two years as State Treasurer, he ran in, and won, the 2006 campaign for the United States Senate seat then held by Rick Santorum (R-PA).  In the primary, he faced two challengers, both of whom argued that Mr Casey’s views on abortion and other social issues were too conservative for most of the commonwealth’s Democrats, but he won the nomination easily, and handily defeated Senator Santorum in the general election.  From Wikipedia:

Casey, like his father, is pro-life. He has publicly stated his support for overturning Roe v. Wade. From Casey’s election until Specter’s party switch in April 2009, Pennsylvania had the distinction of being represented in the Senate by a pro-life Democrat and a pro-choice Republican (Arlen Specter).

He supports the Pregnant Women Support Act, legislation that grew out of Democrats for Life of America‘s 95-10 Initiative. The Initiative and the Pregnant Women Support Act seek to reduce the abortion rate by providing support to women in unplanned pregnancies. He expressed support for the confirmation of both John Roberts and Samuel Alito for seats on the Supreme Court of the United States; these judges are believed to be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. Casey also opposes the funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

Casey voted against barring HHS grants to organizations that provide abortion services, where such services may often not be central to the organization’s chief purpose. Casey also supports over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception, and has voted to overturn the Mexico City policy, which bars the issuance of federal funds to overseas organizations that perform or refer for abortions. The authenticity of Casey’s pro-life commitment has been questioned by some partisan Republican pro-life sources.

In January 2010, a writer for CBN wrote, “I wouldn’t want to be Senator Bob Casey right about now. He is coming under enormous pressure from pro-life groups because they say the ‘Pro-life’ Democratic Senator has not stood strong on the abortion issue during the current healthcare debate.” Casey, according to the CBN writer, had recently gotten “an earful and then some from pro-lifers during a press conference held at the Pennsylvania Capitol.”

Casey received a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America in 2011. He voted against defunding Planned Parenthood. Despite giving him a 100% rating, NARAL still considers him “anti-choice” and has not endorsed him.

Well, we have just found out how pro-life Senator Casey really is. The pro-abortion forces introduced S. 1696, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which is designed to eliminate state restrictions on abortion, through the entire nine months of pregnancy. It was in response to restrictions imposed in states like Texas, where abortion clinics are required to meet rigorous safety and health standards. The Texas law1 is designed, unquestionably, to reduce the number of abortion clinics in the Lone Star State, but it was also in response to “Dr” Kermit Gosnell’s little shop of horrors. When it came time to actually vote on S. 1696, the devout Roman Catholic, pro-life Senator Casey, who represents the state in which “Dr” Gosnell was “practicing,” voted for the bill, as did every other Democrat in the Senate.2

With that vote, Senator Casey just told us, through deeds, that his words are nothing but lies. Senator Casey could have attempted to provide some “moderation,” some bit of pro-life sentiment, which he claims to have, by voting against the bill, because, in the end, the bill is both symbolic and meaningless: its chance of passage by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is infinitesimally small.

A confession: in 2004, your Editor voted for Mr Casey, in his campaign for State Treasurer. The office is mostly apolitical, but I thought that the promotion of a pro-life politician in the Democratic Party would be a good thing. Now, ten years later, I have learned a bitter, bitter lesson: there really is no such thing as a pro-life Democrat! It doesn’t matter what they say, it only matters how they actually vote, and Senator Casey has shown that, regardless of his sometimes noble words, he is going to support the most radical pro-abortion legislation that he sees.

It doesn’t matter that Senator Casey claims to be pro-life; he isn’t. It doesn’t matter that Senator Casey will tell you that he is a devout Catholic; he is lying about that, too.

Mary McCarthy famously said of her literary rival, Lillian Hellman, “Every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.” The same statement would seem to apply to Senator Bob Casey.
Related articles:


  1. This was the bill that state Senator Wendy Davis (D-TX) famously filibustered, initially winning, but losing when Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) called a special session to reconsider it. Senator Davis, whose term expires after this year, won the Democratic nomination for Governor, but will almost certainly lose the general election, and be out of office.
  2. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) actually voted against the bill, but he votes against his party on many bills, not because he disagrees with the legislation, but as a parliamentary maneuver which allows him to change his vote and bring the bill back to the floor for reconsideration.

Wisconsin Democrat Prosecutors Not Having Fun

HT Hogewash

Wisconsin, known as “The birthplace of Progressivism” (view with a grain of salt), had recall elections that didn’t work out so well for Democrats after Governor Walker and the Republicans passed sweeping reforms that severely cut into the slush money Public Employee Unions (and their off-shoots) got out of their subjects — reforms the Democrats tried to stop by fleeing the state instead of doing their jobs.

Then came the highly partisan, highly secretive, highly unconstitutional, highly intimidating raids and political rectal exams of Conservative groups fighting the Leftist recall attempts and Leftist big money (which have never been investigated). Followed by Conservative legal pushback to protect the rights of all individuals from Fascist tyranny.

And the Democrat prosecutors, not used to having to defend their heavy-handed partisan intimidation tactics, are losing court battles and not liking it one bit.

O’Keefe and his Wisconsin Club for Growth have turned their civil rights lawsuit — a complaint many legal experts believed would be an uphill battle at best — into ground-breaking litigation to be reckoned with.

It certainly has demanded the attention of John Doe prosecutors turned defendants: Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, the Democrat who launched the secret probe into dozens of conservative organizations in the summer of 2012; two of Chisholm’s assistant DAs; John Doe special prosecutor Francis Schmitz; and Dean Nickel, a shadowy investigator contracted by the state Government Accountability Board.

Some say the prosecutors, not used to being on the defensive, are sounding a little nervous these days, maybe even hostile. Their filings in federal court of late come across as condescending, and testy.

Who could blame them? There’s much at stake for Chisholm and crew – beyond the forced termination of the probe they’ve pushed for nearly two years.

In comes Wisconsin’s Attorney General, who has declared that, according to State Law, the Government Accountability Board doesn’t have to be accountable to the general public. Orwellian barely covers what Wisconsin’s law, written by Progressives, does to actual word definitions.

MADISON, Wis. — It appears the state Government Accountability Board will be able to keep its secrets from the public eye.

In an opinion [pdf] issued Thursday, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the GAB “may not” turn over its confidential investigative records to the Legislative Audit Bureau because “there is no specific authorization for it do so.”

Now the leaders of the Legislature’s audit committee say they might change the law to open up the records.

The Legislature has provided specific authorizations of confidential information in other circumstances, Van Hollen wrote, but the audit bureau’s right to access documents under Wisconsin statute only provides a “general right” access, and no specific authorization to access confidential records.

So, according to Wisconsin’s Attorney General, Wisconsin law states that the Government Accountability Board is not accountable to the Legislative Audit Bureau or the people who elect their government officials. Once the Federal judge who demanded the total destruction of the material unconstitutionally taken in hyper-partisan raids finds out the GAB is not releasing information, he’s going to have something to say about that.

This is Progressivism trying to hang onto its Fascist tyranny and avoid being accountable for its wholly unconstitutional intimidation of all who stand against Government Control of everything.
For more information of who was involved in the protests, including information destroying the Leftists’ Godwinning of Walker and Republicans, see Restoring Honor Now.

Also read the 96 articles (so far) by in this surreal unfolding tale of overreaching government and pushback by regular citizens.
Originally published on Truth Before Dishonor.
All administrative rights reserved by author.

Sometimes, Governors have to recognize their responsibilities to their constituents

The Delaware Liberals are aghast!

Markell to Children: Drop Dead
Filed in Delaware by on July 15, 2014 • 61 Comments

Don’t look for gimlet-eyed Jack Markell to lift a finger to assist in the humanitarian crisis at the nation’s borders.  Delaware Gov. Markell turned down a request from The US Department of Health & Social Services to even consider making any state resources available to stem the humanitarian crisis. He blames congressional ‘dithering’. As if the kids placed in the middle of this crisis can do anything to overcome congressional dithering.

From today’s News-Journal story:

Markell, who is among a number of the nation’s governors who fielded federal requests for help, said there are no state facilities available that could properly accommodate the children while they await immigration hearings. But he said some Delaware faith-based organizations might be in a position to offer assistance.

“I don’t really see the possibility of any state facilities housing these kids,” Markell said Monday. “I don’t think that exists. If private organizations choose to do so, that’ll be up to them.”

Markell said he would “expect to be notified” if the federal government sends any children to Delaware.

Gotcha. Faith-based networks already pushed beyond the breaking point due to rips in the social safety net should see if there’s any room in their respective basements, but Markell is not going to even look into the possibility of assisting.

“This is a huge issue,” Markell said. “We need to make sure we’re treating these kids humanely.”

By ‘we’, he makes clear that he doesn’t mean Delaware. The Delaware ‘we’ is not going to do anything to help. So says our leader.

A bit more at the original. And now from Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom:

“Iowa Governor: I Do Not Want To House Immigrant Children In My State”

Another nativist and white supremacist who hates brown people.  Hopefully the good people of Iowa will throw this bigot out of office come next election.  And maybe even replace him with a child from, say, Guatemala.  As a show of cosmopolitanism!

Failure you to do so, let me remind you, will brand you Iowans as backwood corn-fed country hicks.  And that’s a helluva lot worse than having to wait extra time for emergency services, or see your schools overrun and your state’s resources sucked up.

Because of the stigma.

Don’t be one of those people.  Tsk tsk tsk.

Governor Markell of Delaware is a Democrat; Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa is a Republican. What do they have in common? They are responsible for managing state spending, and neither one wants to overburden the taxpayers of his state with the extra bills for housing and feeding and caring for the illegal immigrants.

Of course, the Delaware Libs think nothing at all about increasing taxes, though, remarkably enough, they seem to think that they can just increase taxes on wicked old corporations, without increasing taxes on people. The fact that corporations don’t really pay taxes at all, but simply pass on taxes that they collect from their customers, an Economics 101 level concept, is still beyond anything that they understand.

Of course, we’ve said it before: if liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals!

Are Governors Markell and Branstad cruel and heartless bastards, who don’t give a hoot about poor, hungry immigrant children? I don’t know, and really, I don’t even care. Mr Goldstein was writing in his usual mode, thoroughly sarcastically, but the Delaware Libs were being perfectly straightforward: they think that their state should do something to help those poor, poor kids, without the slightest regard for Delaware’s poor, poor taxpayers. Well, it’s easy to have all sorts of sympathy for those kids, when you don’t have any actual responsibilities to anyone but yourself and your family, but those two governors, Democrat and Republican alike, do have responsibilities, responsibilities to the taxpayers of their states, and it seems that they are taking those responsibilities seriously.

There are some good people at Lowe’s!


VA a no show; store workers fix vet’s wheelchair

In this July 15, 2014 photo, Michael Sulsona, a Vietnam War veteran who lost both legs to a land mine 40 years ago, poses with a “thank you” sign while seated in his new wheelchair at home in Staten Island, N.Y.

By Verena Dobnik of Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — What the Veterans Administration failed to do for double amputee Michael Sulsona in two years, some New York hardware store workers delivered in an hour: They fixed his broken wheelchair.

The 62-year-old Vietnam veteran said he petitioned the VA for a new chair two years ago and received no reply. Then his wheelchair broke last week.

When Sulsona was in a Lowe’s home improvement store on Staten Island, a bolt on the already worn-out wheelchair snapped and a back wheel was about to fall off. Three Lowe’s employees stayed late after their 10 p.m. closing time to do the repair, for free.

“They said, ‘You’re not leaving till it’s like new again,’” Sulsona recalled.

The next day, Sulsona wrote a letter to his local newspaper, the Staten Island Advance, to thank the store’s employees.

“I kept thanking them and all they could say was, ‘It was our honor,’” he wrote. “The actions of these three employees at Lowe’s showed me there are some who still believe in stepping to the plate. … Someone needed help and they felt privileged to be given the opportunity.”

Sulsona, an ex-Marine, said he lost his legs in 1971 during an explosion while on patrol.

Naturally, the Veterans Administration had the “appropriate” response:

After his letter to the newspaper, the VA got word of Sulsona and sent him a brand-new wheelchair Tuesday.

In other words, after they were humiliated in public, the VA did something; not before.

There is a Lowe’s store in Lehighton, and I do a considerable amount of shopping there; we spent thousands at Lowe’s on the kitchen remodeling project. And we found out one thing first hand: Lowe’s offers service members a 10% discount on everything, as long as they have their military IDs with them; that has saved us a lot of money.

A few years ago, at the Lehighton Lowe’s, I was looking for something, and asked one of the red vests — Lowe’s store employees wear red vests — where I could find a particular item. He told me in which aisle, and started to take me there. I told him that he didn’t have to do that, and he responded, “Sure I do; you’re my paycheck.” Now, I don’t know if he was trained to respond that way by Lowe’s, or if that was just his existing attitude, but the man understood how business works, and that it is the customers who keep him employed. I appreciated that.
While this site accepts paid advertisements, this is a regular article from the editor, and is not a paid advertisement.

The problem with feminism

Robert Stacey Stacy McCain has written a lot of articles lately concerning feminism, and he has been concentrating on the self-appointed feminist leadership, which is absolutely eaten up with radical professors, gender theorists and lesbians.  (Do you think that I’ve included enough links? :) ) Mr McCain’s purpose is obvious, to separate the basic notions of feminism that I’d guess most women, and even most men, accept, that people ought to be paid equally when they do equal work, and that there should be no bars to school admissions or career opportunities based on sex, which are not absolutely essential,1 from the feminist “leadership.”  Mr McCain’s position can be summed up quite briefly: the professional feminists are just plain nuts.

But that leaves the non-nuts part of feminism wide open: it isn’t nuts to think that people ought to have equal opportunities,2 and reap equal rewards, regardless of race or sex.  In fact, I’d call that a basic part of capitalism, part of a system which rewards industry and hard work and stick-to-it-ivness; to throw in additional barriers for non-essential reasons is to harm the economy.

It was at this point that I was interested in what Mr McCain had to say:

Unthinking acceptance of simple slogans, a superficial discourse built around glittering generalities — “equality,” “choice,” etc. — is not an ideology, nor could this bland kind of feminism ever have been enough to inspire an enduring political movement. Even while they ignore the chasm between radical theory and their own feminism, however, women seem surprised to find that real life contradicts even the least controversial understanding of “sexual equality”:

I have always found it hard and confusing to be both a feminist and happily married. Why? Because in a good marriage, where both parties are equally happy, no one is keeping score. Feminists emphasize equality of roles, but in a real life marriage, this isn’t always realistic.

If women make equality the measure of their happiness, they are hopelessly doomed to misery in real life, if their ambitions include men, marriage and motherhood. Somewhere, there may be a perfect Feminist Man acceptable to the egalitarian ideal, but feminists generally mock that possibility.

The problem has been succinctly identified: people are keeping score, and, for the feminists, it seems that they must keep score on other people’s marriages.

So, if my wife and daughters are primarily the ones who do the dishes, and if I am exclusively the one who cuts the grass, are these things pretty well balanced out, or will they Offend A Feminist™ because the tasks are not only physically different (though not necessarily difficulty or time-wise different) but plain not identical? If I must wash the dishes exactly as often as the womenfolk, mustn’t they lawn the mow (a Picoism, not a typo) just as often as I do the dishes?

This is the inherent problem with Other People’s Feminism: since equivalent is not equal, and is much more of a judgement call, an adversely inclined judge is going to see these things as inherently unequal. Never mind the fact that God or evolution or Mother Nature decided to build me much taller and stronger than my wife and daughters, and that physical strength is an asset when pushing a mowlawner uphill, any sort of skills-conscious division of labor which does not parcel out tasks exactly identically is inherently cisheteronormatively patriarchal and wholly sexist.

And this is the beginning of where the where the Professional Feminists have veered off into the weeds. It was, I suppose, inevitable, because the Professional Feminists need to have a point of contention, need to pick the nit and blow it up into something monstrous and all-consuming and just plain wrong, or they lose their entire raison d’être, and, in effect, their jobs. If the Professional Feminist has nothing about which to complain, her next complain will be that she’s out of work.

This needs to be pointed out, because men and women are not enemies. We are meant to go together, and the survival of humanity depends upon men and women being together. The Professional Feminists see men as their enemies, because they have to see men as their enemies — something which would explain, as Mr McCain points out, the high concentration of lesbians among the Professional Feminists — but such is the complete opposite of what nature requires our society to be.

The unexceptional feminism, the feminism of common sense, isn’t enough, because those “battles” have already been won. Women no longer need — and I would argue, never needed — Affirmative Action to win collegiate admissions, and women have outnumbered men in college enrollment for decades. If women already outnumber men in collegiate admissions, earn more university degrees than do men, about what can the Professional Feminists complain?3

Conservatives have no objection to the feminism of common sense, and it’s pretty much the way married couples live their lives. Couples, at least happy couples, don’t keep score when it comes to doing the things around the house that need to be done; my wife doesn’t have to tell me to cut the grass, or shovel the snow, because I’m perfectly capable of seeing it myself, and just do it.

That, of course, is the problem for the Professional Feminists. They are losing, at least as far as votes for Republicans versus Democrats are concerned, with married women; it is only amongst unmarried women that the Democrats have an advantage in elections. Given how wedded — pun definitely intended — the Professional Feminists are to the Democrats and liberal politics, their efforts to make men appear to be the enemy of women is actually the least feminist thing that they could do, since marriage is the primary determinant of economic success. Virtually everything that the Professional Feminists do winds up hurting women. But anyone who thought that they were ever concerned with anybody but themselves has really fooled himself; the Professional Feminists would gladly throw every woman who wasn’t among their personal friends right under the bus, as long as it kept them in their positions.

  1. I am referring here to things such as the bar to women serving directly in the infantry, a prohibition which the Obama Administration is trying to end, but a restriction which is reasonable. I have argued previously that women should be allowed to serve in the infantry, as long as they are capable of meeting the standards impose on male infantrymen, something very few women can do. I would further argue that private institutions may retain sex discriminatory policies, such as the continuation of all male or all female colleges, and that religious institutions may have sexually segregated positions. There is enough variety of opportunity in this country that Bryn Mawr College, for example, can remain all female without imposing any unfair burden on males.
  2. Note here that equal opportunities does not include special considerations, quotas, set asides or Affirmative Action, and that equal opportunity does not mean equal outcomes.
  3. Naturally, they came up with something, a claim that when two drunk college students copulate, it’s actually the man raping the woman. A lot more could be written about that, and Mr McCain has, but that isn’t the purpose of this article.

Another unintended consequence?

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Full-Time Scandal of Part-Time America
Fewer than half of U.S. adults are working full time. Why? Slow growth and the perverse incentives of ObamaCare.
By Mortimer Zuckerman | July 13, 2014 6:47 p.m. ET

There has been a distinctive odor of hype lately about the national jobs report for June. Most people will have the impression that the 288,000 jobs created last month were full-time. Not so.

The Obama administration and much of the media trumpeting the figure overlooked that the government numbers didn’t distinguish between new part-time and full-time jobs. Full-time jobs last month plunged by 523,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What has increased are part-time jobs. They soared by about 800,000 to more than 28 million. Just think of all those Americans working part time, no doubt glad to have the work but also contending with lower pay, diminished benefits and little job security.

On July 2 President Obama boasted that the jobs report “showed the sixth straight month of job growth” in the private economy. “Make no mistake,” he said. “We are headed in the right direction.” What he failed to mention is that only 47.7% of adults in the U.S. are working full time. Yes, the percentage of unemployed has fallen, but that’s worth barely a Bronx cheer. It reflects the bleak fact that 2.4 million Americans have become discouraged and dropped out of the workforce. You might as well say that the unemployment rate would be zero if everyone quit looking for work.

Last month involuntary part-timers swelled to 7.5 million, compared with 4.4 million in 2007. Way too many adults now depend on the low-wage, part-time jobs that teenagers would normally fill. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had it right in March when she said: “The existence of such a large pool of partly unemployed workers is a sign that labor conditions are worse than indicated by the unemployment rate.”

More at the original, but I do want to quote one more paragraph, slightly further down:

But there is one clear political contribution to the dismal jobs trend. Many employers cut workers’ hours to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health insurance to anyone working 30 hours a week or more. The unintended consequence of President Obama’s “signature legislation”? Fewer full-time workers. In many cases two people are working the same number of hours that one had previously worked.

Way, way back in the late 90s, I was part of a company management meeting where the Vice President was trying to cut overtime, saying that if a man worked 67½ hours, it would be less expensive for the company to have a second employee working 40 hours, and the first man held to 40. Well, that was over-simplified, due to the fixed costs of the second employee, primarily the health insurance plan, though there were other things. Nothing was ever done to meet the Vice President’s objections, because workers in ready-mixed concrete have come to depend on overtime, and cutting back those workers to 40 hours, and adding replacement workers to cover the hours beyond 40 would mean a loss of the most skilled and valuable men.1

But what Mr Zuckerman is noting is a statistical trend which indicates that that Vice President’s thinking is being employed in a different manner: it’s not the denial of overtime work, which results in wage savings due to not having to pay time-and-a-half, but the avoidance of having to provide health insurance for these employees. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported that, in 2013, the average cost of employer-sponsored family health insurance coverage was $16,351, of which $4,565 pas paid by the employee, normally by payroll deductions, and the remainder, $11,786, was paid by the employer.2 Given that most of the jobs which can be kept part-time are lower-skilled, higher turnover jobs,3 essentially the type we think of as near minimum wage jobs, providing health insurance is effectively a 43% increase in per hour labor costs.4 As long as employers are restricting such thinking to the most quickly trained and easily replaced workers, it makes perfect economic sense to do just what Mr Zuckerman has pointed out.

In one way, the Obama Administration’s policies have exacerbated the very income inequality problems about which it complains. In yet another article, the Journal noted that many small businesses are having a difficult time finding good employees in the higher job skill positions. Those are the positions for which there will be no questions at all concerning whether companies provide health insurance: they are competing for a too-small labor pool, and providing health insurance coverage is just plain required to hire such people. Thus, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has led to the (apparently) unintended consequence5 of widening the wage gap, not narrowing it. It doesn’t require a PhD in economics to see and understand that, but it does, seemingly, require having more economic and common sense than is possessed by the Obama Administration.

  1. I have been a salaried employee through almost all of my twenty-eight years in this business, so it wouldn’t have included me.
  2. Economically, I would argue that it was all paid by the employee, in that the employer’s portion of health insurance really constitutes part of the employee’s total compensation. However, this arrangement means that employees are receiving, in effect, $11,786 in untaxed wages, and that untaxed portion means untaxed throughout the income and wage tax systems, federal, state and municipal. To show this effective $5.67 per hour wage (based on a 40 hour week) as part of salaries and wages would mean a huge tax increase, throughout all levels of government, on employees.
  3. The Journal also noted the decrease in job turnover, which not only has depressing effects on the wages of entry-level workers, but reduces turnover costs for the employers of low-skilled workers.
  4. This assumes the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, plus the effective $5.67 per hour cost, at full time, for employer-provided health insurance, using the averages reported by the Kaiser Foundation. Different companies would see different figures, but the averages illustrate the point sufficiently.
  5. Have there been any actually intended consequences of Obama Administration policies?

Economics 101: has made me wealthier

No, not through site advertising; I don’t even make a pittance there.

But Saturday night I bought The Particles of the Universe by Jeff Yee, for a whopping 99¢, with no sales tax, delivered to my Tablet in seconds. If I had bought the same book, printed, it would have meant at least $8.95 for the book, 54¢ for sales tax, and around $12 of gasoline to drive to and from Barnes & Noble to get it.

The book, which I just started reading, discusses the theories of Gabriel LaFreniere, which hold that the neutrino is the basic building block of all matter, something unproved and, thus far, unprovable, because we cannot duplicate the conditions immediately following the Big Bang in the laboratory.

Is he right? No one knows yet, but for 99¢, the book is worth it to me.

And this means that has made me wealthier: I don’t consider the 99¢ to be a waste, and I saved something on the order of $20.50, as described above, on buying the book the old fashioned way.

You can buy the Android Tablet that I use for just $50.99, either through the image at the left, or the same one embedded in the sidebar, and I’ll make a whopping $2.04 commission. There are other Kindle readers available on the sidebar. But you don’t have to buy only those products I have advertised for me to get a commission: just use the small search widget which links to my amazon associates account, in the sidebar or at the bottom of this article, and anything you buy through that helps me out! :)

I think that the Kindle technology is absolutely great. Our family has three Kindles — one for my wife and each daughter — plus my Tablet, and any book that any of us buys is available on each of the units. My darling bride has a Kindle Fire, like the one at the right, which has alighted screen — standard Kindles do not — which means that she can read in bed with the light off.

Yeah, I’m a greedy capitalist pig, who likes making money, and likes saving money, so all of these links lead back to my commission account. But even if you never buy through any of those links, Kindle technology is a great thing: it saves you money, because Kindle books are (normally) a lot less expensive than printed books, it’s green technology, in that we aren’t using paper and ink to print the books, and not spending gasoline to go to the bookstore to get them, and it doesn’t take up much space: there are whole bookcases full of books on my android tablet, which is slightly smaller than a loose-leaf binder, and only an inch thick, in its padded cover. The rest of the family’s Kindles are smaller than that. Nor are books and Kindles and tablets the only things you can buy on Amazon: you can buy table saws and televisions and topcoats there, too.

Technology is making us wealthier, and, as a good capitalist, I certainly support that!

Book Review – The Martian

This is the first book review I’ve written in a while, in fact, probably the first one I’ve written since Dana started this new site.

Anyway, the book in question is called “The Martian” and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Or, let me put it this way. If you liked the movie “Gravity” and thought it was packed with suspense, well, this is at least 5 times better. The premise is the same; an astronaut is abandoned in space and has to find a way back to Earth and safety, except in “Gravity” that astronaut (played by Sandra Bullock) is in low Earth orbit and needs only to get to a nearby space station with a working capsule that can get her to the surface, only a couple hundred miles below her.

In contrast, in “The Martian”, our hero is also stranded, except he’s stranded alone on Mars, which is tens of millions of miles away. Thus his job of both surviving and finding a way to get back to Earth is far more daunting. Without giving away too much of the plot, he needs to use what materials are at hand to maintain a stable, breathable air supply, produce additional food, re-establish contact with NASA, and finally, of course, get off this God-forsaken freezing hellhole desert of a planet which he quickly grows to loathe with a passion, not least because it keeps coming up with new and often unexpected ways of trying to kill him.

A great part of the delight of the book is the ingenuity he shows in trying to accomplish this basic mission, and the resourcefulness displayed in coping with the various catastrophes that come his way. Perhaps the best is his solution to the problem of re-establishing radio contact with Earth, an idea so brilliant that I wouldn’t dream of spoiling it by describing it here. The author clearly has a very solid grasp of space travel technology and a vivid imagination for coming up with new, scary ( yet realistic and believable) plot twists as well as ways for his hero, Mark Watney, to work his way around them. But in addition to all that is the terrific sense of humor, something that is often lacking in Sci-Fi. It is, in fact, what gives Watney a very individualized and distinct personality, something that is also often lacking in this genre. A few such examples are:

“And hey, with the rover righted, I get to use the bathroom again. It’s the simple things in life that matter.”

“If I could have anything, it would be a radio to ask NASA the safe path down the Ramp. Well, if I could have *anything*, it would be for the green skinned yet beautiful Queen of Mars to rescue me so she can learn more about this Earth thing called lovemaking. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a woman. Just sayin’ ”

“If I get back to Earth, I’ll be famous, right? A fearless astronaut who beat all the odds, right? I bet women like that. More motivation to stay alive.”

Anyway, just an amazing read all the way around, even if you’re not a big Sci-Fi fan. Eric says – check it out!