Business

This Is Bad

I have become a fan of Carly, but Fiorina supported an individual mandate in 2013. Not the same mandate. A more sensible mandate. However, it is wrong either way. No matter what the NSA has and allowed Obama to use on Justice Roberts to get a decision that says otherwise, the mandate is unconstitutional.

I’m not convinced this destroys her chances utterly, and it’s going to be hard to do more than modify ObamaCare no matter who wins, but it certainly looks bad. You cannot, by definition, support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America if you support and pursue unconstitutional policies.

The problem may be a corporate background informing her views. The trouble with Republicans is that it’s OK if a corporation does it, the way a Democrat considers it good if the government does it, but then that extends to it being OK if the government does something of benefit to corporation(s). If you see an individual mandate as somehow benefiting business, especially big business, you are more likely to support it as a Republican. No principles need apply.

Perhaps it’s already time to bring back Rick Perry. He has the problem of invoking Jesus, but not to the extent of being a Christian theocrat as some Republicans might be.

How is this hard?

Saw the other day an article about the latest intentions by the USPS to review and possibly close thousands of unprofitable branches.

But we need the services they offer!

But it’s the central focus of the village!

Wail. Gnash.

How can it possibly be this hard? I mean, besides the whole “government bureaucracy” element making it nigh impossible to function, let alone efficiently.

We are closer than we’ve ever been before to a scenario in which a private company could readily take over or supplant the entire operations of the postal service, starting from elements already having been farmed out for the sake of cost and efficiency. In my mind, that makes a lesser leap easy.

Offer up the locations that are on the block. Either as such, or to some other place in the locality, to carry on the same basic functions as a contractor. Simple. Offer them preferentially to the employees who now operate them. Turn them into something between a kiosk and a service desk function of a local store or other business.

Private mail centers have been done! They were so compelling, UPS bought a chain, and FedEx added that aspect to a one-off chain. Stores that double as a post office have been done! My first apartment was in a village where mail went to a PO box in an antique store that doubled as a post office. Quaint. Probably still too subsidized or inefficient. An odd combo.

Let’s try it. We’re already so close.

A Modest Proposal?

In which I combine two topics, each worthy of their own, more expansive post(s), to make inroads into the economic and illegal immigrant problems.

First, my preference would be that the minimum wage laws be eliminated. If they are not unconstitutional, they should be. They are anti-life and anti-property, to phrase it redundantly. This idea is really more of a “if we can’t have a perfect world, let’s come as close as we can given where we are” thing.

Second, in that proverbial ideal world, open borders, free immigration, yada yada. Two hands, one mouth, all that stuff. In a less ideal but improved world, if you’re going to have restrictions and enforced borders, then do it. Or be creative with incentives.

So. If you’re not going to go all the way to eliminating the minimum wage, a logical step would be to free it up some. Lower it. Maybe drastically. Call it $3 an hour, for the sake of throwing out a low number. Instant employment rush. No, an adult supporting a family can’t live on it, but that’s not who low earners usually are, and they aren’t for long once they prove themselves. And no, wages in most places, for most things will not drop that far, because market pressure will keep them perhaps not much below where they are now.

But… That would just encourage illegals, and you’d get a flood of those who would work for that little and then it exacerbates that problem. If you concede it’s a problem.

So how about a two-tier minimum?

If you can prove you are legally eligible to work in this country, the low wage applies to you. You have maximum economic freedom to sell your labor.

If you can’t prove your status, being an illegal or ornery, you are not eliminated from working. You are merely in a pool of people for whom the minimum wage is higher. Call it $10 an hour, for the sake of throwing out a proportionately higher number. More might be better, since it would act as a filter on skilled labor immigration. Exemption for self-employment, so if you come here and are the person starting a business, you rock.

Hey, it’s a thought.

This is Only a Drill

It seems the issue of the day is drilling for oil. Well, yeah. If you don’t pay, you can’t play. It’s absurd to have resources in the United States locked up so extensively, and I can’t imagine so much of a conspiracy extant that we’re intentionally sucking the rest of the world dry to have the last laugh with domestic sources.

I believe that, yes, costly gas will trump the ban. No matter how much drilling we do and refinery capacity we finally build, nuclear plants are also imperative. He could have done better about espousing a rational drilling policy, but at least McCain has sense about nukes. They are not your father’s one of a kind, many billions each plants, or at least they needn’t be. Of course, major equipment and infrastructure can take time. There may be elasticity associated with the entire energy market, but it’s of the discountinuous, somewhat brittle kind.

So yeah, about time the idea of heretofore off-limits drilling spread. I was pleased Bush was making sense on that topic, but some say he’s held back too much. If he could have undid executive orders and didn’t, then absolutely, but at least the noises he emits are soothingly correct.

Oil has been cheap for a long time. There are ways in which it being higher will be good, even if you’re not an eco-freak or anti-human prevert. People, meaning companies too, since just like Soylent Green, companies are people, if not always in recognizable form, respond to economic incentives, positive or negative. We’re at a point where the incentives are unambiguous, intense, and unlikely to recede to prior levels for years, if ever. Most of what government policy should be is to get out of the way. In fact, oil is arguably in this mess because of government policy. Heck, not arguably, really.

Drill. Drill soon. Drill widely. Build some freaking refineries so we can use the stuff. Use less of the stuff as gas. Cut it out with the absurd ethanol thing already! Stop starving people in the name of fell good economic inefficiency and pocket lining for limited special interests. Build nuclear plants. Get some efficient, small scale, mass production designs going so it’s even more economical. Put some windmills in Nantucket Sound already, don’t wait until Teddy is dead. And let’s get cracking on those wonderful microbes that excrete crude and make the deep hot biosphere concept sound all the more intriguing.