24 September 2002
Pay me to stay home

How can anyone possibly oppose paid family leave? Dodd Harris can, and he has darn good reasons:

"[S]ince it...caps out at 55% of their wages (up to a maximum of US$728/week), many times many will not be able to afford the time off even with the check from the state Treasury. So what it really means is that relatively affluent workers will get paid leave at the expense of those who live paycheck to paycheck."

And, of course, that's only the half of it:

"This is pure election year vote buying at its most egregious: The measure doesn't even go into effect for over a year-and-a-half — which means it won't start really impacting the state's already strained budgets until eGray's term is almost up, leaving it as a headache with which his successor will have to deal, not him."

(Internal link added by me.)

Somehow this reminds me of what happened with California's electric "deregulation": it seems that Governor Davis and his minions huddled together, considered all the available options, and discarded any that might have actually worked.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:30 AM)
25 June 2003
Greedy old farts

Robert Prather blames it all — well, okay, not all, but surely a lot of it — on AARP:

The people who are my age (34) are rightly concerned that they'll pay into [Social Security and Medicare] for decades and receive nothing for it. If the AARP has its way, that's exactly what will happen. Either that or taxes will become so oppressively high that economic growth is crushed. Either way, there will be no free lunch.

Mark my words: when I become eligible to join the AARP in 16 years they'll send me an application and I'll piss on it. I hate that organization, the shortsightedness it embodies, the fiscal wreckage it will create and the crippling economic burden it will leave for me and everyone that follows. Why should they care: they'll be dead when the bill comes due. If they're not dead their answer will be more government benefits, not less. No consideration for those that follow at all.

If it's any consolation, I came out in favor of privatization of the Social Security system five years ago, when I was a mere child of, um, forty-five.

Now if the government wants to buy me drugs — well, does it have to be limited to the stuff for which I have prescriptions?

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:06 PM)
31 October 2003
Tote that barge! Post that bail!

About two million residents of subsidized public housing are going to be put to work — sort of. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has implemented a rule enacted in 2002 which requires many residents to contribute eight hours a month to community service projects and/or self-sufficiency programs.

Not everyone in public housing is affected; the elderly and the disabled are exempt, as are persons already working 30 hours or more per week.

And not everyone is enthusiastic about the requirement, either:

"I live my life just like everybody else, you know?" said Regina Morgan, a resident of public housing and mother of four. "The fact that you are tying it into my lease, that is inhumane."

To which Ravenwood replies:

Boo hoo hoo. Imagine having to work a mind-boggling 8 hours per month for taxpayer subsidized housing. How inhumane!

I'm surprised she hasn't thought of suing HUD on the grounds that raising four children takes at least 30 hours a week. Finding a lawyer looking to kick-start his 15 minutes of fame by arguing this case would probably be no more difficult than finding beer bottles behind a frat house.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:25 PM)
25 June 2004
The Dover boys

Once again, Fritz Schranck has the scoop on some Delaware lawmaking. Senate Bill 22 would raise the state's minimum wage, in increments, to $7.15 by January 2006. The Senate, dominated by Democrats, passed it easily, but the House, controlled by Republicans, isn't buying.

And to express the quality of their disdain, they came up with this amendment to the bill:

In order to effect the wholly positive benefits promised by the sponsors and in order to eliminate the loss of jobs and increase in prices to consumers which always follow government mandated wage increases, the law of supply and demand is hereby repealed.

I suspect this action might exceed their jurisdiction — and if it doesn't, to whom do I apply for an exemption to the laws of physics? — but I applaud their creativity.

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:46 PM)
14 October 2004
Low man on a totem pole

This Kerryism from last night's debate seems to demand further examination:

If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years, to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year....We'd put money into the hands of people who work hard, who obey the rules, who play for the American dream. And if we did that we'd have more consumption ability in America, which is what we need right now in order to kick our economy into gear.

Well, they wouldn't actually reach that presumably-happy plus-3800 state until the last year of the phase-in, but that's a quibble.

And yes, $5.15 seems absurd in the context of today, but where do you stop? Jacob Sullum follows it to its logical conclusion:

If the minimum wage can work this sort of magic, why not raise it to $100 an hour? Then everyone would be well-off, with plenty of spending cash to stimulate the economy.

I certainly wouldn't object to being paid $100 an hour, but I think it's fair to assume it's not going to happen in my lifetime. And somehow I suspect that if the minimum wage were raised to $100, prices would rather quickly jump upwards to cover the increased costs of labor, and what's more, the recipients thereof would be in a much higher tax bracket.

<fantasy scenario>
"Are you better off today?" As I pull two slices from my $35 loaf of store-brand bread and slap them with a dollop of peanut butter ($49.95 for a ten-ounce jar, and it's not even crunchy, fercrissake), I'm inclined to say No.
</fantasy scenario>

Now that I think about it, the last time my taxes were cut, I made sure the proceeds were cycled back through the economy. And I'd be happy to do it again, though I don't expect to get anything like $3800 a year from the next Bush administration — or anything at all should Kerry be elected.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:00 PM)
16 November 2004
We may as well try and catch the wind

Mike at Okiedoke turns up a tale of turbines and what they can do, and the models suggest that