Friday, January 31, 2014

The job-killing Congress

President Obama and the Democrats in Congress want to raise the minimum wage by 40 percent. However, 96 percent of House and Senate sponsors of a bill to do just that do not pay their interns, according to a new analysis by the Employment Policies Institute. It’s an incredible display of hypocrisy.

Aside from the hypocrisy of using free labor while simultaneously crying for a minimum wage hike, raising the minimum wage is a job killer. Obama and the libs in Congress will tell you
it’s not and they’ll point to “studies” that back their argument but that’s a case of cherry-picking your study.

According to Forbes Magazine, there was a comprehensive study that looked at the last two decades of data. It was conducted by David Neumark of UC-Irvine and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board. They determined that 85 percent of the research demonstrates raising the minimum wage kills jobs.

Of course, it’s just common sense. Payroll is the single biggest expense for many businesses. Unless you can raise the price of your product to cover the added expense, something has to give. Even Bill Gates said as much on MSNBC when he said, “If you raise the minimum wage, you’re encouraging labor substitution, and you’re going to go buy machines and automate things or cause jobs to appear outside of that jurisdiction.” He added that “it does cause job destruction.” Gates may be a big lib but he knows a thing or two about business.

Let’s take the fast food industry, for example. You’ve no doubt heard about the protests around the country - organized by the unions - to raise the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15 an hour. Experts say the typical restaurant labor force accounts for a third or more of a restaurant’s operating expenses. The New York Times quoted Stephen Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, as saying that such a drastic increase in wages would lead to a 25 percent to 50 percent hike in prices. That $3 burger could essentially become that $4.50 burger overnight.

We, as consumers, have options. We don’t have to stop by the fast food joint. We do because it’s fast (supposedly) and affordable. Once it’s no longer affordable we stop going. If that happens not only do the employees not make $15 an hour, they don’t make squat. They’re out on the street.

Shy of going out of business, the fast food restaurant will start devising ways to save money. I foresee a day when you drive up to a drive-thru window and some guy in India takes your order. Or, maybe you just use voice commands to place your order, swipe your credit card and drive to the next window where your order is waiting. The same could be done inside the store. You just place your order at the automated terminal and wait for your food to appear.

As you might imagine, there’s already such a thing as a burger-making machine. This babycake is self-contained, automated and can churn out 400 burgers per hour. You think your local Mickey D’s isn’t already eye-balling that bad boy? According to the maker, Momentum Machines, making burgers costs restaurants $9 billion a year. Not only does this automatic burger-flipper make faster burgers for a fraction of the cost, it takes up far less space than the conventional way.

So, keep pushing this minimum wage hike. And be prepared to hand out automated burgers to those newly unemployed workers standing in the unemployment line.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why are they poor?

Don’t you just hate it when people sugarcoat it rather than give it to you straight? If you answered yes you’re probably in the minority. We always talk about how we want some straight talk but then people get bent all out of shape when they hear it.

I’m going to lay some straight talk on you and each time I tell people this their body language tells me they’re getting defensive. It tells me they really don’t want to hear it but they need to
hear it. Facing the truth is the only way we’re going to solve problems. We overcomplicate things by ignoring the real reasons they exist.

Okay, here it is. Most poor people are poor because of the poor choices they make. Some of you are already bowing up on me but it’s true. Until we embrace that realization there’s nothing in the world that can be done to help the poor. If you coddle them or make excuses or just give them free stuff from the government you’re never going to improve their plight.

Kevin Williamson recently compiled some stats for National Review and they were eye-openers. He dug down into Census Bureau data and found that for the bottom income group there’s an average of 0.42 earners per household. What exactly does that mean? It means that there’s less than one person per every two poor households that’s working. To illustrate it another way, 68.2 of the households were not working at all. Imagine that. In almost 70 percent of the poorest of the poor households there was no one working. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the top income group averaged 1.97 workers per household. Almost 2 workers per household at the top. Only 13.3 percent of the top income group had no one working. I know it sounds elementary but when nobody’s working in your household you’re going to be poor.

Marriage was another big discrepancy. For the top earners, 78.4 percent of those families were married couples. It was only 17 percent for the lowest income group.

The data don’t lie. The clearest way to get out of poverty is to find a job, work hard, get married and stay married. You may say that’s an oversimplification but at least we should encourage that first before we start all the excuses why poor people can’t get ahead.

Other habits contribute to poverty. How many times have you had to stand behind someone buying one of those irritating lottery tickets? ‘Let’s see, give me two Pick-Six. Naw, make that one Pick-Six, three Aces & 8’s, two Find the 9’s. Naw, forget all that. I’m gonna do the Jumbo Bucks.’ ‘Will that be all?’ ‘Yeah, well, naw. And two packs of Marlboro Reds and this 12-pack of beer.’

And all you wanted was to pay for gas on Pump 5 because the credit card reader was broken. By the way, that transaction you just witnessed was north of 30 bucks and for some poor folks it happens several times a week. Sometimes every single day. Notice you don’t see much of that over in the rich section of town. 

If I were emperor-for-a-day no one taking any kind of government handout would be allowed to buy lottery tickets, alcohol, tobacco or drugs. I would pee-test them for the aforementioned substances and find a way to restrict lottery ticket sales. Oh, okay. If I’m emperor, I eliminate the lottery entirely.

Until then, we have to shoot straight with people. Bad choices have bad consequences.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, January 17, 2014

More Obamacare surprises

Just when we thought we knew everything about Obamacare up pops another little surprise. The Weekly Standard reported that there’s a great reason insurance companies were so eager to jump on the bandwagon. Aside from compulsory customers, The Weekly Standard reported that we - the taxpayers - are on the hook for 80 percent of the expenses over $45,000. In other words, if someone has a catastrophic illness the government will pick up the tab for four-fifths of the cost.

This is one of the many paths laid down by Obamacare to a single payer healthcare system. You probably hear that term a lot. What it basically means is there will be one insurance
payer - the government. The insurance companies will essentially be administrators. They’ll handle the claims. What they don’t see coming is once the government assumes all of the risk they won’t need dozens of companies writing policies. They’ll just need one.

To make it more palatable the government will essentially absorb one of the big names you’re familiar with. Maybe Blue Cross. Perhaps United Healthcare. It won’t really matter. They won’t be insuring you any longer. The government will.

Now, you may not see the danger in that so let me open your eyes. A recent survey showed that Medicare denied more claims than your average insurance company. That’s counterintuitive to most people. They think the insurance companies are just sitting around waiting for claims to come in so they can deny them. Maybe they’d like to deny more than they do but what keeps them honest is the market. Yes, competition makes them better at servicing the patient than the government.

Eventually the reality of too many people and too few dollars to pay for their care will catch up with our new health insurance benefactor. In order to keep the program solvent they are going to have to start denying people healthcare. That’s just a fact. The program will be upside down from day one and the only way to keep it from eating us alive will be to cut services.

By then so many doctors will have left the profession that getting in to see your primary care physician will take weeks, if not months.

The free market makes healthcare better. It makes health insurance better. Insurance companies compete for business, especially with corporate accounts, and if too many people complain about the lousy insurance the company finds someone else. Once the government takes over there will be no one else. And by then the free market insurance companies will be just a memory.

I don’t mean to harp on this because there’s nothing we can do now but the House Republicans held all the cards during the last budget fight. Going along with a budget that fully funded Obamacare amounted to political malpractice. Now these same Republicans are back telling us how we need to stop Obamacare. You had your chance and you blew it.

The only thing that could save us now are the myriad lawsuits making their way through the court system. If just one of those finds light we still have some hope. Otherwise we need to begin preparing ourselves for the post-Obamacare world. Many will find physicians or physicians assistants who take cash and circumvent the entire mess. That’s great for day-to-day healthcare needs but God forbid you need to be hospitalized.

I guess Nancy Pelosi was right when she said we’d have to pass Obamacare to see what was in it. We’ve seen. We’d have been better off to burn it rather than pass it. 

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Just cry and all's forgiven

The hypocrisy of the Left is astonishing to watch. They supposedly celebrate diversity but then mock Mitt Romney’s family because he has a black, adopted grandson. Professional victim and MSNBC host, Melissa Harris-Perry, who has made a career out of playing the race card, was forced to apologize after one of her segments turned into a laugh fest over a Romney family photo showing the black grandson.

Alec Baldwin tweeted “If I cry, will I be forgiven of all my transgressions?” after the Harris-Perry apology, then he quickly deleted it. Baldwin, a former MSNBC host himself until he
was fired, has gotten away with astounding political incorrectness calling one cameraman a “coon” and another a “faggot.” It was that last insult that finally led MSNBC execs to ax him. Didn’t help that his TV show was drawing just a few more viewers than a back-alley cock fight.

Liberals historically are given a wider berth than conservatives when it comes to making inappropriate comments. Since they’re the ones so obsessed with not offending anyone they should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one.

You may recall actor Ted Danson’s n-word-laced routine he performed in blackface at the Friars Club Roast. Since Danson is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken liberals he was given a pass. Can you imagine if Chuck Norris had performed that same routine?

The liberal pile-on of the Romney family on Harris-Perry’s show for having a black grandson is pretty typical of the liberal mindset. Although they supposedly celebrate diversity they celebrate partisanship even more. The name of the game is destroy your adversaries. That’s why I refer to the NAACP as the NAAPC. It’s no longer the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It’s the National Association for the Advancement of Political Correctness. They care not a whit about advancing minorities. If they did they would have championed people like Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas. Their only concern is advancing a political agenda that further tightens its grip on the very people they claim to represent.

The last thing liberals want for minorities is for them to be free of the government shackles. Former congressman J.C. Watts said it best when he referred to the Democrat Party as the “liberal plantation.” Harris-Perry, who is hardly as black as I am, has escaped the liberal plantation and cracks the whip to make sure she’s the exception and not the rule. If the majority of blacks are allowed to break the chains of government dependency then her career as a professional victim is over.

Harris-Perry, who graduated from Wake Forest and got her PhD from Duke has never been on welfare or food stamps and would be insulted at the prospect. Still, she encourages, applauds and supports the very system that traps millions of Americans - and a disproportionate number of minorities - on government assistance.

I have never met a successful person on welfare. It seems to me if you really want someone to be successful the last thing you want for them is welfare. Nancy Pelosi constantly pushes to expand the welfare state. Can you imagine if one of her grandchildren applied for food stamps? She would be outraged.

You see, liberals look down their noses at minorities. Even liberals who are minorities. Not one of these people who criticizes conservatives for wanting to dismantle the welfare state is on welfare themselves. Not Jesse Jackson. Not Al Sharpton. Not Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama. Not Melissa Harris-Perry.

Why would they want that for anyone else?

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Global warming theory hits the ice

I am such a big fan of God’s sense of humor, especially when it comes to the issue of global warming. You may have heard of the Gore Effect. That’s when temperatures are unusually cold when Gore flies in (on a carbon-polluting private jet, no less) to lecture those assembled on the dangers of global warming.

The Copenhagen Climate Conference in December of 2009 saw frigid temperatures and a blizzard, the first December Copenhagen snowfall in 14 years. The conference in Cancun
the following year saw three days of record low temperatures. God must get a big kick out of such irony. I know I do.

The latest irony is a Russian expedition to Antarctica. It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere and the team was all set to make headlines about the discovery of record low sea ice. That’s when they got stuck in the frozen waters of the Antarctic. A Russian icebreaker was dispatched to rescue them.

This isn’t the first time that’s happened. A similar fate befell an Arctic expedition some time back, again, trying to demonstrate the lack of sea ice. Al Gore told us the Arctic Sea would be ice-free by the summer of 2013. The fact is Arctic summer sea ice saw a 55 percent increase over a year ago. Once again, Gore was completely wrong.

Meanwhile, back in the states, Green Bay set a new record low this week of minus 19 degrees. Record lows were shattered all over the Wisconsin area. To be clear, weather is not climate but each time we hit record highs or there’s unusually low sea ice the climate hysterics try to convince you it is.

That’s the frustrating dishonesty of the global warming alarmists. They twist and distort data to fit their agenda then insist that anyone who disagrees prove them wrong. That’s not the way science works. The burden of proof is on the one who comes up with the theory. Otherwise all sorts of outlandish claims could be sold to the public as gospel if the burden of proof were only on those who dispute the claim. 

Once upon a time the conventional wisdom was the world was flat. That bogus theory was so widely sold and believed that few even thought to question it.  Contrary to some history books, most European’s of Columbus’ day had already come to the conclusion the earth wasn’t flat long before Columbus sailed. Still, there was a long period of time in which ordinary citizens took the word of the flat earth theorists without question.

The proponents of manmade global warming are the modern-day flat earth society. Their arrogance is not unlike their flat earth ancestors. Even as late as 1956 there were proponents of the flat earth theory. Space shots, starting with Sputnik, finally put a stake in the heart of the flat earthers.

There will probably be no defining moment for the issue of global warming. Only the passing of time will fully destroy the theory as it passes with a whimper rather than a bang. The sea levels will continue to defy the predictions of the global warming alarmists. The hurricanes will continue to fail to intensify or increase in frequency. The polar bears will continue to thrive. The temperatures will continue to stabilize or decrease. The sea ice will stubbornly refuse to melt.

The theory of global warming will die a death of a thousand cuts. The evidence keeps piling up against it. It will officially collapse under its own weight and people will wonder how anyone could ever have been so gullible.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.