Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Raising the Wage, Raising the Exclusion Level

The LA Times reported today that California will raise its minimum wage. In otherwords we in California will raise the bar, excluding a larger group of people from obtaining work legally. We are in fact excluding more Americans from their ability to participate in free enterprise.

The LA Times said:
SACRAMENTO — More than 1 million Californians who earn the minimum wage will get a nearly 20% pay increase over the next year and a half, thanks to an agreement announced Monday between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders in the Legislature.

The hike, the first since early 2004, will lift the state minimum wage to $8 an hour from $6.75. Workers will get a 75-cent increase Jan. 1 and an additional 50 cents on Jan. 1, 2008.
This means that in January 2008, anyone not worth $8 an hour will forfet their job. When I was a kid I was at a lower skill level than I am now. I wasn't worth the minimum wage, so I had to work as an independent contractor to get work. Nobody would hire me. Once I had a couple years experience I was making well over the minimum wage. However, if I had just waited until the State of California allowed me to work as an employee of someone then I would have been without work for much longer.

Roger Koopman quotes Henry Hazlitt in an article entitled The Minimum WageGood Intentions, Bad Results published by Foundation for Economic Education.
You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him less. You merely deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn, while you deprive the community even of the moderate services that he is capable of rendering. In brief, for a low wage you substitute unemployment. You do harm all around, with no comparable compensation.
By raising the minimum wage we are creating a lose - lose situation.

  1. Raise costs for companies to operate.
  2. Force companies out of business because unskilled labor is too expensive for them to operate.
  3. Put more less skilled workers out of work.
  4. Cause spending to go down because more people are out of work because they aren't worth the minimum wage anymore. Since these people don't have jobs they also don't have money and so they aren't participating in the economy.
  5. More people will go on government welfare because they aren't worth $8 an hour. These people may have had a job before but now they are going to be laid off because of the financial hardship of the companies for which they work.
Think about the implications of these things.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CUBA: Anti-Castro TV Broadcasting From A Plane

Each night a plane carrying television broadcasting equipment sends the message of freedom and democracy over the island of Cuba. According to CSMonitor

Officials with the Miami-based Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), an arm of the US government, are quick to point out that their twin-prop Grumman G-1 at no time leaves international air space. Nonetheless, the Cuban government views the operation as the equivalent of a full-on invasion of Cuban sovereignty.

There is quite a bit of debate about whether the broadcasting is effective or not. Some claim that the Cuban government has been able to block the signal at least in and around the Havanna area.

This has cost quite a bit of money. However, it hasn't cost as much as Operation Iraqi Freedom. Something to think about. Freeing a nation from dictatorship can be done in different ways, each with its own expense list.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Schwarzenegger Proposes Pharmaceutical Price Controls

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed making deals with pharmaceutical companies to control the prices of certain pharmeceuticals.

According to an article by Sally C. Pipes published in the Wall Street Journal dated today (8-16-06)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is promoting his new discount drug plan as a "voluntary" agreement between pharmaceutical companies and the State of California. But it's more like a raw deal.

The California Prescription Drug Initiative calls upon drug manufacturers to offer five million low-income Californians huge discounts on prescription medications--up to 40% on brand-name drugs and a whopping 60% on generics.

Presumably, drug companies should offer these discounts out of the goodness in their hearts. But if they don't comply? Well, then they'll be coerced by the Terminator.

Companies failing to sell drugs at the government-imposed discount prices within five years can be kicked out of Medi-Cal, the multibillion-dollar health coverage system for low-income Californians.

Ms. Pipes is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute and author of "Miracle Cure: How to Solve America's Health-Care Crisis and Why Canada Isn't the Answer" with a foreword by Milton Friedman.

I ask the following questions on the subject:

  1. Is more government control the answer to high prices or do we just need better competition?
  2. What implications is this going to have on the pharmeceutical economy?
  3. Won't this force a decrease in quality of pharmeceuticals?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dog Teatherer's Could Face Criminal Charges in California

According to United Press International a bill moving through the California Legislature right now would make it against the law to tie your dog to a stationary object for longer than 3 hours.

Be careful because if this bill passes you could go to jail for tieing up your dog. Acording to UPI;

Violators could be fined $250. They can also face criminal charges with a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and a six-month prison sentence, says the report.

The LA Times also reported on this bill. According to LA Times;

A number of animal-rights groups say consistently tethered dogs are more likely to bite, suffer from lack of exercise or hurt themselves. But rural pet owners, ranchers and hunters — as well as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's policy advisors — insist the measure too rigidly reins in dog owners.

This bill is interesting and humorus to say the least.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

California's Air - Then And Now

We complain so much about the air here in California. I don't make it a light thing because the air in some places is disgusting and very unhealthy. But surprisingly enough, it isn't worse than it used to be.

One lady I talked to said that when she was young (35 years ago) she would visit relatives in the central valley every summer. There in Clovis, California she never saw the mountains. She never knew that the mountains were close enough to see until just a couple of years ago.

It is getting better.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Schwarzenegger, Blair Work Together

On Monday, July 31, 2006 British Prime Minister Tony Blair signed a pact with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Watch the video.

Is this some nice political gesture meant to show that Schwarzenegger can get along with world leaders while he can also get along with world preservers? Or is it a stab at President George W. Bush? I think it brings up several issues.

  1. It gives an interesting twist in the discussion on whether the United States Constitution will be amended to allow naturalized foreigners to become president. There has been a movement, albeit not a large one, to amend the Constitution specifically so that Schwarzenegger himself can run for president.
  2. This move also appears to pit Arnold against President Bush who would normally be the person to make such an agreement with a foreign country. Schwarzenegger stated that "California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming." State governors cannot legitimately sign actual treeties with foreign governments as can the US President.
  3. Over the years state governors have become more and more involved in ties with foreign countries. California especially has great interest in keeping good relations with several foreign countries for economic reasons.
Specifically the agreement seeks to do the following:

The environmental and economic consequences of climate change and our dependency on fossil fuels compel both California (CA) and the United Kingdom (UK) to commit to urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote low carbon technologies. CA and the UK recognize the linkages between climate change, energy security, human health and robust economic growth. Working together, California and the UK commit to build upon current efforts, share experiences, find new solutions, and work to educate the public on the need for aggressive action to address climate change and promote energy diversity.

Friday, August 04, 2006

What Will The New Cuba Be Like?

Assuming that Fidel Castro is out of the picture for a prolonged or even indefinite period of time, it is inevitable that Cuba will change, but the question is: How? Will it be a change for the better or a change for the worse in Cuba. Many cubans are probably afraid of going in the direction of setting up a democracy because they fear the price of fighting against those who would claim power for themselves. Others fear the increase in dictatorship control over the lives of Cubans. Both of these are valid fears.

I'm sure many people will be watching what happens in Cuba very closely over the next few months. Cubans, Americans, Communist leaders, other leaders like Blair and Bush are already keeping a close eye on the tiny country as well giving their own suggestions for what they think should happen. Our own President Bush said recently:
"I urge the Cuban people to work for democratic change on the island. We will support you in your effort to build a transitional government in Cuba committed to democracy, and we will take note of those, in the current Cuban regime, who obstruct your desire for a free Cuba,"
That seems a little bold but still a little on the shy side if he wants to encourage Cubans to be bold and take risks and stand up for democracy. I think we need to do better than this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Funding The Fence Between US and Mexico- About Time

So the US Senate has changed their minds and decided to begin funding the fence between the US and Mexico. This will allow for several things to be better understood:

  1. The US and Mexico have not merged into one country.
  2. The US is not the fix all child and familiy support for the failing Mexican economy.
  3. We all need to learn to get along while following the rules.
  4. We actually do care about our country being overrun by dependents.
  5. Perhaps it is time for Mexico to get their act together and learn something from US that they can use to help THEM.
I suspect that most will probably never get this message but will hold fast to their claim that we owe everything we have to Mexico. My answer? I am realizing that for some it is very hard to understand the concept of working for your food but it is time to GET OVER IT!