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Congress Has Reached New Depths of Stupidity

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This week the government reported several statistics that indicate that the $7 trillion Uncle Sam has committed to economic stabilization is having little real effect. On Wednesday, the Labor Department reported that the four-week average of initial requests for unemployment benefits was at its highest level since January 1983. The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending plunged by 1 percent in October. Commerce also reported that orders for big ticket manufactured goods plunged in October by the largest amount in two years. Orders for durable goods dropped by 6.2 percent which was more than double the decline economists expected. Lastly, the unemployment rate hit a 14 year high of 6.5 percent.

So, with all of this grave news and the seeming ineffectiveness of the government to spend our way out of depression, unbelievably Washington with an increased Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic president-elect is planning a bevy of new pro-union measures when they take office in January. It is unbelievable because the last thing we need right now, other than a tax increase, is for Washington to increase costs on business. After all, it is business that is being relied upon to supply the jobs that will eventually lead us to recovery.

What are the measures the new administration is considering imposing on business? They are essentially the same old left-wing schemes that have been pushed for years. They include: mandatory paid sick leave, ergonomics regulations, and expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

These measures that the president-elect and his socialist buddies in the Congress are considering are of course unconstitutional. I know I sound like a broken record, but Congress has no authority under Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to legislate benefit packages for workers of private business. There is a good reason for this. The founders realized the only way for a people to be truly free was by guaranteeing their economic freedom. It works both ways – freedom of individuals to use private property as they see fit and freedom of workers to use their labor as they see fit. Forced regulation puts business at a competitive disadvantage because it usurps the power of the market to make the most efficient decisions possible. These measures seem just, but how does Congress know what the ramifications will be for the health of American business? They don’t and remember again that we are relying on business to reinvigorate the economy with jobs.

One thing is certain each of the measures will increase the costs of doing business. Cost estimates for the ergonomics regulations alone total about $100 billion a year to implement. The proposal to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act includes small firms and applies to events such as parents attending school conferences with their child’s teacher. It is naïve to think that businesses can or will simply absorb the increased costs of production due to government regulations. These costs will be passed on to workers through less job growth and higher prices for products and services. If Washington truly believes that consumer spending will get us out of our current economic mess then policies that increase business costs will be counterproductive to that effort.

The cornerstone of the pro-union, anti-business measures is the card-check legislation. Card-check is Obama’s reward to his union supporters like the Department of Education was Jimmy Carter’s reward to the National Education Association’s for their support in 1976. It would force companies to recognize a union if a majority of its workers signed cards. This is different from today’s law which requires a month-long campaign ending in a secret vote and would make unionization of a business much easier to attain. Government meddling in this matter is ridiculously unconstitutional. Beyond that obvious fact, why is government still supporting a dinosaur whose historical record is filled with hooliganism, and putting whole industries out of business in the U.S. (see steel and automobiles)? Has Congress learned nothing from its recent study of how the UAW has contributed to the collapse of the Big Three?

It is illegal for Congress to enact the above measures anytime, but is particularly irresponsible for them to do it now while we are headed for a depression. Having already committed close to $7 trillion we do not have to fix our economic problems, now they want to compound our difficulties by placing unreasonable regulations on the sector that is charged with reviving our economy. Congress has reached new depths of stupidity.

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Congress has reached new depths of stupidity. Don’t worry. Records are made to be broken.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Cindy D

    The founders realized the only way for a people to be truly free was by guaranteeing their economic freedom.

    Truly free? Most of the founders were rich authoritarians who wanted to protect themselves from the likes of people like you having an actual say about anything.

    Forced regulation puts business at a competitive disadvantage because it usurps the power of the market to make the most efficient decisions possible.

    The market already made the most efficient decisions possible (with loads of help even). Take a look around you at the result.

    That you are still saying stuff like this makes me wonder what it would take to wake some people out of their propaganda induced comas.

    Same old horseshit, different horse.

  • Clavos

    The market already made the most efficient decisions possible (with loads of help even). Take a look around you at the result.

    Wrong.

    The mess you see is the result of wrong headed manipulation by the government (at the instigation of elected officials, in both the executive and legislative branches) since the end of WW II.

    The market had nothing to do with it.

  • Neal Taslitz, Esq.

    Dear Mr. Jacobine,

    As an attorney who also holds a bachelors degree with honors in business economics and public policy from a leading U.S. university and as one who volunteered his time working with dozens of serious injured employees and leading scientists and physicians from the U.S. and Scandinavian countries, including members of the National Academy of Sciences in the 1990s, and as an advocate for safety issues that are effective and affordable, I find your comments typical of the ignorance of the documented savings that low cost ergonomics, particularly computer ergonomics, will bring to companies that pay millions in workers compensation claims without proper ergonomic programs in place, to be the standard knee jerk rhetoric that: “government regulation of business is bad for business.” Just Google: Feliberty v. Kemper to find out how costly it can be for businesses to skimp on a few hundred dollars of ergonomics items, and end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of one injury.

    We’ve seen the results of that same type of myopic foolish thinking recently in the collapse of the housing market and financial industry.

    Moreover, as a historian you seem to have forgotten that the major factor why unions took hold in the late 1800’s in America was the injuries that were occurring to workers without any regulations or simple inexpensive safety equipment to protect them. The electrical union is one example. The stunning success of the migrant farm workers’ union is a more recent example that had more to do with injured workers than anything else, i.e. the devil’s hoe.

    I doubt that business want unions to organize computer workers, as some have been doing to the surprise of many, but if simple safety measures are not put into place, the computer workers will continue to organize, and business will regret not improving the safety of their companies, if cyber strikes begin. That would be a very expensive problem for business.

    Essentially, safety is a management issue, like quality control. Companies that protect their workers usually are more successful than those who look the other way when it comes to proactive safety measures.

    If you would like more information on any of these topics, I’ll be glad to share them with you. You might decide that an once of prevention is worth preventing a ton of litigation costs, not to mention terrible moral issues, and bad press.

    Just ask the management of the U.S. companies where coal miners died during the last couple of years, where safety took a back seat to short term profits. I’m sure the costs of settling the litigation was substantially more than a proper safety program. The real tragedy is that 99% of the workers who get injured would have rather avoided the injury and the litigation. No amount of money can bring many injured workers back to work once they are seriously injured, and no amount of reactive safety measures will help those who died doing their jobs.

    Sincerely,
    Neal Taslitz
    Attorney-at-Law
    [personal contact info deleted]

  • Clavos

    Comments Editors,

    Are we giving away free advertising space in the comments threads now?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Not sure what you mean, Clav.

    I’ve excised the personal contact information which was appended to the comment above yours, which we do for commenters’ own protection. If there’s something else I’ve missed, please point it out to me.

  • YesWeDid

    Kevin-

    Only rightie nutjobs blame workers for bad management!

    That is SO 1990s.

    All workers have a right to organize, and business has to live with it, or get replaced. That’s economic reality.

  • bliffle

    This article reaches new depths of stupidity.

    Anyone who pins their hopes of recovery on the business community is a fool. The business community is uninterested in recovery. Each business is only interested in maximizing return to it’s own investors, as we have been told time and time again by champions of the Pure Capitalism so cherished by the rightists.

    Which is why the biggest fools in the political sphere, namely Bush, Paulson, etc., and their supporters in the peanut gallery, like Nalle, Jacobine, Clavos, etc., support this goofy idea.

    In fact the authors own opening sentence empirically refutes the idea that pumping money into the business sector can bring recovery:

    “This week the government reported several statistics that indicate that the $7 trillion Uncle Sam has committed to economic stabilization is having little real effect.”

    In fact, pumping money into business is counterproductive because it shifts the money balance away from consumers, which is the real path to recovery.

    This is a CONSUMER ECONOMY. It is not a producer economy. The economy is driven by consumer spending, not by manufacturing. Businesses do not lead, they follow. In particular, they follow markets. Businesses around the world, and especially in the USA have honed their ability to follow markets rapidly greatly since the Japanese revolution of a couple decades ago and the ascendancy of Deming methods of Zero Inventory Time and other rapid response techniques. Producers have developed methods such as Vendor Banking to a fine degree to reduce their own capital involvement and shift risk to, among others, their suppliers. Thus, for example, GM owes it’s vendors several times it’s own cap value.

    Sure, partisans of the business world advocate giving public money to their firms: why not? But it is quite foolish for government to do that. Given extra capital in the form of public handouts a modern firm doesn’t ‘create more jobs’ as the ideologues theorize, but just buy a competitor or bank it, thus removing the money from circulation, which is directly contrary to the intent of the handout!

    If they buy a lossy competitor they will realize a huge tax benefit, thus weakening recovery even more. That is EXACTLY what Wells Fargo did when it purchased Wachovia! By investing $14billion in the purchase WF will realize a tax refund estimated from $20billion to $70billion! Possibly, that $14billion was bailout money.

    So, not only did the USA GIVE away the $14billion, it will also have a further liability to WF in the form of tax refunds.

    How stupid can you get?

    It’s time to lay to rest the bogus idea that giving money to businesses stimulates the economy. It is invalid theoretically and empirically.

    The key to the economy lies with CONSUMERS. We’ve got to put money in the hands of individual consumers. Any recovery based on producers is bound to fail, and, in fact, worsen the situation.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    The mess you see is the result of wrong headed manipulation by the government (at the instigation of elected officials, in both the executive and legislative branches) since the end of WW II.

    Nope, this is the reason why there is a mess:

    This is a CONSUMER ECONOMY. It is not a producer economy. The economy is driven by consumer spending..

    It is because of those stupid “consumers” who purchase a new car when they know they can’t make the payments. Those stupid “consumers” who knew they shouldn’t be taking out them housing loans(Too good to be true??) Those stupid “Consumers” who are up to their eyeballs in credit card debt. Who do you think has to eat that poor return?

  • bliffle

    What’s your point, Brian?

  • Cindy D

    He doesn’t have a real point bliffle.

    Like Clav and Kenn, his religion was attacked. And his answer is very similar to Clav’s or Kenn’s–“you are wrong and I am right, because this is what I have faith in.” No proof is necessary. Any criticism is wrong, instantly and absolutely. That is the way it is.

    Like any blind follower he’s got nothing but his faith and a reactionary need to repel any argument against his religious beliefs no matter how well-considered.

  • Clavos

    Like Clav…

    Excuse me???

    Who posted on another thread (and was supported by bliffle) that this is a consumer economy?

    Who advocated NOT giving any money to the car companies? Who said let them crash?

    Who suggested charging trying and convicting all the car companies’ boards and senior management?

    Who proposed giving the money to re-train, relocate and sustain the workers?

    So, Cindy, you indulge in stereotyping too, I see.

    I’m fast losing the respect I once had for you, Cindy.

    I’ve never had any respect for you bliffle, you’re too rude and not nearly as smart as you think you are, but I thought you were truthful, at least.

    What a pair…

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Brian, Clavos –

    Here’s a little something to chew on – which democracies in this world have the MOST regulated economies, and which democracies in this world have the LEAST regulated economies?

    The answer’s easy for those who have traveled much – but let’s see what you two think….

  • Clavos

    You tell me, GC. Show me how much smarter than I you are.

  • Irene wagner

    Yeah, Glenn, and while you’re at it, show how much smarter than ME you am.

    Might doesn’t make right. Neither does smart, not always.

  • Irene wagner

    I’m going to guess Ireland for the least.

  • bliffle

    It is important to regulate businesses for public benefits, such as clean air, clean water, safe working conditions, etc.

    It is just as important to stop coddling businesses with subsidies and tax breaks. The very premise of private business is against such coddling.

    Coddling business is counterproductive economically as well as polluting our streams and air and endangering citizens on every side, whether as employees, as customers or as innocent bystanders.

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos – did I say I was smarter than you? No. And I truly don’t even think such things. There are things that I know that you don’t…and there are things you know that I don’t.

    Want to make me happy? Show me something new, something I didn’t know. Learning something new, something I didn’t expect makes me happy.

    Look back at everything I’ve ever written on this or any other forum, and you’ll see NO insults. You’ll sometimes see a condescending tone – which is not intentional – and you’ll see angry rebukes…but NO insults.

    So you’ve no need to toss spite or scorn in my direction. I’m just a guy who’s willing to learn, and who’s eager (like you are) to share what he knows.

    But in this case, it’s more effective if I challenge you to determine the answer for yourself, because if you determine the answer, you will have learned something I don’t think you realized. However, if I simply pointed it out to you, that makes it much easier for you to dismiss.

  • Irene wagner

    The thing is Glenn, if the answer to “which democracy has the least regulated economy?” is some third world place, where the leaders don’t really care, where factory workers are routinely sacrificing fingers to machines, or sweat-shop bosses are getting away with abuses they never could in the land (USA) where the company’s headquarters are, then will you really have proved that ALL regulation is good regulation?

    With that argument, you’re only considering one extreme, the “too little” extreme, not the “too much” extreme, or the “just right” extreme.

  • Irene wagner

    And if I could take back the phrase “just right extreme” I would. I’ve said enough.

  • Irene wagner

    No, I haven’t.
    …and if, on the other hand, if the answer to the “what is the democracy with the most regulations?” is some country whose consumers are not burdened with footing the bill for military bases all over the world, (not to mention wars), for instance, then you haven’t pinpointed optimal regulation as the source of that economy’s success either.

    There Glenn the Contrarian, I’ve dismissed your answer before you’ve even given it. Say hi to your wife Marian.

  • Georgio

    Neil Taslitz…is your fathers name Jack ?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    “…Congress has no authority under Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to legislate benefit packages for workers of private business.”

    Article 1, Section 8 does not prohibit Congress from doing anything. It enumerates what Congress can do.

    Just because it does not specifically state that they can enact labor legislation doesn’t mean that they can’t.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Like any blind follower he’s got nothing but his faith and a reactionary need to repel any argument against his religious beliefs no matter how well-considered.

    Okay…come back to Earth, Cindy. Did you even read my comment or are you the blind one?

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Which is why the biggest fools in the political sphere, namely Bush, Paulson, etc., and their supporters in the peanut gallery, like Nalle, Jacobine, Clavos, etc., support this goofy idea.

    Bliffle, it’s amusing that you cite the three people who have written the most opposing the business bailouts here. You really do live in an altered reality, don’t you.

    This is a CONSUMER ECONOMY. It is not a producer economy. The economy is driven by consumer spending, not by manufacturing.

    Now this I can agree with. We’ve been a consumer driven economy since the colonial era. It’s not often addressed by economists, but the truth is that it is possible to have a fully functional economy which is driven and dominated by consumption and the structures and institutions which support consumption.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    RE #3 and #12

    Clav,

    It is often the case that I have written things in other threads that were unseen and not taken into account. I was going merely by this:

    Wrong.

    The market had nothing to do with it.

    Capitalism is relies on a free market that can never exist and has never existed.

    Aside from government subsidies to Capitalists (that have been shown not to increase jobs despite the unchecked belief that this is how it works), aside from the recurring need for corporations to be bailed out…

    If you have a Capitalist then he is at an advantage over labor where the system is designed to force labor into serving the Capitalist. And it has been designed to do just that since Capitalism came into vogue. It’s what happened in early England. It’s what happens with globalization and free trade. You have people forced out of their own small enterprise and forced to slave for less money for megacorps.

    I will save my examples and the defense of my case for an article I’ll write on Capitalism.

  • Cindy D

    Brian,

    Okay…come back to Earth, Cindy. Did you even read my comment or are you the blind one?

    Of course I read your comment. We you being facetious? If so, I apologize. I didn’t catch it. Reading it two more times I still think it could go either way.

  • http://lovesliberty.tripod.com Kenn Jacobine

    Neal,

    “Essentially, safety is a management issue, like quality control. Companies that protect their workers usually are more successful than those who look the other way when it comes to proactive safety measures.”

    This is the beauty of capitalism. Those that do the naturally right thing are rewarded. When government gets involved it usually makes a bigger mess of things and raises costs. This is generally because bureaucrats and lawyers are unqualified to do the work of the real experts – in this case ergonomics experts.

    The bigger issue in this is the fact that as an attorney you have no problem with violating the Supreme Law of the Land – the U.S. Constitution. This is precisely why we have the problems we do today.

  • Cindy D

    And Clav,

    I’m fast losing the respect I once had for you, Cindy.

    While that may be true, I still have a great deal of respect for you. I believe, for example, that you have a deep respect for free speech. I also believe that you are not an authoritarian. I have supporting evidence for that.

    I’m going to ask you, in advance–likely weeks in advance at this rate–to give my view on Capitalism a fair hearing.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    It’s what happens with globalization and free trade. You have people forced out of their own small enterprise and forced to slave for less money for megacorps.

    Except that in the real world this is not what happens. Those megacorps create huge opportunities for contractors and suppliers and service industry jobs to support their operations and their personnel, so they actually feed the growth of small, entrepreneurial businesses which profit from their success.

    Dave

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    You live in a dream world. I will soon enough demonstrate that you are believing in myths. Even your compatriot economists have been busy explaining why sweat shops are good.

    How bold these fuckers have become. Sweat shops are “good”, and the elite “should” rule.

    I’d like to subject there children to their own doctrines. Then see what they’d believe.

  • Cindy D

    And that is what will be my moral compass Dave. When I do finish my writings. It will be, will you want and allow this for your own children. Even believing in Capitalism which says it will be better in the future, will you want your own children to work in sweat shops?

    Don’t answer now please, I haven’t made my case. It’s just going to be my guiding rule. I’m not going to make it as a comment.

  • Cindy D

    Dr.D,

    I hope you are paying attention. I will eventually show you what I meant when I said the ability of the average person to empathize has been blocked.

  • Clavos

    I will eventually show you what I meant when I said the ability of the average person to empathize has been blocked.

    You already have, Cindy.

    Just send him over to comment # 56 on this thread, for the perfect example.

  • bliffle

    Dave:

    “…Companies that protect their workers usually are more successful than those who look the other way when it comes to proactive safety measures.”

    This is the beauty of capitalism. Those that do the naturally right thing are rewarded.”

    Tell it to Upton Sinclair.

  • Cannonshop

    #30″Except that in the real world this is not what happens. Those megacorps create huge opportunities for contractors and suppliers and service industry jobs to support their operations and their personnel, so they actually feed the growth of small, entrepreneurial businesses which profit from their success.”

    um…no, Dave. That Isn’t what happens with those Megacorps. what happens with those Megacorps, is that quality is reduced to the lowest common denominator, and subcontractors/partners/whatever you name it chiv even further away from productivity.

    I’m working right next to your statement’s actuality in action-the 787 line is right-next-door.

    Here’s what REALLY happens:

    Missed Deadlines
    Late Delivery
    Bad components
    Inefficiency
    “Covering up” bad work by those same cheap subcontractors, done to cover the asses of the Corporate Management that arranged for them to replace internal organizations that, on the surface cost more, but in actual Practice tend to cost Less.

    Re-work is expensive, Dave. Scrapped parts are EXPENSIVE, Dave. Missed delivery dates, missed flight dates, re-engineering, broken contracts with buyers, late-fees and late-fines? Having to bring in more-expensive people from other lines to unfuck what was fucked up?

    EXPENSIVE.

    Every dime “saved” by outsourcing the logistics, tooling, and primary subassemblies and engineering has been eaten in huge multiples by the amount of rework that’s had to be done, including re-engineering work because the Europeans and the Japanese can’t agree on the actual length of a millimeter.

    Instead of FIXING the problem, the boys in Chicago are making it WORSE-to cover long-term losses with short-term “profit” (as in, “This quarter we didn’t lose money in spite of missing every single marker date so far”).

    Those “small enterprises” you’re so in love with, Dave? they aren’t. They’re fronts for tax purposes only-these aren’t “Entreprenuers”, they’re “Corporate Bureaucrats masquerading as entreprenuers”.

    Spirit Aerosystems is just Boeing Wichita sold internally to Harry Stonecipher as he left the parent company. Notably, the change has added layers of administration and prevented fast response times when major assemblies are shipped in an unacceptable condition. What used to take a phone call, and maybe a day, now takes two weeks, and costs the company MORE than it ‘saved’ by dumping the facility.

    Vought had to be Bought Out because it was going under-it was going under, because it couldn’t make a delivery date with an assembly that wasn’t fucked up.

    Time wasted on the line in Everett because a piece of necessary tooling is in North Carolina, and has to be shipped by RAIL (too expensive to move by air, and requiring a couple of days to get the release before it’s even going to be packed-because someone else owns the only copy), Time wasted because the “partner” handling part-supply didn’t stock enough fasteners in the right lengths, and has an iron-clad contract giving them exclusive “Sole Source” supplier status? Time wasted because the workers on the line have to wait weeks to get permission to replace a row of fasteners that weren’t up-to-spec?

    Time wasted doing re-work, because the “Partner” cut corners on quality control, and has an Iron-Bound-Invulnerable contract as a sole-source supplier, AND owns the Engineering, so permission has to go up to the head office in Chicago, across to their parent organization, down the chain, then back through FAA, then back up the chain, through Chicago, and back down the chain in Puget Sound? This process takes DAYS, and there are THOUSANDS of these going on simultaneously.

    Money “Saved” because the assembly documents are on computers in three-dee instead of two-dee drawings that are printable? Cluebat here for the Technophiles: Laptop Computers are NOT RESISTANT TO SOLVENT FUMES, composite dust or metal shavings-all things that are common to the point of near-hazardous on an aircraft production line in one form or another. The difference between a ruined printout, and a ruined laptop, is about five thousand dollars (based on what Boeing paid for the laptops) and the print-out doesn’t vanish when the batteries die.

    The guys who couldn’t Escape Boeing’s “Global Experiment” are now in the process of removing and replacing 30,000 fasteners per airframe on the line-because the fucking things weren’t installed to spec when they left the “Partners”. They’re also breaking down and re-sealing fuel-tanks, because the “Partner” involved THERE didn’t think they needed to conform to specifications- they laid their Fillets as play-dough. Blown holes, bad fastener installations, bad assemblies, bad parts, late parts that are bad, the wrong tools, no tools or late tools. Work delayed on a constant basis throughout the programme.

    And we aren’t even at the level of the biggest failures so far-parts meant to work together, unable to be fit together…because the sub-er, “Partners” didn’t communicate, can’t agree on dimensions or measurement standards, don’t know each other’s routing schemes, and don’t talk to each other except THROUGH Boeing in Chicago.

    ..and Boeing accepted down-payment for more than EIGHT HUNDERED of these things, without first seeing if ANY of them actually performs as claimed.

    Now for the capper: the Software for the Assembly documents? it’s produced and supported by a subsidiary of EADS, the parent company of Airbus Industrie. Dassault, in particular, owns Velocity, Delmia, and the other software used on the programme’s manufacturing end.

    There are a thousand software firms in the U.S. that could do an equal, or better job, for less in terms of having to re-work the software (and with fewer delays) and Boeing contracted out to their Primary Competitor in EUROPE.

    As it’s being managed at the moment, 787 has the potential to do what 9/11 didn’t-it has the potential to kill the company, and most of the blame falls on Executive Management who thought they could farm out the work to people who don’t know what they’re doing, with contracts that give them zero reason to learn, at a cosmetic savings that has already been eaten up in terms of delivery date slippage, additional rework cost, missed test flight dates (over a year late on that one!), supply delays (because guess what? you’re still paying for the workers even when they can’t work), Bureaucratic sludge factor costs (even a really CHEAP CEO costs more than having the engineering staff on hand, familiar with the FAR’s and Boeing Specification documents, and willing to work to make deadline), lost,damaged, and just-flat-wrong parts (you’d be, I suspect, ALARMED at how much it costs to get aviation-grade composite panels, repair resins, and titanium rib/join/stringer splices, not to mention the twelve thousand dollar sleeve-bolts!)

    787 is a GREAT example of “Globalization” at work-no control over the supply line, bureaucratic ineptitude and micromanagement, failure to communicate, bad parts and components, slow to nonexistent response to ordinary production problems that would otherwise be solved on the floor, failure to make date, failure to make weight, failure to pass Stress, failure to build to spec. Broken promises to buyers, broken promises to stockholders, broken promises to the Government…

    Short-term savings, LONG term costs.

    Notably, like General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, the Executives responsible have continued to collect bonuses in the face of FINES, late delivery, and over-costing.

    (in fact, one of the prime suspects left Boeing with a lot of money for Ford. Al Mulally set up the disaster that is the 787, and left for a higher-profile position at FoMoCo. When he went to Ford, the Ford stock was trading in the mid-twenties, it’s what, two, three bucks a share now?)

  • Cannonshop

    Oh, just one more thing:

    Before you start laying it all on the “unions”, most of these problems were known and are known, months prior to the strike, and went un-addressed during the period of the strike…

    And consider this: people were hired to build airplanes, want to build airplanes, went through weeks of unpaid training to build airplanes, and can’t do their job building the airplanes. Why can’t they? because instead of addressing the problems that prevent the airplanes from being built, executive management is running ad-campaigns to divert blame and pretend everything is sunshine and daisies.

    Just like General MOtors, Ford, and Chrysler, just like AIG, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns.

    Greed is only “Good” when Mendacity, Deception, and Obfuscation are impossible. Greed is only “Good” when it is prevented from being short-sighted, when it is forced to be accountable to shareholders and customers.

    In other words, it is only “Good” when the market is competitive, and waste is dangerous to the men in charge.

  • Brunelleschi

    Dave N is sounding more and more like a true-believing business school sophmore, and the rest of the class is too smart for him!

    One’s view on this-and just about everything in politics-depends on one’s perception of where they fit into the food chain themselves.

    Lefties see problems starting from people and organizations that make more than they do, and righties see problems coming from people that make less.

    Ask a lefty what’s wrong, and the corporations have too much power, the rich people hide their money, and greed makes policy. Wars start from powerful interests hijacking state power for their own selfish ends.

    Ask a rightie, and they blame everything on immigrants, workers (especially union workers), welfare bums, you name it. The big problem with war or business is that some of the poorer people just don’t “get” how much danger the rich are in.

    I can’t find anything that I agree with the right about. Wars don’t happen because of poor people. Business’s problems are not the worker’s fault.

    What is remarkable to me is how rightie propaganda has convinced so many in the working class that other workers are their enemies and turned them into knee-jerk anti-workers! That’s a political meme, the subject of another article I might do sometime.

  • Condor

    Nicely done Cannonshop. General Dynamics has had similar instances on government contracts such as Rescue21. Just wait until the building full of lawyers start renegociating the agreements and the costs mount and the final outlay is billions more than the initial “final” contract.

    Why don’t I work for corporate any longer? See #36 and #37 above.

  • Cindy D

    RE #34

    Clav,

    It’s interesting what commentators you choose to empathize with. He was being rude and nasty to Heloise for no reason.

    I don’t empathize with that. Quite the contrary. People should try not to serve dishes they wouldn’t like to eat themselves.

  • Clavos

    It’s interesting what commentators you choose to empathize with.

    It’s a no brainer, Zedd.

    He’s a crip and a conservative.

    My wife’s a crip and a conservative.

    I’m a conservative.

    Heloise’s attitude and “cutesy” way of writing are magnets for rude & nasty ; in fact, Heloise is often rude & nasty herself.

    If ya can’t take it, don’t dish it out…

  • Cindy D

    First of all, I’m not Zedd.

    Second of all, Heloise wasn’t being rude and nasty to him. You’re simply justifying.

    Your comment was meant to put me in my place, to prove that I lack empathy–as if my position on empathy requires me to attend “love-ins” and “turn the other cheek,” or to respond to vitriol with compassion.

    It doesn’t.

  • Zedd

    I’m always on his mind.

    Geez Clav, please try, just try to stop thinking about me. It wouldn’t work.

  • Clavos

    Sorry, Cindy and Zedd.

    The rest of my comment stands.

    Merriam-Webster Online defines empathy thus:

    2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this

    This was the sense of empathy I was using.

    I stand by it. IMO, you’re not empathetic, Cindy.

  • Clavos

    It wouldn’t work..

    Quoted for Truth.

  • Cindy D

    Clav,

    I hope the ceilings in your apartment aren’t too high. You are full of hot air.

    I was empathizing with Heloise.

    Your understanding would force me to empathize with the bully instead of the bullied.

    If that is what you think then you are right. Under your interpretation I am unempathetic.

  • Cindy D

    Everything is relative.

  • Clavos

    Everything is relative.

    Liberal hogwash.

  • Cannonshop

    “EmpaTHETic”??

    NO, it’s “emPATHic”- as in “The state of Having or Displaying Empathy”.

    (Geez, you’d think the Grammar-Fascists would know that one…)

    Now, you two, you’re arguing like a couple of people who’re going to have sex to make up for it later. IF that’s the plan…

    GET A ROOM.

    We Who Read Regularly know that CindyB is on the Left, Clavos is on the Right, they’re going to disagree a LOT.

    We Who Read Regularly know that Heloise can be a touch abrasive, as can Dave Nalle (not to mention the agonizing abrasion caused by meself), that CindyB would rather dig her own eyes out with a spork than agree with Clavos or Nalle on anything, that she shares this perspective with Zedd, and Often with Heloise.

    ‘kay, now, all that established for new readers…

    Could we stop with the personality bashing and get back to the topic please?

  • Cindy D

    It’s either one.

  • Cindy D

    Liberal hogwash.

    Do you have your pockets stuffed with trivial pursuit cards based on right-wing cliches? Or is this just another example of the typical depth of your insight.

  • Cindy D

    …that CindyB would rather dig her own eyes out with a spork than agree with Clavos or Nalle on anything…

    That’s silly. I’ve agreed with each of them at times. Just yesterday I complimented dave on his article. And if you look up in this very thread you’ll see a compliment I paid to Clav. Even after he wrote me off because I criticized him.

  • Clavos

    It’s either one.

    Correct.

    Per Merriam-Webster Online:


    Function:
    adjective
    Date:
    1932

    : involving, characterized by, or based on empathy
    — em·pa·thet·i·cal·ly Listen to the pronunciation of empathetically \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

    See, Cannon:

    Cindy and I agree more than you give either of us credit for.

    And how is it that you can go on for pages with your (admittedly erudite and intelligent) diatribes, which are often personal squabbles, but you want to censor the rest of us?

    I call foul.

  • Cindy D

    Yeah Cannon. What Clav said!

  • http://www.thepolitikos.com Heloise

    What’s this people talking about me behind my back LOL. I happened on Cindy D’s comments and traced back to this whopper:

    clavos: “Heloise’s attitude and “cutesy” way of writing are magnets for rude & nasty ; in fact, Heloise is often rude & nasty herself.

    If ya can’t take it, don’t dish it out…”

    Clavos yes I am the Shakespeare of the blogosphere and cutesy is sexist, like people who call people “honey” and “sweetie” I hate that too. Cutesy is along those lines IMHO. I love the way you say my writing is a “magnet for rude” brother you should have tangled with Netemara in the Yahoo world. I would have eaten you for breakfast then spit you out for lunch…

    As for not taking it, everyone knows what’s coming when they write ANYTHING on the WORLD WIDE WEB to read. Or did you forget that caveat? My advice bend over and take it like a woman or a man? Been watching too much Lockup raw sorry.

    I have a link to TTT at my Politikos where I live as Netemara on Yahoo’s dime.

    Heloise

  • http://www.thepolitikos.com Heloise

    Stupid alert: No, I did not read this article but here’s my comment and headline “Who’s Watching The Bailout Store?” yes congress is stupid. I called the Clinton people the “Clintonistas” and now folks are starting to use that moniker…I like it. And I also called Nancy Pelosi “the gutless wonder” long before she proved me right LOL.

    I had no idea just how gutless she was. She should have led the charge to have Bush impeached, but she didn’t and now the question is should she fall on her sword? Not sure but her bad for being a backoff and voters bad for re-electing her.

    Heloise

  • Clavos

    Heloise, if you don’t like cutesy — well, don’t write that way…

  • http://www.thepolitikos.com Heloise

    Clavos “cutesy” is yet sexist. I’ve never been accused of being cutesy. But I do see my words turned into ads for all manner of things. If that rates as cutesy then I plead guilty.

    Heloise

  • Clavos

    I don’t pay any attention to what is or is not sexist, Heloise.

    I’ve been objectified as a sex object by women all my life; I’m not offended, I like it.

    BTW, I would tell a man who writes in a cutesy way that it’s cutesy. It has nothing to do with sex the way I use it. Merriam-Webster defines cutesy as: “self-consciously or excessively cute.” Applied to your writing, it has nothing to do with your sex.

  • Neal Taslitz

    Dear Mr. Jacobine,

    Regarding your comments:

    “This is the beauty of capitalism. Those that do the naturally right thing are rewarded. When government gets involved it usually makes a bigger mess of things and raises costs. This is generally because bureaucrats and lawyers are unqualified to do the work of the real experts – in this case ergonomics experts.

    The bigger issue in this is the fact that as an attorney you have no problem with violating the Supreme Law of the Land – the U.S. Constitution. This is precisely why we have the problems we do today.”
    ————————————————-
    The ergonomic standards were written by ergonomists, scientists, and physicians. To my knowledge, I was the only lawyer who was invited and attended many of the meetings that the scientists had when discussing the proposed standards. I only acted as an observer while attending those meetings.

    Further, Congress was not involved in promugating the ergonomic regulations. They were reviewed by OSHA and issued as an executive order when they were signed by President Clinton in January of 2001. The Republican Senate, and George W. Bush tossed them out three months later.

    I did testfy at an OSHA hearing on the proposed standards. Among other comments I cited the fact that the Titanic carried sixteen lifeboats and four collapsible boats which held a total of 1,178 people–less than half of the 3,547 passengers and crew that the ship could carry, and less than number of people who died when the ship sank in 1912. Surprisingly, the number of lifeboats surpassed the legal requirements at that time. I think J.P. Morgan could have afforded better.

    The Titanic tragedy is a profound example that laws generally reflect miminum standards. Business is free to do better, but unfortunately the desire to reduce costs is often more important to some businesses than safety of their employees and customers. Without government safety enforcement many businesses will do very little with respect to safety measures. Regulation is needed to prevent the bad apples from hurting people. Two examples that illustrate that are the governments involvement in seat belt laws, and the tobacco litigation.

    Your comments about the legal profession and me– which most people would likely view as a baseless personal attack that the Blogcritics forum indicates it does not permit–has no merit whatsoever, and also borders on libel per se.

    It might enlighten you to read some history about capitalism and the U.S. Constitution. I suggest you start with the Dred Scott decision. It should alert you to the dangers of dividing the country based on degrading the value of labor and human beings in a capitalistic country, that knows better.

    On November 4th America changed for the better. Perhaps your perspective on history needs to be updated since the election as it represents a major shift if how American citizens think.

    The working class people should be helped if America is to stay strong. I think they now have the political capital to get a few benefits they rightly deserve. You don’t have to be Charles Dickens to know that there are consequences to elections.

    Sincerely,
    Neal Taslitz

  • bliffle

    “This is the beauty of capitalism. Those that do the naturally right thing are rewarded.”

    Ha ha ha. This idea is so naive, on the face of it, and has been disproven so many times, that one wonders that any adult would state it.

    For example, the notion that slave owners would treat their slaves better because they would be rewarded is contrary to history: the condition of slaves decreased with time.

    It’s a variation of Greshams law: bad slaveowners drive out good.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Bliffle, the decrease in the quality of how slaves were treated in the US was a direct result of the decline in the profitability of slavery, not the result of some inevitable axiom. In other societies where affluence spread and a middle class became more of a factor slavery tended to die out on its own.

    In fact, it is the demand of capitalism for a free labor market which ultimately makes slavery unsupportable. Almost any other economic system is more friendly to slavery than capitalism is.

    Dave

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    bliffle and Dave –

    On the slavery issue, I could argue both for and against your statements – but such would serve no purpose. Instead, I think we should look at the quote that bliffle pointed out: “This is the beauty of capitalism. Those that do the naturally right thing are rewarded.”

    Like bliffle, I strongly feel this statement is naive and fatally flawed; after all, history is rife with examples of good ideas being defeated by the bad: PC vs. Mac, VHS vs. Betamax, the failure of the metric system in America, military contracts where the cheaper and less effective product is chosen…need I go on?

  • Clavos

    history is rife with examples of good ideas being defeated by the bad: PC vs. Mac, VHS vs. Betamax

    Just a good idea is not enough, you have to be able to get it to market, too.

    Both Apple and Sony screwed the pooch in their marketing/sales efforts (they refused to license their machines), and were blown out of the water by more nimble thinkers at their competitors.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Exactly what do you people hope to accomplish with what has apparently become a high school debating team contest.

    Do you really think you’ll change how history looks at the issue(s)? Is congress or Barack going to read something here and have a “eureka!” moment?

    Do you really think you’ll influence your opponent’s thought processes and they’ll miraculously change their mind to your way of thinking?

    I’ve been watching these arguments now for a couple of years, and they always disolve into who can copy and paste some text book quote that’ll agree with your particular point of view before your opponent can do likewise.

    Then it all turns into a pissing contest to see who can come up with the sharpest and wittiest snappy retort using as many words of 145 syllables or more, to respond to the other person’s snappy retort and it always winds up with the same smartass winning the contest.

    Are you people really that bored, or have you deluded yourselves into actually believing that you’ve changed any points of view before you’re all too sleepy to work your keyboards in any kind of intellectual manners?

    Just curious

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    On PC vs. Mac or VHS vs. Beta, I have to disagree. The market worked in both cases.

    Beta was killed by Sony’s insistence on proprietary control over the technology, which has also weakened other Sony product lines. The same thing happened in the PC vs. Mac battle. The fact that Apple insisted on control over their platform from the start weakened them in the marketplace. What this demonstrates in both cases is that accessibility and openness has more value in the market than superior technology. The lesser technology which is more available and more adaptable will beat out the superior technology which is hoarded and kept from wide dissemination.

    The amazing thing about Apple is that their products are so demonstrably and overwhelmingly superior that they remain strong in the market and are even gaining ground in the broader market, despite their higher prices and restrictive practices.

    Oh, and Jet – we’re entertaining ourselves.

    Dave

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    I suspected as much… Carry on

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    As for Beta vs VHS, early on it was determined (true or false) that a blank Beta tape could only hold a little over an hour and a half of programing at it’s best quality speed, where VHS held 2.

    Considering that most movies on commercial TV lasted 2, going with VHS was a no brainer. Of course there were different taping speeds, but apparently Beta’s lower speeds yielded lower quality recordings.

    Perception was everything.

    Also, having been in the porn industty, once it decides on a format, that’s where the money follows, because like it or not porn sells more video than just about anything.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    By the way DON’T toss your DVDs and DON’T buy blue-rays. This is all a con job, and as soon as you’ve purchased thousands of bucks worth to replace your DVDs the next big thing will come along and it won’t be compatible.

    What?

    Phase recorded holograms hold thousand’s of times more data and can be imprinted on a DVD. I’m told five super-high resolution 2-hour movies can fit on one disc. The technology is nearly perfected as we speak, the only thing keeping it off the market is that they want to make as much as they can selling DVD-HDs and Blue Rays, before they announce you’ve got to start all over again, and spend a few grand more on updating your video library.

    You’ve been warned.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    And we’re not surprised…

    …except perhaps by the revelation that Jet was in the porn industry.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    Blu-ray is definitely a no-go. the new hardware isn’t needed for HDTV quality, it’s just a trick to get you into a new high-cost proprietary format so the monopoly can squeeze more bucks out of you.

    With current tech you can record HDTV to a DVR, play it back thru 1394 (firewire) to either an intermediate HDD or even directly to a conventional 9gb DVD as a computer data file, and then play it back thru a PC. In fact, if you can break the semi-proprietary code on the DVR HDD you can simplify that.

  • Cindy D

    Neal,

    The Titanic tragedy is a profound example that laws generally reflect miminum standards. Business is free to do better, but unfortunately the desire to reduce costs is often more important to some businesses than safety of their employees and customers. Without government safety enforcement many businesses will do very little with respect to safety measures.

    You’ve got it all wrong! There is no need for government interference at all. The market is perfectly capable of straightening that out. People–you know, the ones who survived, as well as the public–would just stop using the company whose practices killed people.

    It’s sort of like lead paint. After enough children die or get brain damage from that, people will surely naturally switch to lead-free paint.

    See, Capitalism, that is the beauty of it. It takes care of everything naturally.

  • Neal Taslitz

    Dear Ms. Cindy D.,

    You neglected to address the state governments’ involvement in the tobacco litigation, and the seat belt laws. Capitalism did not resolve those safety issues.

    Sincerely,
    Neal Taslitz

  • Cindy D

    Dear Mr. Neil Taslitz,

    Are you not familiar with “moral hazard”? Seatbelts only make people more likely to drive dangerously.

    Think I am kidding?

    This is standard Chicago School Neoliberal thinking. Just check out Sam Peltzman:

    Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago talks about his views on safety, regulation, unintended consequences and the political economy of bad regulation. The focus is on his pioneering studies of automobile safety and FDA pharmaceutical regulation and the perverse incentives that even good intentions can produce. (Quote from podcast link below)

    Here is a link to the podcast where he will explain to you: (at time point 1:37) Seatbelts lower the price of safety, which causes people to take more risks

    On page 7 of his Regulation and the Natural Progress of Opulence, Mr. Peltzman argues:

    “…this regulation would encourage greater risk taking. In effect, the greater protection had reduced the price of risky driving. If you are in a hurry and tempted to drive faster or more aggressively part of the price you would pay for this is the extra risk of getting into an accident and then suffering injury or even death.”

    Frankly, my Dear Mr. Taslitz, I haven’t time at the moment to look at the tobacco industry, as I must go out. Although, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this too has been completely explained by the Chicago School Neoliberals.

    You might be surprised at the amazing things the Chicago School has explained. Really Mr. Taslitz, Capitalism is the cure for nearly anything I can imagine. Anything that says it’s not, is wrong. Against child labor? Sorry, you would be wrong.

    (P.S. The fact that you took my post as serious rather than as a détournement, makes me wonder how very A) polite you must be, or B) accustomed you must be to hearing the most outrageous claims by neoliberals.)

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Cndy, your Peltzman example sums up much which is wrong with academic libertarianism. You can only get in trouble when you try to argue against an issue like seatbelt laws from a market perspective. It’s just a ridiculous approach to take to the issue. The better argument is that the government has no reasonable justification for regulating seatbelt use because individuals have the absolute right to engage in action which puts their life at risk if they choose to do so.

    Dave

  • Neal Taslitz

    Dear Cindy,

    I prefer to believe that I am both polite and accustomed to hearing outrageous claims by neo-liberals and neo-conservatives. Thank you for your observations.

    I do know a little about the ADA, as I practiced in that area for 17 years. The ADA is a civil rights law, that has been attacked by corporations to the extent that less than 5% of the claims made by employees are successful, according to the American Bar Association.

    The reason for that dismal record, has more to do with the tightrope that a plaintiff must walk to keep his or her case in court. I am pleased to say that I never lost an ADA case, and one of the ADA cases I worked on is now studied in law schools, as it is widely used to support effective accommodation requirements.

    As far as refusing to hire disabled workers, I know that the great bulk of the litigation is by those workers who are already working and need accommodations to continue their work. I have found that the issue is also one of good management. In most instances the good manager gets the employee the reasonable accommodation.

    Too often the bad manager ignores the request and that results in litigation which is likely to cost companies a minimum of $50,000, even if the case is dismissed after discovery and pre-trial motions. Most accommodations I have reviewed cost less than a couple of thousand dollars. There is no logic in spending $50,000 to dismiss a case when an accommodation for a couple of thousand dollars would have prevented the litigation. Corporations need to properly educate their managers on the issues, and immediately have their legal department know of the request for an accommodation under the ADA to avoid poor decisions of middle-management.

    The real agenda of large corporations and the National Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers is to make things so bleak for prospective ADA plaintiffs, that lawyers simply don’t want to file their complaints.

    That agenda is doomed, as the disabled community has organized to represent many disabled plaintiffs using lawyers who are very experienced in the ADA.

    If disabled employees are fired, the costs to the economy is substantial, as many are then forced to seek government benefits, or if they are lucky make a claim on private disability insurance policy. I find that the disabled tend to be very productive, and should be accommodated.

    As you know, I have taken the position that government regulation is meant to control the bad apples who are the minority of businesses, but cause the bulk of problems in the areas of safety and many of the other areas that have been referenced by Mr. Peltzman.

    If you are advocating that no laws should be enacted to protect the public from those who are reckless, and choose to put profits ahead of humans lives, you might want to review the the history of the Ford Pinto and acceptance of the costs that Ford would have to pay when the faulty design caused accidents and deaths, since the accountants projections argued it would be less costly to pay the claims, than lose the profits that would be earned from the sales.

    If people think that they can now be more risky in their behavior because they have some safety net in place, that is not a logical rational to revoke laws that are designed to protect those who will be injured as a result of others reckless behavior, which are frequently due to other behavior problems.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Peltzman failed to address the fact that the majority of accidents in the U.S. now are directly related to alcohol drugs, and cell phone use while driving. I doubt you would want to allow drunk drivers to drive on our roads and eliminate laws that prohibit that behavior.

    If the automobile manufacturers implemented a system that would prohibit a driver from starting a car that used a breath analyzer and a biometric match of the drivers DNA if that driver had one prior DUI, we’d save a lot of lives and health care costs and litigation costs. I doubt that they would build that type of ignition system without government requiring it.

    I also doubt that you are advocating that children under the driving age should not be protected by laws that in fact are working to save their lives against reckless or drunk drivers.

    Sincerely,
    Neal Taslitz

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    The better argument is that the government has no reasonable justification for regulating seatbelt use because individuals have the absolute right to engage in action which puts their life at risk if they choose to do so.

    EXCEPT when it comes to wasting our tax dollars and jacking up our insurance rates.

    Dave, you and every conservative (and particularly libertarians) should be pounding for support of seat belt laws, because the statistics clearly show that those who don’t wear seat belts who are involved in crashes are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed…

    …and whose treatment and other costs are often borne by the insurance industry (which naturally passes the costs on to those of us who DO wear seat belts) and particularly by taxpayers when the injured is uninsured or is insufficiently covered by insurance.

    So if you’re cool with paying your hard-earned money for THEIR irresponsibility, that’s up to you. But it’s not cool with me. As far as I’m concerned, strict adherence to seat belt use should be law in every state and territory of America.

    And while I’m at it, instead of having set dollar amounts, the fines for all tickets should be a percentage of one’s income. Can you imagine a ticket that would cost you or me $100…but would cost Bill Gates close to a thousand times that? Good for the economy, I say! Not to mention the sudden drop in the flouting of laws by the overpaid and underworked….

  • Clavos

    I would say that making the use of seatbelts mandatory to save the rest of society the necessity of paying for those who are irresponsible is a good idea, but should be carried MUCH further.

    We should also prohibit the population from engaging in anything with the possibility of injuring or killing participants, or which would present the possibility of massive property damage or loss, where payment for such losses would be carried by other policyholders or the government.

    To this end, measures prohibiting people from living in New Orleans and other coastal cities in Hurricane Alley, from living in the Midwestern tornado alley, or the fire-prone and earthquake prone areas of the west coast, and along the major rivers and their deltas and other flood plains should be enacted immediately.

    We should also outlaw such sports (pastimes?) as hang gliding, mountain and rock climbing, general aviation, small boat operation, whitewater rafting, sport parachuting, go-kart racing, snowmobiling, ATVs etc., etc.

  • STM

    Let’s not forget big-wave riding, Clav.

    Yee hah!!

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Does that mean jumping to conclusions too?

  • Clavos

    Let’s not forget big-wave riding, Clav.

    Yee hah!!

    For those who haven’t seen STM (aka Silver Surfer) actually riding one, here he is.

  • Cindy D

    Dave,

    …your Peltzman example sums up much which is wrong with academic libertarianism.

    I am very happy to hear you say that. My Capitalism article will have some interesting information about the Chicago Boys.

    Many of the points I will make will be in counter to many observations you have made about the markets. (Which I am collecting, as being relatively commonly held ideas about Capitalism.) It will be illuminating to see what you think.

  • Cindy D

    But Dave,

    One more thing. I will show you that is not mere academic libertarianism. It is what is in current vogue in our legal system. But, I’m getting ahead of myself for the moment.

  • Cindy D

    Dear Neal,

    That agenda is doomed, as the disabled community has organized to represent many disabled plaintiffs using lawyers who are very experienced in the ADA.

    I am glad to hear that. I wonder though, what does a person do before their company’s practices disable them? As in the case below.

    There is no logic in spending $50,000 to dismiss a case when an accommodation for a couple of thousand dollars would have prevented the litigation.

    A friend of mine, who works for New York Life and happens to be very tall, asked for a chair that fit him as his was causing him a great deal of pain. They told him they didn’t have any others. He suggested he be allowed to bring one in at his own expense. You see, he was perfectly willing to pay for a chair. He just didn’t want to be in pain all day and every day. They told him that he would not be permitted to do that.

    If you are advocating…

    I would not say advocating here. Not in relation to what I believe, anyway. Perhaps what I am “highlighting” would be more like it.

    If people think that they can now be more risky in their behavior because they have some safety net in place, that is not a logical rational to revoke laws that are designed to protect those who will be injured as a result of others reckless behavior…

    That is an excellent point. I’ll be happy to discover if the Chicago Boys have that wrapped up.

    Warm Regards,
    Cindy

  • Cindy D

    For those who haven’t seen STM (aka Silver Surfer) actually riding one, here he is.

    Stan looks sort of like you in that picture Clav.

  • Cindy D

    RE #78

    Clav,

    I would say that making the use of seatbelts mandatory to save the rest of society the necessity of paying for those who are irresponsible is a good idea…

    You just made me aware that while the rest of you are discussing seat belt laws–I.E. laws that require the use of a seat belt. I have been discussing seat belt laws–I.E. the laws that required the installation of seat belts as safety equipment in automobiles.

    I apologize. My comments in #74 (and relating to Sam Peltzman) have to do with laws requiring safety equipment being installed in cars.

  • Cindy D

    Ugh, sorry Clav, that quote in #86, removes the irony in your comment.

  • Cindy D

    I think Dave got my meaning though. It was a cost issue.

  • Cindy D

    You know, government regulation of something that would affect costs of auto manufacture.

  • Cindy D

    Hrmm. Rereading Dave’s comment…he’s talking about the same seat belt laws as you are Clav.

  • Cindy D

    Okay, so we are clear, the point Peltzman is making is that car manufacturers should not have had their sovereign market rights interfered with via a government law that required them to install sealbelts in automobiles.

    It is the argument that government should not regulate business.

  • STM

    Cindy: “Stan looks sort of like you in that picture Clav”

    Way out of his comfort zone though Cindy. You’d have to prise Clav out of Miami with a crowbar. That was taken at North Steyne Beach in Sydney a few southern-hemisphere winters back.

    Lucky you didn’t get any wipe-out shots, eh Clav??

  • STM

    Talking of wave action, here’s a little bit of what was going on down here yesterday at Bondi Beach, with a nice bit of south swell and some warm offshore wind happening :)

    Glad we don’t have Congress down here. We’ve already got enough idiots running the place.

  • Clavos

    I think Cindy meant we both look like a couple of old cobbers, mate.

    The day we see waves that big on Miami’s beaches is the day I move Down Under.

    You know I’ve been looking for an excuse…

  • STM

    Boating/sailing/surfing paradise here.

    Mind you, it’s not bad over there either.

    You do get decent waves in Florida, Clav. One of the best surfs I’ve ever had was at a place called Sebastian Inlet, up the coast a bit from you at Melbourne Beach.

    We’re going back a couple of decades but I got it on an all-time day. Not too big, but very noice, and perfect shape. Great weather, nice folks. Speaking of small but perfectly formed, love those American girls too – used to, anyway …

    I’m hard-pushed just dragging myself up the beach to the car these days after a surf … chasing women is like 120th on my list of 100 top priorities.

    But it’s nice when they tell you: “Hey, I luuuurve your accent!”

    Lol. Probably couldn’t understand half of what I was saying, which was probably a bonus for me.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Stan, are the box jellies as bad and as deadly as they say they are? I’m told the damned things are small bu deadly in Australia

  • STM

    They ARE deadly, Jet. If you get stung, generally you are history. They have antivenenes but time is the factor.

    However, the good news: they are only in an area of tropical Queensland, about 1000 miles from here. Everyone knows where not to swim. There are other dangers up there too: saltwater crocodiles, which are maneaters. Not a joke either, they really are.

    We don’t get crocs or box jellies in Sydney, but it’s not unususual for the shark alarm to go off at the beach. I have seen plenty over the years.

    Mind you, we’re all a bit blase about it all. Just about everything on this continent from spiders and the little blue-ringed octopus you find in coastal rockpools to dirty big red or grey kangaroos (yes, they will attack) can kill you. I’ve given up counting the number of times I’ve inadvertently disturbed redback or funnelweb spiders or venonous snakes in my yard.

    As Doc says, it’s a wonder any of us survive childhood.

  • Neal Taslitz

    Dear Cindy,

    You appear to be quite bright in your thinking and analysis.

    The ergonomic standards were designed to prevent the injuries that people like your friend have as a result of being forced to sit in a chair that is not the proper size.

    Unfortunately, without ergonomic standards in place, the person is forced to work until they become disabled, if in fact they do become disabled under the definition provided in the ADA, which is a very complex formula that usually is twisted to work against the plaintiff.

    I cannot give legal advice to you or your friend, in a public forum like the Internet blog we are writing on, but in general I would say that those persons who are seriously injured at work usually have two claims. The first would be a workers compensation claim. If the injury does not go away after medical treatment, or if it does and the worker’s doctor prescribes a different size chair or some other item that will prevent reinjuring the worker, that may qualify as a reasonable accommmodation under the ADA, if the injury has caused a long term type of medical malady.

    I suggest you Google Feliberty v. Kemper, as it will go into much more detail on what is involved in the process to get a reasonable & effective accomodation under the ADA.

    Any request for accommodations should be in writing so that a record is made of what was asked for and when it was requested. A delay in providing an accommodation can be viewed as unreasonable, and may result in the employer being viewed as not responding properly, particularly if the employee reinjures themselves during the delay.

    If an employer fails to respond, the employee must then file an administrative complaint with the EEOC and be given permission to file a complaint in Federal court prior to any such filing. The EEOC usually will contact the employer to discuss the situation and try to work out something that is reasonable. If the employer ignores the EEOC, or fires the employee during the EEOC review, they are likely to end up in Federal Court and their costs for defending the complaint generally is substantially in excess of what the accomodation would have cost them.

    As I said earlier most well managed companies are proactive and don’t ignore their employees or the EEOC. However, some do, and those are the ones that are generally poorly managed companies.

    If you need to reach me to discuss matters in furter detail, you can find me using a search engine. I would be interested in knowing what you are writing about in the comment you made to someone else earlier. Since I lived in Chicago for over 25 years, I might be able to help direct you to some people there who could provide you with some assistance in your research. The ABA is headquartered in Chicago, and they have a lot of data that is not available elsewhere on the stats involving ADA complaints and outcomes.

    Sincerely,
    Neal Taslitz

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I think the problem with the seatbelt discussion stems from the fact that laws requiring seatbelts in cars were passed ages ago, while laws requiring the wearing of seatbelts are a much more recent issue. Naturally the more recent seatbelt issue leapt to mind first when the topic came up.

    To go back to the issue of the original laws requiring seatbelts in cars, they are probably not justifiable and represent and unreasonable interference in trade. The role of the government should have been to make the public aware of the dangers of not having seatbelts and the public would then either buy cars with seatbelts over other cars, or there would develp a secondary market adding seatbelts to cars. The market has already demonstrated that there is a large potential for aftermarket automotive products like custom rims, tinting, stereo systems and alarms. A market demand for seatbelts almost certainly would have developed and they would have become widely available in the aftermarket and manufacturers would have probably followed the trend.

    Seatbelts are desirable, and the government’s intervention benefited many people. But it was unnecessary and the same result would have eventually come through consumer demand and the response of the market. Why should we tolerate a government which dictates how we live and how we do business when there is no clear and imminent danger to others from our actions? It’s oppression, even if it’s on a scale as small as forcing us to use seatbelts.

    When you start dictating lifestyle choices where do you draw the line? First you require seatbelts. Next you outlaw cigarettes and alcohol. Pretty soon you outlaw cars altogether because they are too dangerous. Then you ban dangerous breeds of dog. Then you ban violent movies and TV. Where does it stop? When do you say that the value of free choice and individual liberty should not be overriden by a government which chronically intrudes on the vague justification of the public welfare?

    Dave

  • STM

    Dave, you are drawing a very long bow, old boy. The compulsory wearing of seatbelts isn’t that much different from the compulsory holding of a driver’s licence, or the compulsory wearing of a seatbelt on a plane during take-off and landing.

    Take it from me mate, I have seen the results of some dreadful accidents where people weren’t wearing seatbelts, including a really tragic one where two 20-year-old boys skidded into a light pole at 30mph on a wet bend in the road. When we got there, the front of the car was hardly dented.

    But they were both killed instantly … head and chest injuries. The most noticeable damage to the car was the shattered front windscreen. The old sergeant at the scene said they had virtually no visible injuries. That’s how simple it is to die in a smash like that.

    Had they been wearing belts, they’d have walked away without a scratch.

    I’ve also seen some other smashes where the wearing of belts in really horrific accidents has saved whole families including children from what otherwise would have meant certain death.

    Like you, when those laws first came in here some decades back, I thought it was an impost. Later, in the course of my work, I was to understand why. I understand your libertarian views, but I get the feeling sometimes for you with this stuff that’s it’s nothing more than a matter of principle, even when the issue at stake is people’s lives. But that kind of law is a good one. That and the wearing of helmets whilst riding a motorbike.

  • Cindy D

    Jet,

    I’m told the damned things are small bu deadly in Australia

    Everything is small but deadly in Australia. Except the sharks, they’re big and deadly.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Stan, I’m not sure, but I think you’ve just been insulted… unless of course the water was cold that day?

  • Clavos

    That and the wearing of helmets whilst riding a motorbike.

    Which, thankfully, is an option in Florida…

  • bliffle

    Daves seatbelt tirade is just another red herring he’s thrown in to distract attention from the evident failure of Daves beloved Freidmanist ‘Free’ Market economy.

  • Cindy D

    Dear Neal,

    I cannot give legal advice to you or your friend, in a public forum like the Internet blog we are writing on…

    Of course. It was just an example mostly to make a point really about the authoritarian nature of business in our “free” society.

    The idea, itself, that one needs to be subjected to conditions that unnecessarily injure one before one can have a recourse to fight a losing battle boggles my mind. Of course this also puts the wage slave employee in an adversarial position on the job. People might rather just shut up and deal with the pain.

    My friend eventually was given a chair that fit him (after maybe a year or so). Thank you for that post though. I will copy it in case I need to consider a course of action for someone else some day.

    In my posts I am referring to the very powerful Chicago School of Economics, whose agenda and theories have long inculcated the domestic and foreign policies of the U.S. (whether under Republican or Democratic reign) as well as the minds of those who believe in the mythic incantations concerning Capitalism as a cure for whatever ails us. The so-called “free-market” advocates.

    I am doing some research where I will attempt to show some free-market advocates Capitalists that if they look at the facts, they will find that the neoliberal school of thinking is a very far cry from what they think they believe in. They think their beliefs have been handed down in the tradition of great thinkers like Adam Smith, for example. They haven’t. The Chicago School has hijacked Adam Smith and others, perhaps hoping no one will actually read The Wealth of Nations. It uses some of Smith’s ideas, like the invisible hand, to promote an agenda that is nothing to freedom but contrary.

    I’m not sure if that answered your question.

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    It did?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    North Steyne, eh, Stan?

    I almost was going to say the beach behind you looks like Manly – but even I know that trying to surf at Manly would be a bit like trying to ski down Mount Sinai…

    Still, you could’ve Photoshopped it.

    But it’s nice when they tell you: “Hey, I luuuurve your accent!”

    Yeah, the accent thing is pretty cool. That kid in the movie Love, Actually had the right idea – just hop on a plane to a random American city, walk into a bar and order a drink. You’ll instantly be surrounded by gorgeous women swooning over your cute accent.

    That little vignette may have seemed far-fetched to some Brits who saw the film, but those of us who live over in the US were smiling and nodding in recognition…

  • http://ex-conservative.blogspot.com Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I would say that making the use of seatbelts mandatory to save the rest of society the necessity of paying for those who are irresponsible is a good idea, but should be carried MUCH further.
    We should also prohibit the population from engaging in anything with the possibility of injuring or killing participants, or which would present the possibility of massive property damage or loss, where payment for such losses would be carried by other policyholders or the government.

    Okay, since you want to use sarcasm to protect your apparent belief that seatbelt laws trespass on your personal freedom, I’ll do the same in reverse:

    Just to PROTECT our FREEDOM to do what we want, we shouldn’t restrict firearms at all – heck, let the kids take assault rifles and grenades to school! At least they can defend themselves, right? And since when should there be speed limits anywhere? If I want to drive MY car 90 MPH down the street, I should be able to DO that, right? And if I want to crank my stereo to the point it rattles windows three blocks away, hey – it’s MY stereo, and I can do that!

    IN OTHER WORDS, Clavos, your sarcastic reply was just as puerile – and just as futile – as the previous paragraph.

    Whether you like it or not, almost everything you do affects others in this world. I’m sure you don’t like others doing things that adversely affects your life…so if that is true, if you still do not care to be circumspect about how your actions affect others, what does that say about you?

  • Cindy D

    It’s very true. The accent thing. Though, I gave up on “the accent thing” in 1995 when, in a British pub in Fort Lauderdale, I caught eye of a most attractive British fellow. He went to the jukebox, came back to his seat and then stood there across the bar and lip-synced the words to Abba’s Take a Chance on Me.

    Now, I am not sure if a man could understand this, but this is about the most appealing thing a fellow could do. It demonstrates every attractive quality–self-confidence, boldness, silliness–all at the same time.

    Then he did the stupidest thing possible. He wanted me to cross the bar to meet him where he sat with his friends. I shook my head. Later he would behave even more badly by ambushing me, picking me up off the floor and whispering something brazen (in his lovely accent) before I could escape.

    His friends came over to try to apologize for him. It seems he was a footballer and used to getting his way.

    Appearances (and accents) aren’t everything.

  • Clavos

    Actually, my reply was only partly sarcastic. I do not think New Orleans (or any other city built where sane people wouldn’t live if it weren’t for insurance, including me–I live waterfront in Miami) should have been rebuilt.

    I own a waterfront home in St. Petersburg, FL (insured), built on the bay side of a barrier island approximately 400 yards wide from Gulf to Boca Ciega Bay which has an elevation of less than 4 feet. Should it be completely destroyed in a hurricane (and one in the 20s covered the island with 13 feet of water), I don’t think that I (or anyone else, including all my neighbors) should be allowed to rebuild in the same spot.

    And I think the same idea should be applied to all cities in flood plains, tornado-prone ares, etc.

    In principle, I deplore government intervention in the citizens’ lifestyles, but I think this makes sense financially, in exactly the same way the seat belt law does.

    As far as guns, I don’t think there should be any more laws than those already on the books; I think the punishment for commission of a crime with a gun should be extremely severe, instead.

    And, if the guy next door is playing his stereo too loud, I prefer to deal with it myself, not call the police. I’ve never called the police for anything like that in my life, and likely never will, I don’t believe in it.

    As for my being puerile, you may be right, but I’m too old to change now.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Clav, you say I don’t think that I (or anyone else, including all my neighbors) should be allowed to rebuild in the same spot. I disagree. If you are willing to accept the risk or can pay an insurer lots of money to do so, why not? It may be a silly thing to do, but as long as those who do it don’t demand that others foot the bill for fixing up after nature has had her way, why not?

    Last week, there was some pretty severe flooding about thirty KM from where we live. Many small homes, and a few big ones as well, not to mention bridges and other things, were destroyed or greatly damaged. The smaller homes (those of very poor people) had been built, generally by squatters, where such construction was not allowed — they quite probably built there because no other sites were available. Charitable organizations are doing a great job in providing necessary assistance, and the government is doing a commendable job as well. However, it does not seem able, or to feel obliged, to do much more than provide emergency aid.

    On 19 November, there was an earthquake (6.3 magnitude) about forty KM away. We felt it, but it did no damage to us. A few homes near the epicenter were damaged. The earthquake occurred where there are perhaps twenty or more each year, ranging from insignificant to substantial.

    Generally, people elect to live where they do because no better alternative is available to them or because the place is so wonderful that they are prepared to assume the risks. If they don’t bitch and moan about inadequate governmental response, and demand that the government (you and I, through our taxes) make them whole, I don’t understand the problem.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Stan, your argument for seatbelts is a purely emotional argument. I agree with it on that basis. But emotion should have no place in the framing of laws, and every law we create to make us feel good which whittles away at our individual liberty is ultimately doing more harm than good.

    If you want to live through an accident wear your seatbelt. If you want to live past 50 then don’t start smoking or quit. These are things which every adult knows and understands and is capable of addressing on his or her own without the intervention of government. There is no justification for government usurping the autonomy of the individual on a purely emotional and irrational pretext.

    If we continue to evolve away from a society where individuals can make choices and have to face the consequences of those choices, we will become a society where life literally has no meaning at all.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    Football, surfing, seatbelts, etc. Whatever happened to the vigorous discussions of politics and economics?

    Are Dave, Clavos, Dan, etc., trying to hide from the in-your-face collapse of their favorite economic theories?

  • http://jetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Jet

    See the last sentence of 66 Bliffle in response to 65…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Ah well, the end times are upon us and . . .

    Dan(Miller)

  • Clavos

    Dan(Miller),

    I take your point. I wouldn’t try to refute what you say about people fending for themselves, I try to live my own life that way. Anyone who has been at sea in small boats for extended periods of time, as you and I have, understands very well the importance of being self sufficient.

    What I was trying to point out in my example is that housing (and commercial property for that matter) which is built in known hazardous locations should not, if destroyed, be rebuilt at the expense of others; whether it’s government financed, or financed by insurance settlements, which are paid by the premiums of others who don’t live in such areas, more than one time.

    If an individual rebuilds after the first disaster with either got. or insurance money, fine. If, after that first rebuild, the property is again destroyed, the owner should not be eligible for either government or insurance reimbursement; this places the responsibility for payment on others, and is unfair to them, as I see it.

  • bliffle

    How sophomoric the conversation of Clavos, Dan, Dave, and etc., sounds as they repeat the vanities of the privileged, proudly proclaiming their independence, bravely avoiding awareness of their own dependence.

    Clavos brags of his independence sailing a small boat without acknowledging his dependence on the boat builder, the cartographer, the Coast Guard, and all who have gone before.

    Is it the sure knowledge of every mans dependence on other men that makes them strike so hard against that very notion?

    In the end, are they just selfish?

    In the end, do all their fine words and spoken logics just amount to being cheap?

    No man is an island, entire of itself
    every man is a piece of the continent,
    a part of the main
    if a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
    as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
    any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
    and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
    it tolls for thee.

    — John Donne

  • STM

    Doc: “I almost was going to say the beach behind you looks like Manly – but even I know that trying to surf at Manly would be a bit like trying to ski down Mount Sinai…”

    Don’t know when you were there Doc, but try googling some pix of North Steyne + surf. It gets some of the best waves on the northern beaches. Waaaaay better than Bondi on average, and definitely the best spot at Manly. I have seen it looking like an Indo pointbreak on occasion, and it’s not that rare either for it to be good.

    There’s a story attached to that pic.

    I was supposed to meet a photographer there to get some shots and we thought it would be 3-4ft surf max because of the swell prediction earlier in the week and we’d be there for half an hour and go back to work.

    When we arrived it was all-time, 6-8ft, spitting barrels, looked like the North Shore of Oahu on a good day and so crowded it resembled a seal colony.

    The guy taking the pictures couldn’t help himself. He stayed in the water for about 15 minutes shooting, got a couple of OK shots, then raced in to get his own board and we surfed for about three hours – on work time.

    When we got back, the boss had been told that the surf was great, and busted us (with a nod and a wink) for not coming back to work on time.

    The job on the day? Testing out oversized shortboard designs for old fat guys in wetsuits (me and all the other old fat guys).

    I love this country!!

    Only in Australia could a three-hour surf be a legitimate job when working for a major international corporation.

    Photoshopping might have been the better option in retrospect – we would have had longer in the surf without farting around trying to get pictures of me NOT going arse-over-tit.

  • Clavos

    Clavos brags of his independence sailing a small boat without acknowledging his dependence on the boat builder, the cartographer, the Coast Guard, and all who have gone before.

    With the exception of the boat builder (which in the case of one of my boats, was myself), none of those count when you’re a couple of hundred miles out to sea and get hit with a really nasty storm. Most of my sailing has taken place in waters the Coast Guard doesn’t cover (Mexico and the Caribbean), but even in waters they do cover, they won’t even begin to look for you until you’re overdue for 24 hours.

    When you’re fighting 40+ knot winds and 12+ foot seas in a 40 foot boat, you damn well better be self-sufficient, because you will not get any help, and will not get out alive if you aren’t.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I really don’t get what Bliffle is looking for from us here. He seems to think that an economic snafu should make us suddenly abandon every principle of sound economics and individual liberty and instantly turn into craven statist drones. I just don’t get it. His principles may be that shallow, but he’s off base in applying the same standard to others.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Dave, Bliffle is looking for an apology. Something like this:

    We economic non-interventionists are sorry that intervention has gone horribly wrong. Clearly, that’s our fault. We apologize for an economy with no inflation and 6.5% unemployment. When the bottom earning quintile is fat, and have better cell phones than existed 5 years ago, words are not enough. We need to adopt the kind of economic interventions that have made it impossible to grow sugar in Cuba.

  • Baronius

    Oh, also the Big Three automakers are now saying that they need $34B. This can mean one of two things: (1) they lost another $9B in the last three weeks, or (2) they discovered that they were $9B worse off than they realized. Or, it could be a mix. They may have lost $1B each week over the last three weeks, and discovered that their initial estimates were $6B off. Maybe GM lost $7B in three weeks, and Ford realized that their books were off by $2B.

    Which scenario makes you want to loan them money?

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Now it all makes sense, Baronius.

    But at least they’re driving down to DC in a convoy of giant hybrid SUVs.

    Oh, and the UAW is going to make concessions. They’re not willing to take salary cuts or anything meaningful like that, but they’re willing to wait a little while before they suck huge cash settlements out of the automakers when they assume control of the bloated pension funds.

    Dave