Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rotten trees from little acorns and windy politicians

Chicago has long been known as the Windy City and today people usually assume it is weather related. But that is not the case. Chicago is not that particularly windy. The term was first used to describe the “wind” emitted by local politicians.

When it comes to politicians in Chicago the general rule has been that they are corrupt and stupid. The city is a one party state and like all one party states it attracts the worst quality of elected officials. Of course two party states don’t do much better.

Now the blithering brigade of braggarts and brigands that infest that city, like cockroaches in a kitchen that has never been cleaned, have decided to repeal gravity, legislate that the winters be warmer and require the waves to part on Lake Michigan to allow tired swimmers to walk back to shore. No? Well, not quite, but they have done something equally stupid.

The politicians of Chicago, no doubt the products of the inept Chicago school system, have decided that it is within their powers to repeal facts of reality. The bright sparks in the city council have passed a law establishing a new minimum wage but only for businesses of a certain size. To qualify you must be more than 90,000 square feet in size and owned by company grossing more than $1 billion annually. The legislation, which is not properly called “law” here as “law” has some basis in reality, is discriminatory and meant to appeal to envy by attacking only a handful of stores because they are successful. The law can not mandate that workers be worth that wage only that they be paid it.

In the tradition of the gaseous fools that plagued the city’s politics, Alderman Joseph Moore inhaled precious oxygen and wasted it on absurd claims like: “This is a great day for the working men and women of Chicago.”

One of the intended targets is Wal-Mart, which is hated by the moonbats on the Left because it is successful. Consider this: anytime any business grows large through success the moonbats will attack it. They are envy ridden and not ashamed of their vandal mentality. Vandalism, in any form, destroys the property of others without bringing any real benefit to the vandal. It is more of the mindset that says, “If I can’t have it, then no one can.” And since the moonbats tend to be abject failures in life, they reap what they sow, they are consumed with a hatred for success and a desire to destroy it.

The new law says these big stores, and only the big ones, must pay $10 per hour in wages plus $3 worth of fringe benefits per hour. The average pay at Wal-Mart, all things considered is $11 per hour so the law would basically demand wages increase by 20%.

Now it takes no intelligence to work at Wal-Mart. I’ve shopped in Wal-Mart and was glad they were there. When my budget was very tight being able to buy jeans for $12 a pair was a real blessing. And I’m sure lots of people without much money are glad that Wal-Mart exists. But to help “poor working people” the politicians of Chicago are forcing up prices for all poor people including the many in Chicago who have no job. So to benefit one small group of workers, in one specific kind of store, the politicians are going to force up prices for all poor people in the city. The idiots call this compassion. Of course the idea is to really drive these stores out of business. Their high priced, smaller competitors aren't required to pay the new minimum "living wage". For some unexplained reason their employers supposedly can live on less. You can bet the competititors, realizing it would drive up the costs of the big stores while leaving them untouched, were quite in favor of the new law. The measure is anti-competitive, precisely what bad businessmen want.

Now most politicians are failures at actually earning a living. They are too incompetent to earn a profit in the market and thus end up floating around the political septic tank like huge chunks of excrement. They really stink things up in general and they are dangerous to one’s health and should be flushed out of the system as often as possible. But the amazing thing is that these rent-seeking lifers feel they have the ability to micromanage the businesses of others.

Wal-Mart and other “evil” big, low price stores really ought to pack up in Chicago and move. Leave the premises empty, leave the employees unemployed, this is what the wind bags in city hall apparently want. A left-wing group, meaning riddled with the envious and economically illiterate, was behind the measure. They were founded by one Wade Rathke, a Left-wing radical and activist. While Acorn, like all Leftists, says it works on behalf of “workers” the group has stridently opposed efforts to unionize their own employees. And the National Labor Relations Board has found that the group used “union-busting tactics against its employees.”

The ACORN conglomerate is run like a corporation and a well oiled one too. It supposedly has a budget somewhere between $30 and $40 million dollars per year and is tightly controlled by Rathke and his family. Money is shuffled around within a network of Rathke-run groups making it hard to follow. For instance the group, Citizens Consulting, which is run by Rathke’s brother received over half a million dollars from ACORN for “lobbying” between 1998 and 2004. ACORN run labor union SEIU (Service Employees International Union) local 100 and 880 had transactions with other Rathke run operations totaling $623,829 according to the Department of Labor. Rathke’s Project Vote paid ACORN and Citizens Consulting $1.7 million in just three years. That's only the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

ACORN pushes a fallacious concept called a “living wage”. They claim it is is based on wages necessary for a worker to keep his family of four out of poverty. But few workers have a family of four, with average sizes well below that, and most such families have a second income as well. When one ACORN representative was asked how they determine the wages they demand she said: “We just made that number up....” Of course them themselves pay less to their employees than they demand be legislated for others. ACORN even sued the state of California claiming it should be exempt from paying minimum wages at all. They complained that “the more that ACORN must pay each individual outreach worker... the fewer outreach workers it will be able to hire.” What is true for ACORN is true for Wal-Mart. Unless Wal-Mart employees become more productive they aren’t worth $13 per hour, if they were they would be paid that especially considering the low unemployment rate in the US. ACORN is only going to destroy some jobs to increase wages for other jobs. And they may unemploy all the employees of these large stores in Chicago if the stores do the sane thing and move out of this hostile climate.

True, raising minimum wages reduces employment and that means fewer jobs. Now lets go back to Wal-Mart for a second. Anyone who has shopped there knows that the employees are really unskilled workers and not exactly bright. They show up, move merchandise around and take the money. Ask them for help and see the blank looks on their faces. I know, I’ve done it. Most Wal-Mart employees have few real skills. The sad fact is that their productive effort is minimal and not worth $13 per hour. But it doesn’t have to be. They have to do the minimum work required to move products. And they do. And the beneficiaries of that are people who don’t operate with the kind of budget that Rathke is used to spending.

Wal-Mart customers come from the lower end of the economic ladder. And they are damn glad that they can buy what they need at low prices --- an option that ACORN and dumb politicians want to take away from them. Surely such measures are anti-poor. Of course if Chicago really wants to improve the lives of poor people in the city it could lower it’s 9% regressive sales tax which penalizes the poor most of all. Rathke knows Wal-Mart caters to low income customers. He bragged that he was one of them when he was poor. “They had me. I wasn’t making 2 cents to put together.”

For an example of Rathke’s own tactics to secure “social justice” read this press release by ACORN workers attempting to unionize.

They claim that almost 100 percent of the staff of ACORN in Washington state tried to join the Industrial Workers of the World but that ACORN refused to recognize the union. Employees wanted the following: “a 40 hour work week, paychecks on time and in full, a sexual harassment policy, safety on the job, and lunch breaks.” Radical stuff! The press release says ACORN employees have filed claims with of Unfair Labor Practices in Philadelphia, Dallas and Seattle. And they say that striking workers were all fired and replaced. One ACORN affiliate, the Missouri Wages Campaign, told employees they are responsible for “working up to 80 hours over 7 days” or more than double normal working hours. Rathke’s multi-million dollar organization can afford to pay more. Perhaps the do-gooders in the Chicago City Council should pass an ACORN law requiring ACORN affiliates only to py $10 per hour plus $3 in benefits per hour and require them to respect current labour laws regarding work hours..But don’t expect the Left to rush out and lobby for the legislation.