Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Freedom as Defined by Liberals

 I have run into moderation issues over there again, so I'll expand over here.
"Reagan Tax Cuts: We've seen a lot of comments about the Reagan tax cuts but one thing that's been overlooked is the over-all tax increases that resulted. The Fed rate bounced around but much of that revenue demand just got pushed out to state and local governments. We saw the same thing with the Pawlenty cuts where property taxes and local fees increased in response to ALG cuts. In the 80s the same thing happened on a national level when the Fed cut tax rates. This is why the cost of government never really goes down with these magic tax cuts, in fact it actually went up in many cases. Republicans like to pretend that they get more efficiency with tax cuts but all they really do is cut services, then someone else picks up the tab, they don't really reduce over-all cost.

It's really just math. If you have 50,000 people in your city, and your getting $1 million in state aid, that money is costing you 25 cents (1 million divided by 4 million people in the state). If you eliminate that state aid and have to raise a million in your city it will cost you $40. The state can brag that they've cut $1 million from the budget but that budget cut cost you $39.75. This is the problem with magic tax cuts. Depending on what level of government services get cut, they can end up increasing the cost of government for individuals." Paul

"Local is Better: Thank heavens for National and State spending cuts, when and if they actually occur. The closer the collect and spend decisions are to the citizen / tax payer, the better it is for all of us.

Now I agree that national defense, inter state rules/commerce, post office, etc belong at the national level. And I can even agree that SS/Medicare belong there since the benefits are delayed and a citizens often cross state lines.

However the idea that the Feds are involved in welfare, medicaid, etc is just wasteful. It seems to indicate that states are not capable of deciding how to best help their friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, etc." G2A

"Your third paragraph is absolutely correct: A number of states have decided NOT to help their fellow citizens (I assume they don't regard all citizens as their friends).

And of course Federal agencies such as the VA and Medicaid are far more efficient than most state agencies, so I don't see where the waste is in having the Federal government provide for "the general welfare". That's what the Constitution says it should do." Paul

"Wasteful?: Hardly. As it's been pointed out to you numerous times here, the Feds involvement in welfare, medicaid and other safety nets is crucial in maintaining continuity for those seeking help. Republican majority houses at the state level have already proven that they have virtually no capacity for empathy and no interest in helping anyone they deem unfit or unworthy. It would be tragic to those seeking help if people like you were making those types of decisions." Jason
"Jason and Paul, Per your comments, apparently you believe Minnesotans know "how to help" people that are thousands of miles away better than those citizens that live in that community?" G2A
Now Liberals continually say that they support freedom of choice.  Freedom to marry who one wants.  Freedom to abort a fetus. Freedom to form an employee union and blockade an employer until they meet terms. Freedom to work where your beliefs are not appreciated. And all other kinds of social freedoms.  And I am fine with most of these.

Yet Liberals apparently believe in denying the citizens of a state the simple freedom to choose how they care for their friends, neighbors and country persons.  Apparently the Liberals know how to help the poor folks in other states better than the residents do.  Or at least according to Paul and Jason.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Problem with Keynesian Theory in Practice

Laurie knows me so well after these years of discussion, she knew I could not pass on 
MinnPost 3 Economic Stats.

Eric Posted a comment that I found interesting:
"The deficit was not the problem. The problem with focusing on the deficit it implies the deficit was a problem. It wasn't and isn't. The deficit is a symptom. Our problem was a recession, a financial crisis, a stimulus that was too small and too much directed to tax cuts, and then years of austerity when we needed the opposite. There's no reason at all the recovery needed to take this long. We learned hard lessons during the Great Depression, and then when it happened again, we ignored everything we learned. I guess the overwhelming evidence of history just didn't feel right."
So I replied with:
"Turn off the tap. I always liked this explanation. And "austerity", you must be kidding. Read the link.
Factcheck Obamas Spending Inferno or Not

And I can even understand turning up government spending temporarily while in the recession. The problem is that Democrats seem to always see that higher level as the new baseline, so they call any efforts to get back to a normal rate of expenditure a draconian heartless cut by the GOP. When those increases were to be temporary in the first place.

Remember all the gnashing of teeth when the GOP held firm on not increasing spending after the worst of the recession was over.

And if Obama was a real deficit hawk he would have pushed for un doing all of those "terrible Bush tax cuts". Instead he just stuck it to the well to do. That is one way in which I disagree with Conservatives. If higher taxes were good for them, we probably all should have gone back to those Clinton rates and eliminated the deficit."
As I said, I can imagine a situation where the government increases it's spending during times where the Private economy is slow. Preferably the Government would be carrying very little debt before the event, therefore it could borrow instead of raising taxes to increase Public spending through the recession. Then when the Private sector was booming again the Public sector would reduce it's spending and use the extra revenues to pay back the debt in preparation for the next recession.

The problem with this ideal situation is that Liberals always see the highest level of Public spending as the new bench mark. And any attempt to go back to the normal spending levels is called a cut. I mean Bush and Obama increased spending by a huge amount in response to the recession as they should, however now that it is time to go to back to normal spending, people are resistant.

And then in MN when the GOP did borrow when revenues were low, the Liberals thought it was absolutely terrible to make the departments and districts do this, even though they legally could.  They called it short term budget solutions, like that was a bad thing.

The recession was a short term situation to be survived.

So what did the DFL do when they got control, they jacked up taxes even though the state was pretty much out of the recession.  Thereby generating way more tax revenue than was required.  Which they promptly used to set a new all time high bench mark for MN government spending.

I may actually become a Keynesian if citizens actually came to understand that government budgets can go down as well as up without the world coming to an end.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Options in Iraq

Here is a pragmatic view from some ladies who were CIA Analysts.
CNN Options in Iraq

It reminds me of the old saying... "You can lead a horse to water, but you can not make it drink."  Or another similar concept... "You can give trillions of dollars and a free education to unambitious Americans, but you can not make them learn, strive or succeed."


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MN DFL Over Reach?

Another dialog track from the Minnpost article was regarding how the DFL's last 19 months of changes may have made the Conservatives feel.
"If the pendulum swings back, I am sure the GOP will not oppress the DFL in the same way.
DFL ignoring Conservative Minnesotans:
  • legalized gay marriage
  • setup ACA insurance exchange
  • raised taxes on wealthy and businesses/consumers
  • increased spending significantly
  • passed HUGE bonding bill to be paid back by our kids
  • try to unionize daycare providers
  • passed Vikings stadium
  • anti-bullying law
  • minimum wage increase
  • tax cuts to those who pay little in taxes
I am think they are feeling a bit ignored and oppressed."
 I mean the DFL pretty much disregarded the concerns of the Conservative citizens of MN and did as they wished.  It will be interesting to see if there are repercussions in November.


Good For MN

I am having a lively discussion with quite a few Liberals at this post.
MinnPost GOP Candidates Say MN Should be more like WI and KS

Their story goes something like this.
  • Minnesota is doing much better than WI and KS in many different areas
  • The DFL is in charge of MN at this time
  • Therefore it is foolish for GOP candidates to recommend  Conservative policies
To which I of course do not understand, so I raised the following points.
"If things were bad here, then change would have made sense. Yet as the writer says, everything was great. Yet the DFL and Dayton chose to change the winning formula. Only time will tell what the consequences of their actions are." G2A

"So if Ventura, Pawlenty and the GOP were doing such a good job over the past ~15 years, why again did Dayton and the DFL start "taxing and spending" more just last year. Are they trying to ruin a good thing? " G2A

Do you truly believe that the changes Dayton and the DFL made  less than 15 mths ago account for all this good news? What is your rationale for giving credit to the DFL when the GOP was in control for more than a decade before this recent change? G2A
Eric had a better response than the others, though it raised interesting questions and dialog.
"We need a more intelligent political discussion than is being offered by the GOP.

Our public political discourse has been degraded in a number of ways, but especially, in my view anyway, by the mantra of ‘limited government’ and ‘deregulation’—language that is routinely substituted for more considered and substantive thinking.

I’m certainly not alone in viewing regulation and tax policy as instruments, not ends in themselves, but I strongly suspect that this equation has been reversed by many on the right or is at least muddled. Tax cuts are often offered, for example, with little to no discussion of or acknowledgement of wider systemic effects, or what other values might be negatively affected. Thus, I’m motivated to refer discussions back to questions of ends.

Second, whenever you look at state comparisons of well-being, MN usually comes out on top of WI and KS. Here’s another one: America Health Rankings : MN ranks 1, WI comes in at 10, and KS at 17.

What explains MN’s superior performance? Whatever our analysis, since MN hasn’t been a state in which we’ve had much interest in hard-right experiments, the GOP candidates have an added burden of proof." Eric

"Since Carlson, Ventura and Pawlenty have led the State to most of our success, I do not think we have been a State of Hard Left Experiments either.

Yet here we are actively conducting them. What burden of proof should Dayton and the DFL provide to justify these Expensive Hard Left Experiments that they have single handedly started?

As you say, the burden of proof should rest on those who are proposing or making the drastic change from what has been succeeding. I hope these Hard Left Keynsian experiments turn out okay and hopefully we return to consensus decision making in January." G2A

"In standard American political discourse, 'hard left' is a phrase reserved for pretty much socialism and anarchism. There's nothing remotely approaching that with Dayton or the DFL. (And no, Obama isn't a socialist, Marxist, fascist, or communist.)" Eric

"I am sorry I find it hard to see the difference between the views of many of the commenters here and the DSA. Thoughts? ABOUT DSA

And I don't see Carlson, Ventura and Pawlenty as pure Capitalists either. Yet it did not stop you from referring to their beliefs / actions and those of the GOP candidates as as "hard-right experiments".

The reality is that the 2 candidates for governor will likely be a bit Left or Right of center. And the Liberals will call the GOP candidate "Hard Right" and the Conservatives will call Dayton "Hard Left".

That is just the way the game is played. Remember that when you are sitting in the far Left of the theater, it looks like everyone is to the far Right of you and vice versa." G2A

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Israel, Palestine and Collusion

As Laurie posted:
"The Israel-Gaza conflict, since it began, has killed 1,170 people. Of those, a shocking 815 are thought to be Palestinian civilians, and 232 of those children. That means that about 7 out of 10 total deaths are innocent Palestinian civilians, and 2 out of 10 innocent Palestinian children"
1500 join Minnesota march in solidarity with Gaza

Here is likely a more accurate and less biased assessment.  Especially since it says there is a lot of uncertainty in the numbers.
NYT Civilian or Not
Remember that many Palestinians have been indoctrinated to want to fight the Israelis whenever possible, this unfortunately includes women and children.

And for more info, they have been discussing the topic here.
MinnPost What Netanyahu should do to Bring Peace

I liked Paul's summary best:
Both sides of extremists agree that the lines are the Jordan and the Mediterranean.
They disagree on who gets the land between the lines.
There's an interesting proposal at  Jewish News: Parallel Lives
suggesting (and improbably) way that BOTH sides could own all of the land.

And some past thoughts regarding one of my favorite books that uses the Israel / Palestinian conflict as a teaching resource.
G2A Conflict and Collusion
G2A Break the Cycle
G2A Conflict with Heart

Thoughts on this incredibly difficult situation.

Minimum Wage Surcharge

Since I have noticed that my lunch costs seem to have recently taken a jump, I thought this Still Water Business Owner had an excellent idea.  Let's explain how politics are increasing our cost of living.

HP Minimum Wage Surcharge
Yahoo Minimum Wage Surcharge

By the way, if you are against the higher minimum wage you may want to go eat there or write some positive recommendations.  It sounds like those open minded Liberals are trying to crucify them for making the cost of this policy known.

And a quick search showed that they are not alone.
KOMO News Surcharge


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Iraq and the Arm Chair Quarterbacks

We had an interesting discussion regarding spending and waste on G2A Immigration: Spend Here, Not Their.  In summary, Laurie was against the 2003 invasion and believes the money could have been used more effectively to help people.
"When It comes to helping others around the globe, perhaps the $1 trillion could have been spent more wisely. That works out to an average of $100 billion a yr, which would be a sizable boost to the $4 billion we currently spend. Maybe we could have ended extreme global poverty by now. " Laurie

And Sean thinks other better options existed and we were unprepared:
"The false assumption here is that the choice was either a.) invade Iraq exactly the way Bush did it or b.) continue doing what we were doing before. There were multiple other paths we could have taken that were not a.) or b.).

For instance, we could have expanded the no-fly zone and continued to ratchet up the economic sanctions (yes, they were losing some of their effectiveness, but still...). If we invaded, we could have had a coherent plan built in advance for the occupation and rebuilding of the Iraqi government.

Instead, going down path a.) accomplished very little of what our goals were presumed to be. Iraq had no operational WMD capability. We didn't build a society that treats women and minorities better. Thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have died and hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. We didn't build a stable government that serves as a counterweight to terrorists or Iran. And we wasted lots of money and lost many brave soldiers." Sean

 "the point is that when you take the lid off of simmering ethnic and cultural tensions, you had best be prepared for the aftereffects. We weren't remotely prepared for it, our top policymakers were delusional. " Sean
Now to set a fact based timeline, please reference BBC Iraq.  Some key dates for our discussion:
  • 1990     Iraq invades Kuwait, an American ally
  • 1991/2  No fly zones set up and enforced
  • 10+ years of enforcement, inspections, politics
  • 2003 March US gives Saddam and Sons 48 hours to leave Iraq
  • 2003 US led invasion topples Hussein's government
  • ~8 years of enforcement, training, elections, insurgency, sectarian violence
  • 2011  US Troops are pulled out of Iraq
  • 2+ years of insurgency, sectarian violence, corruption, etc
  • 2014  ISIS begins taking cities and executing non-believers
By the way, I don't disagree that it could have gone better.  I am just not sure what I would have changed.  We had Saddam and his army contained. Other countries, especially the Islamic, were getting tired of being prison guards and/or letting the US have a base full of infidels on their property.  I suppose:
  • we could have pulled out and let Saddam go free to kill the Shiites and Kurds that had been trying to help us.
  • we could have tried maintaining the No Fly Zones from further away, but for how long?  We are going on 60 years in Korea. Did we have the stomach for that?
  • other?
So Bush tried to have faith in the people of Iraq, he wanted to believe that they weren't animals.  He wanted to believe they would seize the opportunity to live a peaceful democratic existence once they were freed of a ruthless dictator. Unfortunately he was wrong, as soon as the zoo's cages were opened the predators began doing what they do. (ie hunting, killing, maiming, striving for power, striving for revenge, etc)  And the prey just didn't have the desire, numbers or capability to control the predators.

Now Bush's hopeful view may have been na├»ve given the warring history of the people in that region, however I think he was right to give them the benefit of the doubt.  It would have been incredible if Iraq could have become a stable democracy of enlightened people in the midst of those non-democratic countries.

So what do you think should have been done, was it really feasible and why do you think it would have ended better?

And what do you think we should do now?  It looks like Obama is warming up the engines of the war planes?  Is this good or bad?  Rationale?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Immigration: Spend Here, Not There

 My thoughts in response to the call for more funding to help the children amassed on our border.
"I find it interesting that Liberals want to spend money to care for children lined up on the border. Which of course will encourage more children to line up.

Yet they say no to spending money on protecting children in other countries and working to improve their lives there. (ie Afganistan, Iraq, etc)

Maybe they support the "out of sight out of mind" philosophy." G2A
MinnPost Congress and Immigration Pkg

Thoughts regarding the whole situation?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Zygotes and Sprouts

Another comment that can't make it through the MinnPost moderation for some reason.
MinnPost Contraceptive Coverage Controversy

I was getting frustrated with Jason's views:
 "I couldn't care less about this fertilized egg nonsense nor the religious rights scientific ignorance. If they want to place a valid objection based on when a fertilized egg becomes a human or if soul exists, then they should prove both of those theories, otherwise, it holds no more validity than believing a giant bunny visits my house every April and leaves plastic eggs filled with candy for my kids." Jason

and then Todd added in:
"Joking aside, some religious people think that human life begins at conception. This is totally arbitrary on their part though and is not support by scientific literature. That's why we have names for the different stages of development, from embryo to zygote, fetus, and so on. A baby isn't actually a bay until it's born. An embryo has the *potential* to become a human, but that doesn't happen till later in the process.

If we're tackling humans from the potential point of view, then an unfertilized egg has the same potential as a fertilized egg. Not only eggs, but sperm too." Todd

So then this occurred to me.
"Just back from Guardians of the Galaxy, it was very good if you like comic book movies. One of the characters was a plant based life form named Groot.

That got me thinking... Is a plant alive once it starts to sprout?
If one chooses not to water it, is one choosing to kill it"?
If one chooses to dig it up and set it on the hot asphalt is one choosing to kill it? 

By the way, I just sprayed a bunch of weeds with Round Up to kill them and it didn't bother me at all.

And some I pulled and left on the hot rocks in order to kill them.

Thoughts?" G2A
And yes I acknowledge that Roe V Wade compromised between the 2 extremes and created the concept of viability, which makes some sense.  What I find fascinating is that some pro-choice folks want to treat those growing cells with the same importance as a wart that someone has growing on their finger.  I always have to wonder if they do this to protect themselves from the reality that what they are choosing to kill could develop into a beautiful laughing and vibrant child.

I mean when I choose to kill a small seedling that sprouted in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I do envision the beautiful maple tree it could grow into, just like the others I have in my yard.  I don't need to rationalize that it is just a wart in my yard before killing it.  And yes I am choosing to kill that tree.  After I am done spraying it or pulling it, it stops growing and ceases to live.  It will never develop into the majestic tree that it could have been.

By the way, usually it is the male commenters that work to marginalize the death that is occurring when a zygote, etc is starved or dehydrated and its growth/ life ceases.  The women usually stick to defending their right to choose, so maybe they understand better the magnitude of the decision.


Tree Life Cycle
Human Life Cycle

Thursday, July 31, 2014

MN GOP Governor Candidates

I know almost nothing about the candidates, and I have little interest until there is only 1.  However I am interested to hear your thoughts.

MinnPost Style Wars
WIKI MN Gov Race
Politics in MN
Huff Post GOP Candidates
MinnPost Strengths and Weaknesses
MPR GOP Contenders

Of course they will likely have a hard time beating a sitting DFL Governor in Minnesota, but where there is life there is hope.  It will be interesting to see what the deciding issues will be.  The other question will be is there a third party candidate who takes enough votes to sway the decision?


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pro Life Politcs in Mississippi

Just a reminder: I am against abortions and for giving the mother (parents) the right to choose one if they feel strongly that it is the correct choice.  (at least through the first trimester)

So I am actually happy to see that the courts have stymied the Pro Life community's efforts to skirt Roe v Wade.  US Appeals Court Blocks Mississippi  Abortion Law


G2A Abortion and Conservatives
G2A Abortion and Fascism
G2A Crime and Abortion
G2A Abortion vs Neglect
G2A Pro Choice Rationale or Rationalization

Family Money and Values Matter

I posted a couple comments at MinnPost McFadden On Raising Age for Medicare Benefits and they led to some interesting responses.  Then the usual happened...  My response was moderated... So here we go again.

So is this group advocating that we replace social security and medicare with welfare for the elderly?

I have seen multiple comments that recommend we maintain or cut benefits for the well to do and increase the amount they pay for these benefits.

Why don't we totally eliminate payroll taxes altogether, eliminate medicare, eliminate social security and care for our elderly via Medicaid and welfare?

It would eliminate similar agencies and ensure that the savers/investors pay and the unfortunate/unwise receive." G2A

A couple of people mentioned that we should encourage earlier enrollment to take advantage of receiving premiums from younger/healthier people. I think most of the premiums are paid via the payroll tax. If this is the case, the earlier people "retire" the earlier they stop paying premiums (ie FICA) and start taking money out of the trust fund." G2A

"Your ignorance of how Medicare works (and I presume your ignorance also of how Social Security works) is appalling.

Medicare beneficiaries pay monthly premiums. In addition to all the Medicare tax they paid during their active working years.

Medicare is partially means-based: If you have a healthy, beyond-Social Security retirement income, your Medicare premium goes up. It doesn't take much income for that to happen. The whole system is geared to providing all retirees with basic health care, and with a basic income

That income is also means-based: Higher-wage workers receive higher Social Security benefits per month and per year. However, if you have any retirement income beyond Social Security, which most higher-wage workers do, you pay taxes on your Social Security benefits, with those taxes going right back into the SS trust fund.

To advocate eliminating carefully-drawn plans like Medicare and Social Security in favor of charity-based insecurity in retirement is to deny social safety nets as a concept. I can think of nothing more selfish." Connie

"Hi Connie,
So apparently you support the current use of means based testing to reduce the benefits received and increase the taxes paid for those who paid the most into the programs?

Do you also support removing the cap like the rest of these commenters seem to? Thereby increasing the amount paid by those who pay the most already?

By the way, I never said "charity based"...

Now think of the benefits:
- Low income people wouldn't have to pay those high tax rates. (ie payroll taxes)
- It would be perfectly means based, no one with significant savings would get a penny from the system.
- People would need to spend their wealth before receiving benefits. Less need to worry about that pesky inheritance tax." G2A

"Ah, yes, the 'pesky inheritance tax.'  The estate tax only applies to deceased individuals with an estate of 5.3 million, or couples with an estate of over 10 million in worth. 99.8 percent of American households don't pay any estate tax. The estate tax is supposed to exist so that America isn't saddled with a worthless caste of landed aristocrats." Jonathan

Do you support people spending their money waste fully?
Or do you support people saving and investing?

Why would people save invest and create jobs just to give it to the government at their end of days? Would the death tax encourage you to work hard, save, invest, etc.

Just curious." G2A

" Why would they care what happened to their money after they're dead? It's not as if their heirs will be sleeping under bridges with an estate of "only" $4 million.

By the way, very few people with that kind of wealth got it merely by "working hard." If hard work were the only road to wealth, then hotel maids and migrant farm workers would be the richest people in America. Some won the parental lottery--the Waltons and the Kochs and Mitt Romney, for example--while others just happened to get support from the right people at the right time or started out merely affluent and clawed their way to the top through cheating, bribery, treating their employees like slaves, driving all their competitors out of business, etc." Karen
"I support the Estate tax.

Q: "Do you support people spending their money waste fully?
Or do you support people saving and investing?"

A: I support the estate tax. People can choose to spend or save the rest of their money as they see fit.

Q: "Why would people save invest and create jobs just to give it to the government at their end of days?"

You seem to be operating under the incorrect assumption that there is some magical machine that you put money in the top of, and out of the bottom come jobs. The idea that you just' invest money and make jobs' is provably false. I guess by that logic, Stuart Mills is a great job creator, But to answer your loaded question, I would imagine that people invest and save in order to spend money on things they need and want... like most humans do. When they die, they don't really need it anymore. I guess that if you are motivated to not work hard because you won't get to keep your money when you are dead, then you have some other issues you need to work through.

Again, 99.8 percent of American households pay no estate tax... I number I quoted because you labeled the estate tax as 'pesky,' when it only affects .02 percent of the population. Something that only affects super-rich dead people doesn't qualify as pesky in my book.

Long story short, the estate tax would have zero effect on my fiscal and work habits were my wife and I worth over 10 million bucks.

Or do you believe that "he who dies with the most toys wins?" Just curious." Jonathan
 Now my response should be familiar to my readers.  And I sure don't think it is any worse than Karen's comment that says people with money "started out merely affluent and clawed their way to the top through cheating, bribery, treating their employees like slaves, driving all their competitors out of business, etc"  Yet the Moderator chose differently.

So my comment went something like this...

Family money and values matter, it is the way in which I have been taught to show my respect for my ancestors who worked hard, saved hard and invested wisely.  For generations the parents in my extended family have helped their kids get a start, and have worked to grow the family's wealth.  During which they modeled learning, continuous improvement, working, saving, charity and investing.  Personally I think these are good values that more American citizens should adopt.

Now my Parents have been married for 51 years, they don't smoke, don't take glamorous vacations, don't gamble much, only had 3 children, they saved, they invested and consistently gave to charities.  Yet for some reason Jonathan and Karen seem to think our family's wealth should be forfeit upon their passing.

This I will never understand. Do we want to encourage the making of poor financial decisions by taking from the savers / investors and giving to those who enjoyed/ spent?  I mean it is hard to get ahead when you are dragging some of these anchors: divorced, single head of household, low education, unambitious, gambling, smoking, drinking, drugs, lavish travel, new cars often, etc.

Now I understand that some folks truly have bad luck, and we need to help them out.  Unfortunately I think some Liberals want to help out everyone who is poor whether it was bad luck, poor decisions or laziness.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chick-a-Fil: Hiring the Christian Way

A reader emailed me this link and it is rather fascinating.  It describes the Chick-fil-A hiring process for franchisee operators. No wonder they have been sued multiple times.

LinkedIn: How Chick-fil-A Hires

It seems they have very discriminating tastes.
"Cathy told the magazine he is looking for married candidates (he believes they are more industrious) who are loyal, wholesome and treat their families well."
“If a man can’t manage his own life, he can’t manage a business,” Cathy said, according to Forbes. 
They make a lot of sense to me.  Thoughts?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Liberals Want Education to Fail?

I tried to reply at MinnPost, however I apparently ran afoul of the mediator again...  My comment went something  like the statements that follow these interesting perspectives from Paul and Matt.
Now you are in my world of expertise. Natural variability and surprises occur in all aspects of design, manufacture and test. The most successful companies and employees are those that manage it most effectively. I am amused by the idea that Apple controls Google Motorola and Samsung. If they do, they are doing a poor job.

As for indifference, it seems to me that many of the commenters here want to double down on a system that has left millions and millions of children behind.

Many Superintendents, Administrators and Teachers get buy outs to make them go away. The current system has delivered millions of adults who are not academically capable enough to get a good paying job. I think a change is worth the risk.

Nobody demands that the education system "teach to the test", but the students had better be able to answer the questions on the test if they want to go to college, a good technical college or get a high paying job." G2A

"You need to decouple your mind from the notion that the only purpose of education is to A. Provide the business community with skilled labor and B. Provide the means for individuals to accumulate wealth. Now to be clear, those are both ancillary effects of a strong education system,
but they cannot be its focus. Education is what provides us civilization itself. It is a base level necessity lest we descend into dystopian savagery. You see into quantify, to commoditze knowledge and wisdom to parcel it out in the smallest, cheapest possible form necessary to satisfy your narrow needs. In so doing you by necessity homogenize and standardize as much as you can, as is dictated by the god of efficiency so many of you technocratic conservatives worship. Unfortunately, that isn't how learning works, it requires many differing approaches across the wide spectrum of students, from a wide spectrum of educators. In practical terms this means expense, more teachers, more materials, more schools to achieve smaller classrooms, more individualized learning, more technology, more everything. To which, the answer from your side has always been, and will always be, NO! Far from indifferent, I am simply actively opposed to all the solutions you propose, as I see no good faith from your side that your end goals are anything but self serving. You want my solution? Compulsory, taxpayer funded education pre-k through a bachelor's or technical equivalent (with those equivalents requiring a certain proportion of non-technical for lack of a better term "liberal arts" based coursework, the civilization stuff J mentioned earlier) Come up with the money however you like. Make a degree or equivalent or progress toward one a feature of every prison sentence handed out. Make business pay for the retraining of every employee they lay off without cause. In short, make a good education the baseline expectation for every citizen and put forth the resources to do so. You can quibble all you like about the price, tell me how throwing money at the problem won't work, what have you. The biggest portion of the change I seek is the transition of thought from believing education is a NICs thing to have if you can afford it, to thinking orbit as a baseline necessity, like air, food, water, shelter, and treating it accordingly. From asking "why should we spend so much money on educating our kids?" to "how could we ever think to spend LESS to educate our kids?" Matt
 "I am not sure what is self serving about demanding that every child has the knowledge and capabilities to earn a middle class or better living in our modern competitive world. I am thinking reading, writing, math and basic science capabilities would be an acceptable minimum standard. The challenge is that we spend a great deal of money on education in the US and have many many students who can not even meet this minimal threshold.

How would you know the education system was successful in your version?

Or does society just give unlimited funds to the system and trust them when they say it is excellent?

Remember that we have done that for decades and the academic achivement gap still is huge." G2A

"I don't care if ones education leads to employment, middle class or otherwise. As eleoquently stated by Mr. Udstrand below, education is not a commodity to be sold for a return. My standard for success would be functioning citizens, capable of engaging in the day to day business of society, capable of playing an active role in their own governance, capable of resisting persuasion from any number of interests whose goals do not align with their own. The ends you strive for, a skilled workforce for the minimum input cost possible, addresses none of this. Malleable corporate drones might make for a useful business investment, but also a disastrous society." Matt

"A lot of conservatives really don't understand the fundamental purpose of education, and that's why it was a huge mistake to consider their agenda. First we abandoned innovation in the public schools because conservatives demanded that we get "back to basics". Then we developed amnesia regarding the aforementioned innovations and decided that entrepreneurs were the only people on the planet who could possible save our educational system.... with charter schools and vouchers. Standardized tests are the legacy of the back to basics movement, and most people now agree that No Child Left Behind program that made those tests a central feature is a dud. The result is that we've made almost no progress and in many ways rolled backwards over the last three decades. It shouldn't surprise anyone because on a very basic level a lot of powerful conservatives never really believed in public education in the first place. Historically they've been fighting it one way or another since the time of Thomas Jefferson.

What many conservatives don't get, is that education is about developing good intellects, teaching people how to think, not WHAT to think. A good education system trains people how to think, not what to believe. You pick up diplomas and degrees along the way, and you can specialize in later stages of education, but the degree is product of intellect, not merely ticket to affluence.

The problem is we've moved away from a model of an education system that produces good intellects into a market based education system that sees degrees as tickets to affluence. We have a degree "market" that sells education. The result is that we graduate more and more people who have degrees... and poor intellects. I had a friend who used to say we were becoming a nation of people who were increasingly "degreed" but not educated. You can see that in the recent polls that have found that Americans who are ignorant about a variety of issues are NOT uneducated in the sense that they've graduated high school and gotten more advanced degrees. They've gotten the degrees they need to enter the job market, but they don't have the intellect to sort out or recognize reliable information and evidence.

And of course the chamber of commerce always supports the wrong approach to education :)" Paul

"So your answer is send the education system more money and trust that they will take care of things.

And send more checks to the adults who are unable to get jobs, because the education system failed them.

Interesting concept... Now I understand why the war on poverty is failing." G2A
Based on Matt and Paul's comments, I am beginning to believe that Liberals truly aren't interested in helping all children escape poverty by ensuring that they learn skills and knowledge that will help them attain a middle class or better life. Maybe the Conservatives are correct that Liberals truly want to keep them poor and voting Democrat.

I certainly hope not.  Thoughts?

Ps. As you know, I enjoy philosophy, psychology, critical thinking, creative thinking, team work, communication and many other areas as much as most other people.  However these need to be in addition to a basic knowledge of math, english and science, not instead of them...