Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PUTTING OUT MORE STATIST FIRES.

In 2012 Virginia Postrel wrote an item called "Case Against More Job Security? It’s Academic." In a poll she'd seen, 86 percent of respondents had said that to be middle class, one had to "have 'a secure job,'" noted Postrel. "Not 'steady work' or 'a reliable income' but 'a secure job.'" As a libertarian (or rather a futurist, which basically means a libertarian who gets published in consumer magazines), Postrel found this ridic:
It seems to exclude from the middle class everyone who doesn’t draw a regular paycheck from a single organization -- the self-employed (about 11 percent of the workforce), the retired, housewives, students -- as well as employees on limited-term contracts. As a self-employed writer who doesn’t have “a job,” let alone a secure one, I found the word choice striking.
Don't these littlebrains know this is Freelance Nation, where freedom rules and it's "fire 'em all, let Galt sort 'em out"? Postrel worried that policy makers might "decide to follow the polls and try to guarantee everyone 'a secure job' in order to promote the middle class... regulations, for example, to make it harder to fire long-term employees."

You can see why this would be horrible, and if you can't, Postrel explained, one sector of American life was already doing this with imperfect results. She didn't use the example of unionized jobs -- perhaps because people had already heard enough libertarian rants on unions that it wasn't working anymore -- but chose instead academia, which libertarians (and conservatives who don't bother to call themselves libertarians) had already been trained to hate (she even called it "the professoriate" to make it sound extra Marxy. Ah, those Romney-ready days of '12!). Fewer than a third of professors got tenure and the perks that go with, she reported, while the rest got shit and sometimes had to work other jobs, creating a "two-tiered system that depends heavily on people whose main jobs are doing something else." Not like capitalism at all! And that "is what you get when you guarantee permanent employment but need flexibility as conditions change."

So the moral of the story was: Things suck but whatever you do don't try and make it better with worker protections.

This week Postrel offers another post on a similar subject. Since we are now in the age of conservatarian reform and the brethren are obliged to affect solicitude for the peons, it is not called "Case Against Job Security Part II," but "Why Being a Part-Time Worker Is Miserable." Bosses are apparently scheduling people who don't "draw a regular paycheck from a single organization" -- people like Postrel, except much poorer -- in such a way as to maximize profits but minimize the workers' ability to schedule other jobs, leading to inescapable poverty. (As what I can only imagine is a private joke, Postrel brings in Megan McArdle to help her weep over this.)

Again, this, too, is nothing like capitalism. And guess what Postrel's main concern is:
....employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours. The minimum wage sets a legal floor.
Goddamn Gummint! Her point of comparison this time is the pharmacy: All those lucky pharmacists making a median wage of $58/hr (many of them women!), while "many clerks and cashiers, by contrast, make minimum wage." (Funny, she didn't see this as a problem when she commended the example of lady pharmacists in 2011.) And get this: those clerks' and cashiers' wages "can’t legally go any lower. Even those who make more than the legal minimum often have wages tied to it." So they're caught in a tap where they can't work for quarters and loose cigarettes, and the boss is caught in a trap where he has to use those cruel flex-time schedules -- the market demands it.

So the moral of the story is: Things suck but whatever you don't try and make it better with a higher minimum wage. Go sell a kidney or something.

Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?

186 comments:

  1. I had forgotten how much i hate virginia postrel.

    ReplyDelete
  2. sharculese12:02 PM

    I too want to live in a fantasy world where low-wage laborers can demand tradeoffs from their bosses in exchange for accepting even shittier wages.


    I mean, maybe if we had some sort of system where laborers could band together to leverage their collective value to their employer, but no, we have to ban that because Truly Free Markets.

    ReplyDelete
  3. synykyl12:02 PM

    ... Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again? ...

    Well, they all feast on human blood and have no souls, but vampires are interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Derelict12:02 PM

    I'm surprised she didn't drag in the newest, latest, greatest most fantastic right-wing argument against raising the minimum wage: Companies will just pass along the added expense of min-wage increases! So, you see, if McDonald's is forced to pay $15 per hour, it will increase the price of a Big Mac by 5 cents, thus completely wiping out the wage gain of its employees and hurting everyone else in the process.

    These people are beyond brain damaged.

    ReplyDelete
  5. RogerAiles12:03 PM

    There are no sexy novels featuring the first two.

    ReplyDelete
  6. sharculese12:03 PM

    And that's the one thing you don't want to be in the wingnut welfare industry. Forgettable.


    No wonder she spends so much energy kvetching about employability.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Derelict12:04 PM

    And, of course, there's what would likely happen here in the real world if we got rid of the minimum wage: Employers would pay people less and still jerk around their hours and schedules to prevent them working a second job.

    ReplyDelete
  8. sharculese12:05 PM

    Please. You know Ross Douthat beats it to the awkward shame-sex in Brighton Rock.

    ReplyDelete
  9. PulletSurprise12:14 PM

    Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?


    Libertarians walk around in daylight.

    ReplyDelete
  10. mortimer200012:25 PM

    Yes! I'd much rather work 40 flexible hours at $5.00/hr to earn $200 than $7.25/hr at some rigid and inflexible 28 hour schedule for that amount. I mean, who wouldn't? Think of how much more freedom I'd have! If only my employer were unconstrained by the shackles of minimum wage!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Derelict12:36 PM

    And yet, they're still completely in the dark.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ah yes, another comfy sociopath arguing that life would be much better for the working poor if we'd just get rid of that pesky minimum wage. Then they could work 24 hours a day to barely not be able to meet basic needs and they wouldn't need to waste money on housing!

    I guess we should be glad these perverts stay indoors masturbating into their copy of Atlas Shrugged and sharing their Deep Thoughts. Otherwise they might be out trying to help their fellow man. By throwing anchors to people who are drowning, spraying gasoline on house fires and opening up the femoral arteries of people who've broken their legs.

    p.s. Why is this post not titled Goin' Postrel? I shall complain to the management, you may be sure.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Derelict12:41 PM

    Tell ya what: How about you work 80 flexible hours at $2.50 per hour? No?

    Then here's your real-world deal: 40 hours at $1.25 per hour. No benefits. And YOU pay the entirety of the payroll taxes (no employer share). And you have to buy your uniform. AND I get to charge you for the supplies you use in performing the work.

    Now that, my friend, is freedom writ large. And, of course, nobody who's a real libertarian will EVER be an employee--especially not an employee of another libertarian.

    ReplyDelete
  14. synykyl12:41 PM

    Is there anything Ross Douthat doesn't beat it too?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Derelict12:43 PM

    Goin' Postrel

    Please collect your internets as you have won them for today.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Reese Whitherspoon photos.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "...but chose instead academia, which libertarians (and conservatives who
    don't bother to call themselves libertarians) had already been trained
    to hate (she even called it "the professoriate" to make it sound extra
    Marxy."


    Oh, dear, Virginia... late to the party again. Freelancing has hit academia hard, in the form of "adjunct" professors, which is Galtspeak for "College Classroom Leaders To Whom We Don't Give Contracts Or Benefits Or A Regular Paycheck". What's the matter, Virginia... does Bloomberg News not treat you freelancers well enough?

    ReplyDelete
  18. zencomix12:53 PM

    Before you die, Vampires will eat the kidney you're trying to sell. Conservatives will wait for you to die before eating the kidney you're trying to sell, so they can get the best price. Libertarians won't eat the kidney. They'll dry it and smoke it in Rand Paul's garage on Labor Day Weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It seems to exclude from the middle class everyone who doesn’t draw a
    regular paycheck from a single organization -- the self-employed (about
    11 percent of the workforce), the retired, housewives, students -- as
    well as employees on limited-term contracts.Hey, you know what else seems to exclude most members of those groups from the middle class? Not having enough money.

    ReplyDelete
  20. employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours.If they're running up against the minimum wage floor, then it's also apparently true that employers can't offer higher wages in exchange for the worse hours, for some mysterious reason. The asymmetry there is a real puzzle. Perhaps if Postrel and McArdle put their heads together, again and again, with sufficient force, it would eventually shut them the fuck up.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?



    vampires are sexy.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ah, the new Bad Thing that will happen is computer programs will serve our food.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Only vampires can live long enough to be centuries older than the high school students they date?

    ReplyDelete
  24. dmsilev1:10 PM

    "Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?"


    There are at least some sexy vampires.

    ReplyDelete
  25. That's weird: why haven't all those franchise owners already replaced all their minimum wage workers with iPads and (presumably) industrial robots for actual order assembly? I mean, the argument is valid even at current minimum wage levels, right?


    ... Sorry, guys, I couldn't hear your reply over the sound of my software app eating an entirely virtual hamburger.

    ReplyDelete
  26. A-hem: John Derbyshire.

    ReplyDelete
  27. tigrismus1:14 PM

    One group is made up of narcissistic, sociopathic parasites who believe the mass of humanity is beneath them and exists only to be used. The other is vampires.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wait a second: So some organization decided that the argument that only a low minimum wage is keeping McDonald's from turning each franchise into the Brain Center at Whipple's was such a logical and compelling idea that they spent good money on a billboard?


    Damn, wingnuts have way too much cash. Imagine if they did something useful with it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Poor Virginia, however does she live on her meager freelance wages? And through grinding poverty where does she find the strength of character to remain true to her libertarian values?

    One shouldn’t read too much into her Princeton degree, which to some might hint at a blue-blood life funded by family money nor should one read anything into her husband Steven who is a professor of economics - one assumes that is a paid gig.

    My bet is every night as they wait to drift off into uneasy slumber they hunker down under their 1200 count sheets and pray thusly: “Dear God, please help us find enough change on the street tomorrow to afford a couple dented cans of soup at our local bodega.”

    ReplyDelete
  30. willf1:43 PM

    Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?



    People will actually pay to watch a movie about vampires.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Derelict1:44 PM

    Replying to you and to mds, below: I'd like to think that they've abandoned this argument because of its self-evident flaw: Either someone still has to carry the food from kitchen to table (meaning no personnel reduction is possible), or the restaurant becomes self-serve or buffet-style and gets to kiss the better-paying clientele goodbye.

    But "self-evident" is not an expression with which people like Postrell or McArdle are familiar. Indeed, things that are self-evident to most people (i.e., if you pay people less money, they have less money and are more impoverished) become the springboard for leaps of pretzel logic for people like Postrell and McArdle (If you pay people less money, they will happily trade some of that reduced money for even less control over their lives!).

    ReplyDelete
  32. Derelict1:48 PM

    But if those people had money, they'd just waste it on frivolous crap like rent, food, a mortgage, healthcare, or sending their kids to college. That's why it's much better for them to be poor, because the poor are much better off than any of the Koch brothers.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Derelict1:52 PM

    . . . her husband Steven who is a professor of economics . . .

    Tenured, too, I'd guess. Worrying about job security is for other people--just like Virginia sez.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Derelict1:53 PM

    I can't tell: Is that Ann Althouse or Ann Coulter?

    ReplyDelete
  35. You are right. "Let them hate me, as long as they fear me" also known as "just spell my name right."

    ReplyDelete
  36. Tiny Tim2:04 PM

    Steve's a full time lecturer at a business school. He probably has reasonable expectations of job security, but still failed to grab the golden ring of tenure somewhere. So the resentment.

    ReplyDelete
  37. sophronia2:10 PM

    I keep waiting for the restaurant industry to declare that high-end buffets are the hot new trend (and not coincidentally, save them some major labor costs).. People are already used to that stuff at weddings and fancy office parties, why not take the next step? And then, who's to say they won't try to start a wave of "Cook your own food right in Chef Blahblah's kitchen!" restaurants! (BYO food and service items!)

    ReplyDelete
  38. BigHank532:12 PM

    Indeed, we have real-world evidence to show that even when the minimum wage is reduced to zero, employers still wind up doing things like fucking the help and selling off the resulting children.

    You have to admire the hermetic directionality of the libertarian mind: the only facts that enter are those that support the arguments of libertarianism! Where I come from, that's called "arguing from conclusions", but I guess Postrel and McArdle rely on their editors being even worse at reasoning than they are.

    ReplyDelete
  39. sophronia2:20 PM

    Clearly, it is because the employers are generously providing workers with shitty, underpaid jobs out of the goodness of their hearts, simply because they want to be the most saintly and exalted members of our community these days, the Job Creators. See how much they care! And how do you respond, America? By demanding filthy, evil MONEY. How can you even look at yourselves in the mirror?

    ReplyDelete
  40. BigHank532:21 PM

    Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?

    Vampires, being entirely fictional, haven't killed anyone. Would that the body count from the first two was comparable.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I met a sexy libertarian once.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ellis_Weiner2:40 PM

    Plus, vampires have a moral sense.

    ReplyDelete
  43. And the $15 minimum wage is being phased in over several years, so unless the Randians take over, everyone's wages should be able to absorb that 5 cent hit.

    ReplyDelete
  44. "Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?"



    Vampires don't expect you to thank them.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Don't these littlebrains know this is Freelance Nation


    Freelancers, temp workers, interns, whatever you have to label an employee to not be legally required to give them any benefits, protections, or decent pay/hours.

    ReplyDelete
  46. [OMG, I'm going to feel really bad about this.]

    They did do something useful, see?

    ReplyDelete
  47. redoubtagain3:04 PM

    Well, he needs to seize the weapon of Galtian manhood and go start his own school.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Involuntary Immigrant Non-remunerative Jobs Placement Initiative.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Derelict3:10 PM

    You're forgetting that the new mission of colleges and universities is to get smart kids to pay exorbitant tuition so the administrators become wealthy. The only real education on offer is incidental (and too often in the form of "If you don't know who the sucker is . . .")

    ReplyDelete
  50. Just what the world is clamoring for...

    ReplyDelete
  51. Frickin frackin Disqus. Guest est moi.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Bizarro Mike3:18 PM

    But who will revise the vision statement? You need to think this through.

    ReplyDelete
  53. synykyl3:21 PM

    Yes. And vampires are fictional, which unfortunately is not true of libertarians or conservatives ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  54. A 200-story University Of The Sky sheathed in Rearden Metal, powered by perpetual engines!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Duncan3:34 PM

    That, presumably, is why the numbers, both absolute and relative, of university administrators has gone up in the past several decades much faster than the numbers of faculty.* How many of those admins are adjunct, working for $4000 a semester without benefits, I hear you ask? Silly you. You can't get good people if you don't offer competitive compensation.


    *Or other support staff. When my university's food service was restructured in the mid-90s and hundreds of workers were downsized, there was a proud announcement that a new clerical worker had been added at the central office. Comparable downsizing did not happen at the white-collar level. The admin who handled the restructuring had to be let go after a year because of his incompetence, but he still got his $200K/year pay. Cooks and dishwashers who were let go, needless to say, got no such indulgence.

    ReplyDelete
  56. My hands are tied! I either have to treat you like shit or pay you shit. There are no other choices.

    ReplyDelete
  57. BigHank533:42 PM

    If I've told you once, I've told you a dozen times: that was a librarian. With a stutter.

    ReplyDelete
  58. They've been spending their the money their beneficent job givers loaned them on mirrors? Disgusting wastrels! And vain as well!

    ReplyDelete
  59. swkellogg3:46 PM

    The truest freedom will be realized with the return of scrip and the company store.

    ReplyDelete
  60. PersonaAuGratin3:47 PM

    And the decency not to come out in daylight.

    ReplyDelete
  61. ColBatGuano3:47 PM

    You mean the University of Phoenix?

    ReplyDelete
  62. Vampires sparkle, libertarians glisten with a snake-oil sheen, and conservatives have a matte-orange finish resulting from all that Cheeto dust.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Derelict4:11 PM

    I used to work at a TV station on 42nd Street in Manhattan--right up the street from Woolworth's and the Horn & Hardart Automat. The Automat was a real wonder to explore, but I wouldn't have eaten anything there on a bet. (Especially with so much fantastic food on offer in that area of Manhattan.)

    ReplyDelete
  64. mortimer20004:12 PM

    Gee, Virginia, maybe the reason 86% of respondents didn't answer "a steady job" or "a reliable income" is because those weren't choices in the survey question they were asked.
    Which of the following do you think Americans need to be considered as part of the middle class?
    a. To own a home
    b. A secure job
    c. A college education
    d. Stocks, bonds or other investments
    e. Health insurance

    But you have to appreciate her dishonesty in inventing answers just to make a point. She might as well have written A whopping 86 percent said you have to have “a secure job.” Not “a great CD collection” or “frequent oral sex” but “a secure job.”

    ReplyDelete
  65. HORN & HARDART?? Sounds a bit rude!

    Automat machines make me think of hospitals. Hospitals don't whet my appetite.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Derelict4:17 PM

    There is a third choice here: Treat the worker like shit AND pay the worker shit. It's all the rage now!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Vampires are make-believe.
    Libercons make shit up.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Waffle_Man4:25 PM

    So, the idea is, if you get paid less than minimum wage, your boss would schedule you so that you could go to your second and third sub-minimum wage jobs?

    Hmm...

    It seems you might equally ask why, if labor supply outstrips labor demand, companies wouldn't just pay less and demand the exact same scheduling flexibility from their employers that they demand now.


    Or you might ask, if people now need to work 2 or 3 minimum wage jobs to make ends meet, might it be the case that they'd need 4 or 5 sub minimum wage jobs to do the same?

    There's a sort of optimistic logic in some conservative thinking where getting rid of something mediocre will always result in a better idea coming in to replace it.

    I've been thinking a lot lately about what Paul Ryan's story about school lunches from a few months back:

    “The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy, Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”



    His basic point is that it's better to get your lunch from somebody who loves you and cares about you personally than it is to get slop from a bureaucrat who serves 900 children and has no idea who you are.


    Now, that's hard to argue, but his conclusion was then, "So if we get rid of school lunches, parents will have to step in to fill the gap!" which is not quite as obviously true.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Yes! No humans involved at all. Nothing but robots back behind those glass doors.

    ReplyDelete
  70. BigHank534:28 PM

    Aw, that's the nicest thing that anyone's said about me this month. Originally, I'm from New Hampshire. Currently residing in rural Virginia, down in the pointy western end.

    ReplyDelete
  71. And of course it turned out this story was not true.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/07/local/la-me-ra-paul-ryan-brown-bag-lunch-story-20140307

    ReplyDelete
  72. smut clyde4:39 PM

    employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours.Apparently employees would be better-off if employers could pay them the same amount of money in return for working longer hours. What?

    ReplyDelete
  73. I've constructed this argument using only the finest Wisconsin anecdote and carefully selected Heartland straw!

    ReplyDelete
  74. BigHank534:47 PM

    Hell, I don't see how someone can consider themselves middle-class without a minimum of three items off that list.

    ReplyDelete
  75. dstatton4:50 PM

    Well, that brings back memories. My father was from Philadelphia (where H&H began). It was pretty weird to a boy who had never seen anything like.it before. Strangers sat next to each other, too.

    ReplyDelete
  76. tigrismus4:52 PM

    This is what the left does not understand.


    I understand that one side wants every child born into a family that wants them and loves them, and one side views children as a punishment for bad behavior, one that people must be forced to bear.

    ReplyDelete
  77. tigrismus4:54 PM

    I wondered about that. Man, I need a job where I can write stupid shit with no research for pay instead of for free like I do now!

    ReplyDelete
  78. BigHank535:00 PM

    It does make one wonder about the parenting all these hard-line conservatives received, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  79. XeckyGilchrist5:05 PM

    You don't need to wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  80. XeckyGilchrist5:06 PM

    And SHUT UP, Costco! I CAN'T HEAAAARRR YOU

    ReplyDelete
  81. Conservatives are real.

    ReplyDelete
  82. montag25:29 PM

    Hermetic directionality?

    "Please ensure that your anus is firmly clenched around your neck, please, before creating your topic sentence."

    ReplyDelete
  83. sigyn5:31 PM

    "especially not an employee of another libertarian."



    Now, there's a sitcom waiting to happen. Or maybe just a movie of the week.

    ReplyDelete
  84. montag25:38 PM

    Ah, well, let's all recite that old homily together: "Stupidity is forever."

    ReplyDelete
  85. Originally, I'm from New Hampshire. Currently residing in rural Virginia, down in the pointy western end.


    I confess, I was actually just going for a "begging the question" joke, but good to know.

    ReplyDelete
  86. HORN & HARDART??


    Yeah, you know, the law firm in Angel. Who was ... a vampire. Coincidence?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Rick Santorum certainly seems to think so.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Buffalo Rude5:52 PM

    I see what you did there. Well played.

    ReplyDelete
  89. montag26:04 PM

    W'all, shoot, there you go destroying their tidy little argument to end the minimum wage, which is all that they really want, because other people make too damned much thanks to the gummint.

    Fuck, I'd love to hear Postrel's negotiations with Bloomberg without any wage floor. "Sure, we want you to work for us. Two columns a week, 800 words max. each. 1.2 cents per word."

    "Why, I've never been so insulted in my life!"

    "Well, okay, then, 0.8 cents a word."

    "You're joking."

    "Ooops, too late. McArdle says she'll do it for 0.7 cents per. Suderman got a raise. You both write the same thing, and with the same high percentage of bullshit, so you're interchangeable. The free market casino wins again. Thanks for playing."

    ReplyDelete
  90. montag26:05 PM

    I'll bet John Fund is feeling left out.

    ReplyDelete
  91. and sparkle

    ReplyDelete
  92. montag26:13 PM

    I wonder if this means that the rich crank funding all the money-losing "Atlas Shrugged" movies is rewriting the third installment's script to make Dagny Taggart a vampire?

    Would bring whole new meaning to the term, "blood-sucking capitalists."

    ReplyDelete
  93. Pope Zebbidie XIII7:20 PM

    "That steak isn't dripping with blood you complete fucking idiot!"

    ReplyDelete
  94. Pope Zebbidie XIII7:21 PM

    Personally I'd be accidentally spilling my Big Gulp Slush-o-rama all over that iPad. Or seeing how resistant that interface is to a ball-point.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Pope Zebbidie XIII7:22 PM

    I thought that was Saw.

    ReplyDelete
  96. The anti-government activist Grover Norquist has told a similar story from childhood, in which his father would steal bites of his ice cream cone, labelling each bite "sales tax" or "income tax."

    The psychological link between a certain form of childhood deprivation and extreme libertarianism awaits serious study.

    http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2011/08/grover-norquist-and-his-ice-cream-cone
    ~

    ReplyDelete
  97. BigHank537:38 PM

    Well, the thing is this: there are already restaurants using these shiny new iPad interfaces. They're in some of the bigger airports, and I've also seen them used at the Detroit Institute of Art...places where your customer base has been pre-screened for drunks, people with poor impulse control, and junkies who will steal anything. I'd put the half-life of an iPad in San Francisco at about forty hours. Either a disgruntled customer will have similar impulses to you...or some employee who sees the writing on the wall will drop by Harbor Freight for some tamperproof fastener bits and liberate a severance package.

    ReplyDelete
  98. BigHank537:40 PM

    I had never noticed how closely Bizarro-Lois resembles Ayn Rand--check that profile. What year was this drawn?

    ReplyDelete
  99. BigHank537:45 PM

    After you unburdened yourself about Iowa the other day, I figured I could at least return the favor. I was once represented by Judd Gregg and Robert Smith. I realize that if there are 100 senators, two of them have to be the dumbest guys in the room. But did they both have to come from my state?

    ReplyDelete
  100. smut clyde8:19 PM

    A thousand-island dressing down, at that.

    ReplyDelete
  101. montag28:35 PM

    Truly, I wouldn't be anything but mildly amused at these perennially squawking assholes if they were only honest about why they're pushing this horseshit. Instead, they feel obligated to spraypaint the scenery with stuff that has the superficial appearance of being deeply considered, but isn't, along with wiping everything down with a patina of "the world and everyone in it would be much better off if only we__________." (Fill in the blank, reinstituted slavery, made 8-year-olds work 12-hours shifts at McDonalds, legalized white-collar crime, made Lloyd Blankfein the president, let corporations spread poison on us for fun and profit, destroyed all of worker's legal rights, turned over every municipal water system to privately-held corporations and let frackers destroy the rest of the water, turned the Treasury over to Wall Street, etc., etc., etc.)

    But, no, it's all fundamentally dishonest. It's not about improving anything except the thickness of the wallets of the rich assholes that commission their attempts to scavenge crumbs from the fatcats' tables. They think that they'll be better off--and that's wildly different from everyone. Here's a clue, since they don't have one. Once the fatcats get everything the morons claim is their due, in the name of that mythical, magical free market, they won't need you to do their whining for them, and you'll be rummaging around behind the couch cushions for spare change, too, if you're lucky enough to still have a couch. You're gonna get fucked the same as aaaaaall the rest of us.

    Why? Because that's the way that vaunted free market of yours really works. I can't wait for the McArdle blog posts telling us that the taste of dog food is really enhanced by a little pink Himalayan salt.

    ReplyDelete
  102. I'm no authority, but Bizarro World made its first appearance in DC Action Comics #263, published in April, 1960. I believe this panel comes from that.

    ReplyDelete
  103. I would like to be sold down the river for the sheer experience of it with this comment.

    ReplyDelete
  104. It is pretty down that way.

    ReplyDelete
  105. davdoodles9:38 PM

    "....employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours. The minimum wage sets a legal floor."

    In her 2009 kidney transplant article (linked by Mr Roso above), Postrel does essentially the same ju-jitsu, with a ghoulish twist:

    "Outlawing payments to donors is ostensibly a way to keep the system fair, giving rich and poor an equally lousy chance of getting a kidney. But wealthier people can already more easily register at distant centers with short lists. They’re also more likely to have friends and relatives who can afford the nonmedical expenses that living donation often entails, including time off from work, child care, hotel rooms, or cross-country travel. "

    Rephrased: "Not everyone, rich or poor, can get a kidney now. So might as well make it legal to sell them. There will be more on the market, all of which the rich folk will buy.But then, it will only suck ( albiet worse than before) to be poor."...
    .

    ReplyDelete
  106. Never mind vampires, how do you tell these choads from prostelytizers for a particularly noxious religion?

    ReplyDelete
  107. montag210:05 PM

    I'm not sure one can. Libertarians certainly behave like cult members. And they don't even have the decency to dress up in black pants, short-sleeve white shirts, narrow black ties and backpacks so we have some fair warning that they're coming.

    ReplyDelete
  108. montag210:09 PM

    Shorter Postrel: how on earth can we rig the market for organs if the evil gummint doesn't allow us to price them?

    ReplyDelete
  109. "employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours."


    I can just see it now:


    Employee: I have to be at my daughter's school at 3 to pick her

    up.



    Boss: What? She Can't take the bus? Her father can't get
    her?


    Employee: When the state cut taxes, the school district couldn't

    afford to run the bus she used to take. And I had
    to get a restraining order against her father for

    abusing us, so he's no longer in the picture.


    Boss: Sooo... sounds like you're in something of a bind. Tell
    ya what, you can work 6:30 to 2:30 for... let's see...
    three bucks an hour, and maybe we can think of

    "other" ways you can repay me for the inconvenience

    of having to juggle your hours...

    ReplyDelete
  110. AGoodQuestion10:53 PM

    People will actually pay to watch a movie about vampires.
    It helps that vampires don't inflict fifty page lectures on why you're unworthy to keep your blood.

    ReplyDelete
  111. AGoodQuestion10:54 PM

    People will actually pay to watch a movie about vampires.

    It helps that vampires don't inflict fifty page lectures on why you're unworthy to keep your blood.*

    ReplyDelete
  112. AGoodQuestion10:59 PM

    Then they could work 24 hours a day to barely not be able to meet basic needs and they wouldn't need to waste money on housing!
    Some people are highly invested in the status quo wherein labor is sold in a buyer's market and absolutely everything else is in a seller's market. And for a few it's absolutely sacred.

    ReplyDelete
  113. cleter11:05 PM

    "Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?"

    Vampires are monsters that exist only in fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  114. cleter11:09 PM

    Hey, I have two of those things!

    ReplyDelete
  115. AGoodQuestion11:11 PM

    they're highly unlikely to look up at their billboard, smack their foreheads and exclaim "What was I thinking?"
    I'll do it for 'em. For minimum wage, if the benefits are right.

    ReplyDelete
  116. cleter11:11 PM

    The University of Phoenix doesn't have 200-story buildings made out of actual matter. It's made out of fairy dust and unicorn farts and student loan interest, like a for-profit Brigadoon.

    ReplyDelete
  117. AGoodQuestion11:17 PM

    If Postrel and McArdle think their editors are a savory mix of stupid and dishonest, they can be congratulated on finally being right about something.

    ReplyDelete
  118. AGoodQuestion11:21 PM

    I've been to New Hampshire and loved it. Gotta say, though, that the NH Senator you didn't mention - the hon. Gordon Humphrey - always chilled my blood.

    ReplyDelete
  119. AGoodQuestion11:31 PM

    St Peter don't you call me, cuz I can't go...

    ReplyDelete
  120. "You're gonna get fucked the same as aaaaaall the rest of us"

    The thing is they get to watch and take pleasure in the rest of us getting fucked over first. No way they'll admit they're at the end of the same line because, don't you know, they're standing behind the red velvet rope the Kochs have put up to separate them from the riffraff.

    ReplyDelete
  121. smut clyde12:07 AM

    Just call me in time for dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  122. montag212:07 AM

    True enough. They are big enough idiots to think that velvet rope is a big deal, when in fact it's a distinction without a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  123. smut clyde12:14 AM

    When Titmuss wrote "The Gift Relationship" back in 1970, he reckoned that blood donation had been banned in various US jurisdictions, after profit-making blood-transfusion companies had successfully argued that a non-profit donation service amounted to unfair competition against their industry. Is that still the case anywhere?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Gabriel Ratchet12:46 AM

    At least you know how someone from Oklahoma now feels.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Rest assured, blood donation is alive and well. The plutocrats wouldn't allow anything to stand in the way of their elective surgeries.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Pope Zebbidie XIII1:47 AM

    On the positive side, they don't bomb Gaza.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Pope Zebbidie XIII1:49 AM

    But it's not like there are significant barriers to entry.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Pope Zebbidie XIII1:50 AM

    I have health and a good behaviour bond. Is that close enough?

    ReplyDelete
  129. Pope Zebbidie XIII1:51 AM

    I wonder if Postrel would like to be paid in exposure?

    ReplyDelete
  130. smut clyde7:05 AM

    Vampires have hearts that you can kill them by putting a stake through.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Emily688:04 AM

    In Seattle, just as soon as the phase-in period is over, we're going to find out exactly what happens when McDonald's is forced to pay $15/hr.

    ReplyDelete
  132. tigrismus9:08 AM

    Apparently I only have to convince rich conservatives to give me money. Alas, no luck so far.

    ReplyDelete
  133. I was hoping to pick cotton (i.e, "contribute to the national welfare") with that comment, but your plan sounds so much more exciting, with all the new places and new faces!

    ReplyDelete
  134. You'll be sorry, as libertarian/conservative orthodoxy demands that McDonald's flee the city for, say, Moses Lake.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Libertarians and conservatives try to bullshit you that "It's for your own good." Vampires just go for the fucking jugular.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Also too Meldrim Thompson Jr. The prototype for all the batshit crazy that is the Republican party today.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Well, I'm not trying to turn this into a pissing contest or anything, but *I* was once represented by Newt Gingrich.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Oh, those universities. Such Alinskyite bastions of liberalism! Woody Guthrie would be proud.

    ReplyDelete
  139. And there is something the fuck wrong with you if your utopia would increase the amount of human suffering.

    The theory that torturing animals as a child is a predictor of mass/serial killing has been disproved, but I wonder if anyone has looked at how it correlates to libertarianism?

    ReplyDelete
  140. Didn't the libercons originally have major fountainheads for Costco?

    ReplyDelete
  141. The Red Cross can get paid for your (whole)blood, but you can't. Is this a great country or what?

    ReplyDelete
  142. Plutocrats should get a better deal.

    ReplyDelete
  143. zoloft11:47 AM

    This comment should be cast in bronze.

    ReplyDelete
  144. shocktreatment11:51 AM

    With incentives...


    Layoffs in the 60 days prior to Christmas? Ching-ching!
    Leverage a buyout of a pension fund rich under-performer, transfer all your debt to the new acquisition, bankrupt it to loot that pension fund?
    TrIfecta! Give yourself a hand and laugh all the way to the bank! You've "earned" it!

    ReplyDelete
  145. Derelict12:07 PM

    Or at least cast in the next segment of Atlas Shrugged.

    ReplyDelete
  146. RogerAiles12:38 PM

    Shouldn't Bizzaro Superman be puny and bald, for the sake of logical consistency.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Derelict12:46 PM

    This, of course, is a minor variation on the "the law is not 100% effective in achieving its stated goals; therefore, we should just get rid of the law."

    ReplyDelete
  148. mgmonklewis12:49 PM

    I was Ephrata that.

    ReplyDelete
  149. Derelict12:54 PM

    Or, as we've seen in real life, the answer is simply "no." And our worker is then presented with losing her job to go get her kid, or leaving the kid to fend for herself for two hours--which then results in mom getting arrested for child neglect since she's unable to be a helicopter parent the way we demand she be these days.

    ReplyDelete
  150. I guess it doesn't occur to these writers that maybe if the people on top would agree to make some of the same sacrifices they expect from people on the bottom (imagine making $5 million instead of $10 million), they could actually afford to let some of that wealth shall we say "trickle down" to their employees in the form of bigger paychecks. What a concept!

    ReplyDelete
  151. Pack your bags kids because the cool new thing to do is to pay for your own work experience. I understand that two of Obama's lesser lights from his 2008 campaign are setting up a win/win proposition where they will permit eager would be campaign operatives to pay them 5000 dollars a pop (not "all found" btw: all to be supplied by the "interns/suckers") and the eager new recruitniks will be funnelled into some no name race in the middle of the country to be ground troops and learn the secrets of campaigning from the masters.


    If the slaveowners had only known they could have run the entire rig as a modified guild system. No doubt the slaves would have been lining up to pay for their own enslavement.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Gromet2:02 PM

    Yeah but the white-collar guy needed that money -- the mortgage on his 5BR restored Victorian is $6k/month, and his kids' private-school tuition is another $18k/yr -- each! If he goes broke there are real consequences (plus the boat slip ain't free). Meanwhile, cooks and dishwashers simply can't justify a salary payout with their $900 rent and kids in public school.

    Look, it's obvious: Getting thrown out of a cheap apartment is not nearly as disorienting and tragic as losing the $1.5 million historic home you as luck would have it were teed up from birth for worked your whole life for. You have to admit! And frankly those dishwashers shouldn't even be having kids.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Gromet2:13 PM

    You know, it's possible that a large slice of that 86% saw all those as roughly synonymous.

    I'm going to go waaaay out on a limb and say that the pie chart of people who think those three things are effectively one thing just looks like a blue circle.

    ReplyDelete
  154. willf2:21 PM

    Aw, geez you guys.


    Luckily, on the internet no one can see you blush.

    ReplyDelete
  155. Gromet2:49 PM

    Crazy how Postrell (and McArdle, etc, and all their readers) clearly have no awareness (or pretend so) that work for most people does not involve simply informing the boss you have to leave at 3:00 today. I can usually do that now, working in an office with a salary, but through the years when I made minimum wage? In theory at $6 they should have demanded less from me, but oof: the subsistence environment is one of time clocks to punch, 2 demerits for being 3 minutes late, mandatory firing at 12 demerits. Now, with a salary, I'm regularly 20 minutes late, might take an overly long lunch to run errands, I get long paid vacations -- all while my boss gives me glowing reviews. Oh and there's food in every meeting, so that's another $10-$40 I'm not spending per week, now that saving $10-$40 doesn't really matter to me.


    I guess if all you ever had was the cush salaried life, where the boss's goal is to keep good workers happy, then you maybe you don't guess that the boss who runs the minimum wage joint has a different goal.


    Or maybe you guess but then that's the fault of Big Gummint plus Those Lazy People Who Need Discipline, I dunno.

    ReplyDelete
  156. Derelict3:06 PM

    . . . the fault of Big Gummint plus Those Lazy People Who Need Discipline. . .

    It's Big Gubmint's fault because when you're forced to pay people the exorbitant $7.25/hr wage, you just have to treat those people like shit 'cause otherwise they won't work--which means it's their fault, too.

    I have to admit that I'm continually mystified by employers who act like Simon LeGree. My own management experience has been that, even in minimum-wage situations, managers who treat their employees with respect and show some understanding for the stress of living on a minimum-wage job, generally end up with employees who willingly give far more to the job than they get paid. Treat employees like shit and SURPISE!!! The employees will take every opportunity to return the favor.

    But, I guess, good Christian employers like Hobby Lobby and WalMart just skip over all those passages in the Old and New testaments about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    ReplyDelete
  157. mrstilton3:07 PM

    When I was very tiny, I was occasionally taken to a H&H. I found it endlessly fascinating. Not the food as such (though I liked it well enough; I invariably chose pie, and any tyke will purr when shovelling concentrated sugar down its maw). What fascinated me was the system. Soon enough, though, the places began to wink out of existence.

    Our host's blogroll links to Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, which anybody who cares about New York should read. I particularly enjoyed a post about Slugger Annie's, a bar on Second that I never knew in that incarnation but which, as the Dragon Bar, was absolutely one of my favourite places during one of periods living in the city. (Best damn jukebox in Manhattan, too.) In a later period, I brought my wife there to show her the place, only to find that it had morphed into Dick's, which catered to a slightly different clientele. Dick's, too, is now gone. So much has gone. (During yet another New York period, after H&H but before the Dragon, I'd walk by Manny Wolf's most mornings as it was being turned into Smith & Wollensky's. At the time, the "Since 1977" over the door was a clever joke, but any irony has since been layered thickly over by the patina of time, and of being sold off to financial investors.) Eheu fugaces and all that; everything slips away before you know it.



    Which is why I was astonished, on doing a quick wiki search just now, to learn that the H&H where I'd gobbled pie as a bairn was the very last to succumb; it was open till 1991.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Derelict3:13 PM

    Why torture animals when you can just wait a bit and become a Republican operative? Or maybe you can set your sites on being in the "enhanced interrogation" business--something we'll likely be privatizing very soon (if we haven't already) since corporations operate outside the bounds of any law.

    ReplyDelete
  159. Derelict3:18 PM

    . . . two of Obama's lesser lights from his 2008 campaign are setting up a win/win proposition where they will permit eager would be campaign operatives to pay them 5000 dollars a pop (not "all found" btw: all to be supplied by the "interns/suckers")

    Are you kidding? Sadly, I'd guess there are more than a few idealistic and naïve youngsters who might think this a good opportunity.

    Obama should personally call these people out before they destroy some innocent lives.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Derelict3:20 PM

    Where are the Manhattans of yesteryear?

    ReplyDelete
  161. It is shamefull.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Derelict3:29 PM

    The logic was flawless.

    It is the standard reasoning model for libertarians and conservatives alike--at least when it comes to things with which they disagree.

    I've always imagined that one of the reasons these people don't get out much is because of this kind of reasoning. "I'd like to drive to Orlando, but my car won't go that far on a single tank of gas. So that means I can't go to Orlando! Ever!"

    ReplyDelete
  163. ohsopolite3:30 PM

    That's how we know climate change is a hoax--if it was real there'd only be like 987 islands.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Derelict3:31 PM

    Dunno about the libercons, but Wall Street has certainly been down on Costco--specifically for paying its workers more than minimum wage. Financial analysts have consistently downgraded Costco stock because of the company's refusal to slash wages to match WalMart, Target, and the rest of the American retail nightmare.

    ReplyDelete
  165. tigrismus3:41 PM

    imagine making $5 million instead of $10 million


    You heartless monster!

    ReplyDelete
  166. mrstilton3:43 PM

    Right? Everyone's drinking gin these days.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Derelict3:47 PM

    I have edited many a master's and doctoral thesis from students at this esteemed institution. My favorite so far was a student who wrote her dissertation proposal and had it kicked back because the vocabulary was too advanced. Her committee did not understand it, so they demanded it be dumbed down. (I ended up sending it back to her largely untouched because the vocabulary she was using was precisely the words needed. I included a note to that effect, which I guess she passed along to her committee. They then accepted the proposal.)

    So, yeah, I'd not be recommending U of Phoenix for anyone of above-average intelligence.

    ReplyDelete
  168. tigrismus3:49 PM

    With a tiny line marked "Virginia Postrel" as the alternate group.

    ReplyDelete
  169. Derelict3:52 PM

    . . . imagine making $5 million instead of $10 million . . .

    Go read through the filed settlements of some of the high-ticket divorces. For a lot of these people, making only $5 million may as well mean living in a dishwasher box under the Williamsburg Bridge. What, with $20,000 a month wardrobe expenses, $10,000 a week in entertaining expenses, and all the hired help--$5 million is poverty-level wages.

    Of course, the help is expected to flourish on actual poverty-level wages. But you can't have everything, can you?

    ReplyDelete
  170. Derelict3:53 PM

    That's a very rye comment.

    ReplyDelete
  171. tigrismus4:10 PM

    That's what you think: I took a picture

    ReplyDelete
  172. DerBrunoStroszek4:37 PM

    Most religions have the decency to not call for human sacrifice any more?

    ReplyDelete
  173. satch5:02 PM

    Seems like forcibly ending slavery was the best thing that ever happened to the former slave owners, since they were able to take on the former slaves as sharecroppers and gain the advantage of their labor with no responsibility for providing food and housing.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/07/20/tomlinson_hill_a_white_man_from_texas_unearths_his_familys_shockingly_racist_past/

    ReplyDelete
  174. montag25:38 PM

    No need. They're already there. (I lived in Moses Lake during the peak of its reputation in the early `60s, and was in Portland in 1999 for something and decided to drive over--it's all fast food joints and mobile home dealers now. When I was there, the nearest McDonalds was in Spokane, a 90-mile drive.)

    ReplyDelete
  175. Hey, wherever the Beaver Falls, right?

    ReplyDelete
  176. ChrisV829:01 PM

    I wonder if a corporation with a sincerely held religious belief would allow workers to take Sunday (or Saturday!) off without fear of being fired.

    ReplyDelete
  177. JennOfArk9:11 PM

    I haven't read the 207 comments before this one yet, so hopefully I won't be redundant.

    Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?


    Sex. Conservatives fear it; libertarians can't get it because of all the stuck-up bitches; and vampires get it on 24/7.


    Ok, not 24/7 because of the sleeping in the coffin during daylight hours and all, but you know what I mean.

    ReplyDelete
  178. And when they do, they don't expect the sacrificial victims to pay for the knife and carve out their own hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Yeah. The people who descend in droves on each new Costco that opens must be actors.

    Also, Costco sounds a bit FRENCH!

    ReplyDelete
  180. vista9:29 PM

    Hobby Lobby is actually closed on Sundays.

    ReplyDelete
  181. Derelict10:27 PM

    That's a thing of beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  182. bekabot9:35 PM

    "Libertarians, conservatives, vampires -- what's the difference again?"



    Vampires aren't interested in kidneys, just blood. None of them are interested in brains.

    ReplyDelete
  183. AngryWarthogBreath12:21 AM

    NO ONE can EVER go to Orlando. My car-related experience is the defining experience for humanity.

    ReplyDelete