Thursday, April 26, 2012

Attitude Adjusted, I Hope

I was talking to a lady the other day who held a job at a local prison. Because of her seniority, her job is to process visitors into the prison. Visitors, not prisoners. We got into a bit of a discussion about the effect of Governor Walker's Act 10. It seems that many of the folks at the prison are not happy. I understand this as nobody likes to lose something that is important to them. I pointed out that such unhappy adjustments to reality have been ongoing in the private sector for some time. I even added - tongue in cheek - that I was unable to offer health insurance or pensions to my part time retail employees. To my amazement, she appeared to be genuinely surprised that my employees did not get health insurance or a pension. To her credit she stated that her mother worked for the government, her father for a big 3 auto company, and that perhaps she has taken for granted the benefits that she does receive. On that point, if you think you're getting screwed at your job, but people would line up to take it at half the pay, perhaps you have no legitimate grievance.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Attacking Main Street

I was talking to my banker the other day. He mentioned that I would be required to have my commercial property reappraised in a few years, per the requirements of the Dodd-Frank bill that passed a few years back. A bit if background. I have been paying towards my mortgage for several years now without missing a payment. Also, we borrowed a substantial amount from the bank to build two new apartments above my retail store. Everything is going just fine with respect to us meeting our financial obligations with our building. We are even paying an additional amount every month towards our mortgage. The relationship with our bank is just fine. And yet.... we will soon be forced to pay about $2500 for a reappraisal, unless the DF bill is amended. The reason I assume is that the DF bill apparently seeks to have a more accurate assessment of a banks loan portfolio, presumably to head off excessive risk taking by banks. Fine, I get that but... why not just let stupid banks fail instead? Bank deposits up to a certain point are already insured. A successful bank would come on in and buy up the assets of the failed bank. Perhaps it is not so easy as all that. But there are some that think government regulations are all good with no adverse side effects. Baloney. There is a trade-off always. In this case, property appraisers hit the jack pot while property owners have to pay, essentially, a Dodd-Frank tax of $2,500, for a reappraisal not in my interest or my banks. I suppose there are those that applaud DF as a slap at the big Wall Street power brokers. But the pain will be inflicted on me, a small business owner at 416 Main Street.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nuisance Government

Apparently there was a large fight recently at the MLK Center, requiring a huge police response. I am guessing the new nuisance ordinance (fines, closings etc...) does not apply to buildings run by the city.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Poop Scoop

So I am walking my dog this morning, without a leash per usual, in my semi-wooded neighborhood. He heads for a wooded area to perform #2, as trained. He is about 10 feet into the woods where nobody would ever venture. A fellow walker passes, notices the act, keeps walking another 20 feet or so, stops, turns around and watches, I suppose, to see if I will pick up the droppings. As I see it, I have three options. 1) pick up the turd. 2) get out the plastic bag and pretend a pickup or 3) let stinking turds lie.

I went with #3 because the droppings were in an area where humans simply would not venture. I don't think the lady liked my choice but she did not pursue the matter. Was I wrong?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Race Talk

Since the death of Trayvon Martin, I have been hearing about the "race talk." Apparently many black parents at some point have a talk with their young boys about the risks of certain types of behaviors around authority figures. Don't run, don't stick your hands in your pockets, don't get sassy with the police etc....

Recently a writer for National Review was fired for a kind of parody of that talk, wherein the white parent would warn their kids about the dangers of being among large crowds of black people among other things.

The talk or talks beg some questions. What kind of talk about race is appropriate with your children, if any? Is it common sense to note the disparities in violent crime rates, for example, or is that racist? Is their a line that crosses from good sense to racism that is easily grasped, or is there a gray area?

The job of a parent is to educate their children about all sorts of dangers that they might face. Let us focus on race and violent crime as an example. Certainly there are correlations between race and violent crime rates. I believe the rate is highest in this country among black people. Should parents pretend that this is untrue for some reason? Not in my view. But the dangers for children are many. Males commit a much higher percentage of violent crimes than do women. Young people commit violent crimes at a higher rate that old people. Is the job of a parent to ensure that their children are afraid of everyone?

Parents should want their children to possess the skills and knowledge to accurately assess risks, political correctness be damned. At the same time they need to ensure that their children do not develop irrational or excessive fears about risks, be they young people, bugs, dogs, Germans, germs, gerbils, etc... Moreover, when assessing other people, it is very important to emphasize that statistics, however accurate, are meaningless when it comes to individuals. As such, it is critical to never to treat any individual differently because of the statistical category to which they belong.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Phantom Constitutional Rights Collide

Could a non-existent constitutional "right" to regulate anything that affects interstate commerce be used to end a similarly non-existant constitutional "right" to privacy? After all, dead children can't subsidize their parents health care costs and are therefore affecting interstate commerce. Could upholding Obamacare pave the way to overturn Roe vs Wade?

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Anything Goes Clause

The Commerce Clause can do anything! A challenge for Free Racine readers: propose any law; ridiculous, cruel, humorous, whatever, and I will justify it with the Commerce Clause, which, we all know can be used to regulate any activity or non activity that might affect interstate commerce.

Voter ID? Constitutional? Are you serious? Voters without ID's could, in the aggregate, alter the outcome of an election. Elections impact the choices made by representatives. One choice greatly impacted by the 2008 presidential election was the decision to regulate the decisions people make with respect to purchasing health insurance. Thus, voters without ID's can impact interstate commerce. Not only could we require voter ID, we could mandate its purchase and require insurance policies for lost or damaged ID's. Why are liberals complaining about a law that obviously passes constitutional muster? Are they serious?

How about Act 10? Collective bargaining by government employees raises the costs of government. As such, it reduces profitability of private sector businesses. Those businesses must compete across state lines with businesses from states without collective bargaining. Thus, collective bargaining affects interstate commerce and can be regulated.

Ban Skittles! Skittles are dangerous. A recent high profile execution occurred because a child was carrying Skittles while black. We can't change his blackness of course, but we could ensure that others carrying Skittles are not targeted for murder. Dead people don't engage in commerce. Nuff said.