Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On The Progressive Mind

Want insight into the progressive mind?  Consider the following exchange between Sean Cranley and myself concerning my employees and health insurance.

ME: Regarding my employees. My business does not generate enough money to pay for the skyrocketing cost of health insurance, nor does Obamacare drive the costs down per his claims. Where do you propose I get the money to pay for their health insurance? I especially would like you to take a shot at answering that question please Sean. Thanks.

SEAN: As for your business I'd say your employees are subsidizing your lifestyle because they are not being compensated in a manner that allows them to meet their basic needs. That may be worthwhile to you, but it isn't doing society a great deal of good in sanctioning your corporate body, especially if we have to pick up the tab for their shortfalls in the form of assistance.

And more SEAN: OR as FDR said it better: "No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level -- I mean the wages of decent living."

Note that Sean doesn't actually get around to finding the money in my account or shoe box to pay for employee health insurance. He of course has no idea concerning the state of my finances. He just assumes, like most progressives, that business owners have a stash of cash available for whatever is the current cause de jour for the left. 

And yes, my employees are subsidizing my lifestyle, and I theirs. They offer their labor, I offer money. It is a voluntary exchange that Sean would like to make illegal. It is true that I am unable, or, from Sean's perspective, unwilling to offer health benefits, not to mention company cars, six figure salaries etc... It is for this reason that I encourage employees to seek the best possible employment situation available to them. In the mean time, please note that of the several billion people on earth who could potentially offer them a better deal than I have, none have done so, including Sean Cranley. But I am the bad guy, while Sean is the savior of exploited workers. 

Sean, and apparently FDR, have difficulty coming to grips with some basic economic facts. Some businesses just don't generate enough profits to compensate employees to the standards demanded by progressives. Many in fact fail entirely. And some employees don't add enough value to a business operation to justify the compensation packages demanded by leftists. Rather than confront these plain and obvious realities, Sean opts instead to have a temper tantrum and threaten to deprive me of the right, granted by government in his view, to earn an honest living. He would shut down my business in a huff, deprive my employees of their employment, my customers of my product and services, and the government of their sizable and increasing cut. Who exactly would benefit from your philosophy in action?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Health Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy

I just changed my health insurance plan today. I will in all likelihood be changing again in about a year.

Like many individuals and businesses, I am trying to sort out the changes that are coming as Obamacare  will be implemented at about this time next year. So I spent a bit of time grilling my insurance agent today.

The following is my best guess as to my options come next year. I can stick with my plan, which has an $11,000 deductible and costs us (wife and kid too) about $450 per month, though that amount might rise. Or, I can scrap my plan entirely and pay a $750 penalty/tax. That amount is less than two months worth of premiums. Now if I or any family member were to get seriously ill or have an accident such that we needed expensive care, we can sign up for insurance at that time. It would certainly cost more than my current plan, but I could then scrap the plan again once I have received my medical care.

As a math question this is rather easy. It makes no sense to buy insurance for $450 per month when I essentially already have insurance, insofar as I can buy it despite any pre-existing condition. Instead, I merely pay a $750 tax which amounts to less than 2 months worth of worthless insurance coverage. So, from a dollars and good sense perspective, I should drop my coverage and  thereafter buy and scrap insurance as needed.

But is there a moral element that I am missing? Do I have an obligation as a citizen to contribute to the general welfare of others via my participation in an insurance program? Is it OK to be a free rider?

At this point, my answers are no, no and yes, respectively. The government has passed a law which creates huge incentives for me to drop my health insurance, coupled with disincentives, in the form of huge premium increases, for keeping my insurance.  I don't feel a moral obligation to try to prop up a poorly designed system via my participation in a health plan. The system will certainly collapse and I hope that what replaces it is not, as I fear, even worse.

Monday, January 21, 2013

CAR25 - Public Access or Propaganda?

After reading Mayor Dickert's commentary concerning CAR25, Racine's public access cable channel, I have decided to weigh in.

Starting with the commentary's title - CAR25 needs to spread positive news about Racine - Mayor Dickert repeatedly emphasizes the importance of relaying positive news concerning Racine. "I believe we have to provide a great message that demonstrates the positive things going on in Racine" and "I have also worked to steer CAR25 in the direction of positive messaging" and so on.

But all this positivity is being undermined as "some of the programming currently defeats the very purpose of a positive message for our city." And "Unfortunately, the very producers that are opposing change are the ones currently providing programs that speak negatively about Racine."

So no more negativity, right? Here is where the message gets a bit muddled. The mayor then assures the opponents of the proposed changes to CAR25 that "they will still have their access to production equipment and the free broadcast of their content."

Either the city will control content or producers will, but not both. The city will either proceed with an all-positive propaganda program or dissenters will continue to dissent, but not both.

I can't imagine that the Mayor would go to all this trouble just to continue allowing negative programming, so I must conclude that the CAR25 changes are designed to reign in the dissenters. The channel will be "public access" in name only while the mayor will control the information disseminated about Racine.

As a frequent dissenter about Racine politics and an infrequent dissenter on CAR25, I understand that dissenters can be a pain in the buttocks. But we serve a critical role in a free society. We keep or at least attempt to keep elected officials on their toes and honest. We inspire debate. We annoy. We rally. We complain. And sometimes, our insistence prevents elected officials from going too far.

And silencing opposing points of views is going too far.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On Services

Budget time is coming in Racine and other locals, so naturally our "representatives" will stress the importance of the services they generously extend to us with our money.

Lately I have noticed that our "representatives" seem to think that government is the only entity that offers services to people. Of course every business in Racine provides services to its customers. I suppose that since they charge money while seeking profits makes them less important, expendable, perhaps even a bit evil.

It would be nice if, during budget negotiations, just one representative would note the existence of Racine's other service providers, and perhaps wonder aloud the effect that city services and their costs have on our private service providers.

The way I see it, every vacant storefront is evidence that the city hasn't given much thought to the health of our private service providers.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Celebrating Diversity?

Lately I have been exploring college web sites as my son is getting to be about that age. One thing I have noticed is that colleges love diversity. As such, I can't help but wonder whether these colleges and universities celebrate students who disagree with their diversity agenda.