Days of Change

Everyone Wants to Blow Stuff Up

June 23, 2018
Comments Off on Everyone Wants to Blow Stuff Up

Bill and Hillary Clinton knew about the importance of transnational government. When Bill left office, a lot of people owed the Clinton’s and Hillary’s political career was the payback.

Since the D’Amato machine wound down in New York, the state never saw another Republican in the Senate. Literally, all Hillary had to do was push the other women out of her way for the Senate seat that Daniel Patrick Moynihan was willing to give her. However, 2008 saw a group of upstarts who saw a weak Democratic field and chose to take on establishment candidate, much like Bill Clinton did in 1992.

After Obama, The Clintons made sure to make the Obama administration indebted to them as well. While Bernie Sanders put up a fight, Hillary was the anointed one this time. The only problem is that there are only so many Democrats out there.

While there is a left wing and a moderate (more left) wing out there, there isn’t exactly a civil war going on. The Republicans, however, are at war. The GOP had about 12 years between 1994 and 2006 where they had control over significant parts of the government process. In that time, however, much of their leadership (Gingrich) was run out of town and the Red wave of 1994 was made up of people like Joe Scarborough and Lindsey Graham.

After Republicans were deemed obsolete in 2008, a group of people started to rally and organize. They were known as the Tea Party. What’s interesting is that looking at the numbers, there must have been a lot of people who were sick enough of Bush and “McSame” to vote for Barack Obama. Within a year, there was a level of buyer’s remorse. This was an emotional reaction from being played.

The current Obama to Trump voter (with a possible stop for Romney in between) prefers to believe that Donald Trump exists outside the system and that the ones being played are the ones they hate. Trump encourages this because he’d rather be worshiped by a few than moderately liked by many.

So, the Republicans who pre-dated the 1994 takeover are either middle-aged and older voters or politicians approaching the median age of death. One of those is George Will. Will “left” the Republican party when Trump got the Republican nomination in 2016 and was terminated by Fox on Trump’s inauguration day. The news this week is that he advocated that no one vote Republican as long as Trump is the leader of the party.

The reality is that Will is stuck in the 1980’s. He has criticized every Republican since Reagan and is practically the embodiment of the perfect being the enemy of the good. He is a symptom of a Trump administration where allies have to sacrifice for Trump and intellectual honesty is met with the Twitter equivalent of “yo mama” jabs.

In my case, the member of Congress will either be a Democrat or a rabid Trump supporter. However, many Republicans get to choose a moderate Republican. A majority of Democrats in Congress will only amplify the fear that would get Trump reelected. How do I know? Because Trump is doing the same things Barack Obama did.

Trump is blowing up D.C. His enemies are blowing up stuff in response. It’s fun to blow stuff up rather than govern. Rather than being the adult in the room, Trump is setting the tone by being¬†Arthur Bach. I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.

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President Trump’s Policies Will Eliminate More Jobs Than McDonalds’ Kiosks

June 6, 2018
Comments Off on President Trump’s Policies Will Eliminate More Jobs Than McDonalds’ Kiosks

What makes Economics a field of study is the way unexpected (or unintended) consequences can come from seemingly positive actions. Two stories this week are good examples. One is the news that the unemployment rate is at historic lows and that job openings exceed the number of job seekers. The other is that McDonalds is going to roll out self-serve kiosks in all of its stores.

First, the kiosks. Conservative bloggers jumped to their keyboards touting the idea that because a couple of liberal cities are raising wages to $15 per hour, McDonalds flipped the switch on replacing counter jockeys with autonomous kiosks. This leaves out a couple of important facts.

  • 70% of McDonalds business is in the drive thru lanes
  • If you watch the front of a McDonalds, none of the registers are manned at all times.
  • McDonalds are putting in more kiosk screens than the current number of counter registers.
  • McDonalds makes money off franchise owners paying them fees. The corporation could care less about the minimum wage at a store.

If you go to a fast food restaurant like McDonalds, it is difficult to just look at the menu. First of all, not every item (or customization) is listed. If you stand around the front, one of those people who isn’t at the register will come up and ask if you’re ready to order. You can put them off to look, but eventually you feel a little guilty from messing up the flow.

However, if you can stand at your own menu board, you can choose what you want, make changes, not worry about entry errors on the cashier’s side and maybe order something you never saw on a menu before. McDonalds found that people order more from a kiosk, partly because they don’t take cash, partly because you can look up what you want and partly because you don’t have to worry about holding up the line. Plus, you can sit down and someone will bring your order to you. Maybe it’s the person who was supposed to be fired.

On the other hand, more openings than applicants in the job market is one of those “good problem to have” situations. It’s good for the applicants because they can demand better wages and don’t have to have quite as many qualification. In my experience, however, job postings are not the same as future jobs.

Here’s a case in point. A company down the road from me has postings to increase their employee population by 8%. These listings have been in place for months. Some jobs have been re-posted from the beginning of the year. If they desperately needed these positions filled, logic would dictate that they would either have to take less “perfect” candidates or raise the pay scale to get their perfect match.

When there are more candidates than jobs, employers are more likely to assume they have highly qualified and motivated applicants and hire the best of the bunch. When pickings are slim, they fear hiring people who seem high risk. Instead, they make due with more overtime (wanted or not) and automation. It’s more likely you buy a robot to keep from hiring someone than to specifically fire someone.

Am I right? It doesn’t matter because economics is about the perception of decision makers and their reaction to a situation. It’s not easy to predict.


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