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Posts Tagged ‘progressives’

McDonald’s Sales in Decline So Let’s Raise Minimum Wage!

by Mark Home
McDonalds
As you may know, unions are scheming for ways to force fast food franchises to raise their minimum wage. Usually, McDonald’s is treated as the wealthiest of these franchises. Everyone seems to assume they have plenty of money and are only refusing to pay employees more out of spite.

I’ve mentioned before that McDonald’s is not that well off. And the bad news keeps coming. According to CNN: “McDonald’s July sales fell more than expected.”

McDonald’s on Friday reported July sales results that were much worse than analysts had expected.

Following the report, the company’s shares traded lower.

The dismal results prompted Janney Capital Markets to lower its estimates for the fast-food giant. Its analysts said the results “were the worst worldwide month in the last 10 years, once trading-day adjustments are taken into account.”

Same-store sales in the U.S. sank 3.2 percent, weaker than the 2.6 percent expected.

So what happens if McDonald’s goes bankrupt and closes?

Yes, I know that total liquidation is quite unlikely. But I think it is worth considering. As far as I can tell from the rhetoric for a higher minimum wage law, McDonald’s is an exploiter of poor people. The restaurant chain is guilty of paying wages that leave employees in squalor.

Well, if they are such an evil company, then obviously all their employees will be immensely better off if the restaurants are all closed down. Right?

No?

Wait a minute! Are you saying that the sudden disappearance of McDonald’s would be a really bad thing for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of employees? Are you saying that, if there were no McDonald’s chain, these people would not be able to earn money?

So which is it? Is McDonald’s a blessing to its many employees or is it a curse? Are you willing to admit that they make the lives of many, many people much better off? Or are you going to claim that they should disappear and that everyone would be better off without them?

Something to think about.

Read more at http://politicaloutcast.com/2014/08/mcdonalds-sales-decline-lets-raise-minimum-wage/#7y7k82myleegqPWR.99

The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives.

Unknown

Social conservatives. Libertarians. Country-club conservatives. Tea party conservatives. Everybody in politics knows that those sets of people who usually vote Republican cannot be arrayed in a continuum from moderately conservative to extremely conservative. They are on different political planes. They usually have just enough in common to vote for the same candidate.
Why then do we still talk about the left in terms of a continuum from moderately liberal to extremely liberal? Divisions have been occurring on the left that mirror the divisions on the right. Different segments of the left are now on different planes.
A few weeks ago, I was thrown into a situation where I shared drinks and dinner with two men who have held high positions in Democratic administrations. Both men are lifelong liberals. There’s nothing “moderate” about their liberalism. But as the pleasant evening wore on (we knew that there was no point in trying to change anyone’s opinion on anything), I was struck by how little their politics have to do with other elements of the left.
Their liberalism has nothing in common with the political mind-set that wants right-of-center speakers kept off college campuses, rationalizes the forced resignation of a CEO who opposes gay marriage, or thinks George F. Will should be fired for writing a column disagreeable to that mind-set. It has nothing to do with executive orders unilaterally disregarding large chunks of legislation signed into law or with using the IRS as a political weapon. My companions are on a different political plane from those on the left with that outlook—the progressive mind-set.
Wait, doesn’t “progressive” today reflect the spirit of the Progressive Era a century ago, when the country benefited from the righteous efforts of muckrakers and others who fought big-city political bosses, attacked business monopolies and promoted Good Government The era was partly about that. But philosophically, the progressive movement at the turn of the 20th century had roots in German philosophy ( Hegel and Nietzsche were big favorites) and German public administration ( Woodrow Wilson’s open reverence for Bismarck was typical among progressives). To simplify, progressive intellectuals were passionate advocates of rule by disinterested experts led by a strong unifying leader. They were in favor of using the state to mold social institutions in the interests of the collective. They thought that individualism and the Constitution were both outmoded.
That’s not a description that Woodrow Wilson or the other leading progressive intellectuals would have argued with. They openly said it themselves.
It is that core philosophy extolling the urge to mold society that still animates progressives today—a mind-set that produces the shutdown of debate and growing intolerance that we are witnessing in today’s America. Such thinking on the left also is behind the rationales for indulging President Obama in his anti-Constitutional use of executive power. If you want substantiation for what I’m saying, read Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 book “Liberal Fascism,” an erudite and closely argued exposition of American progressivism and its subsequent effects on liberalism. The title is all too accurate.
Here, I want to make a simple point about millions of people—like my liberal-minded dinner companions—who regularly vote Democratic and who are caught between a rock and a hard place.
Along with its intellectual legacy, the Progressive Era had a political legacy that corresponds to the liberalism of these millions of Democrats. They think that an activist federal government is a force for good, approve of the growing welfare state and hate the idea of publicly agreeing with a Republican about anything. But they also don’t like the idea of shouting down anyone who disagrees with them.
They gave money to the ACLU in 1978 when the organization’s absolutism on free speech led it to defend the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill. They still believe that the individual should not be sacrificed to the collective and that people who achieve honest success should be celebrated for what they have built. I’m not happy that they like the idea of a “living Constitution”—one that can be subjected to interpretations according to changing times—but they still believe in the separation of powers, checks and balances, and the president’s duty to execute the laws faithfully.
These Democrats should get exclusive possession of the word “liberal.”
As a libertarian, I am reluctant to give up the word “liberal.” It used to refer to laissez-faire economics and limited government. But since libertarians aren’t ever going to be able to retrieve its original meaning, we should start using “liberal” to designate the good guys on the left, reserving “progressive” for those who are enthusiastic about an unrestrained regulatory state, who think it’s just fine to subordinate the interests of individuals to large social projects, who cheer the president’s abuse of executive power and who have no problem rationalizing the stifling of dissent.
Making a clear distinction between liberals and progressives will help break down a Manichaean view of politics that afflicts the nation. Too many of us see those on the other side as not just misguided but evil. The solution is not a generalized “Can’t we all just get along” non-judgmentalism. Some political differences are too great for that.
But liberalism as I want to use the term encompasses a set of views that can be held by people who care as much about America’s exceptional heritage as I do. Conservatives’ philosophical separation from that kind of liberalism is not much wider than the philosophical separation among the various elements of the right. If people from different political planes on the right can talk to each other, as they do all the time, so should they be able to talk to people on the liberal left, if we start making a distinction between liberalism and progressivism. To make that distinction is not semantic, but a way of realistically segmenting the alterations to the political landscape that the past half-century has brought us.
Mr. Murray is the W.H. Brady BRC +2.04% Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Why Gridlock is a Good Thing

Gridlock is one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon us by the Framers.  It is a natural result of the checks and balances built into the system to stop any temporary majority from fundamentally changing the country.  If it wasn’t for the checks and balances FDR would have completely socialized the country back in the 1930s.  If it wasn’t for them now BHO would simply impose his agenda on us.  Wait a minute I think he is.

Living as the occupants of an occupied nation those of us who believe limited government, personal freedom, and economic liberty are good things have to face up to the fact that a cadre of political savants who advocate for the collectivization of the American experiment have maneuvered their way into the halls of power.  They have captured the media, the unions, Hollywood, and a large segment of education.  The elections have been gerrymandered into a parody of democracy.  Political Correctness dries up free speech and affirmative action uses racial quotas and discrimination while saying they are doing it to increase integration.

It takes a conspiracy theory wrapped in a spiral of silence to pretend the foregoing isn’t true.  Every day the regime is bent on fundamentally changing this country from a representative republic founded upon respect for the laws of nature and of nature’s God into a centrally-planned social safety net.  Our education system spends more money per capita than any other, and instead of academic superstars we produce illiterate whiners with high self-esteem.

The borders are open to a mass migration from the third world.  Free trade has gutted our industrial base.  Our foreign policy is in tatters as the conquerors of the republic allow our ambassadors to be murdered, our citizens to be unfairly imprisoned, and our national interests to be sacrificed for hidden goals and secret agendas.

America the beautiful where have you gone?  From sea to shining sea your people watch as the alabaster cities rot into bankrupt hulks where socialism has failed.  At the same time those who exemplify and lead the destruction of the once proud land of the free and home of the brave point to the very instrument which provided the opportunity for humanity to excel in the bright sunshine of freedom.

Seeing gridlock not as a brake upon the ambitions of temporary ruling factions to establish themselves as permanent oligarchies, President Obama attacks the structure of government as created by the Framers of the Constitution.

One of the greatest mistakes ever foisted upon this country by the progressives was the passing of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.  This change to the Constitution was pushed through in the early days of the 20th century finally becoming law in 1913.  This amendment took the election of U. S. Senators away from the state legislatures and made them part of the march towards democracy that has always been a hallmark of the progressive movement.

Before the 17th Amendment the Senators had acted as the representatives of the States preserving the federal nature of our government.  Since its passage the various states must hire lobbyists to represent them in Washington as if they were just another interest group.  This has given us the best government money can buy and left the States at the mercy of a central bureaucracy on steroids.

Now President Obama, as the leader and spokesman of our Progressive masters is railing against the fact that every state has two senators.  In his political cradle the paragon of party politics, Chicago Mr. Obama described to a small group of wealthy supporters several hurdles to keeping Democrats in control of the Senate and possibly recapturing the House. One of those hurdles, according to the President, is that each state regardless of its population has two Senate seats.  Or as Mr. Obama said, “Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming. That puts us at a disadvantage.”

The President noted that the congregation of Democrat voters in big cities gives Republicans an advantage in rural states affecting both the elections for the House and the Senate.   Of course it is those very concentrations and the massive political machines’ support that allow the democrat Party to control so many States and their electoral votes.  In essence what Mr. Obama is complaining about is that while Democrat control of big city machines has perhaps locked up the electoral keys to the White House they are not able to translate that into a lock on the legislative side for a true one party state.

If you will remember the last time they were able to pull off this hat trick (2008-2010) they shoved Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or as it is also known as, the Federal Reserve Empowerment Law down our throats. This has socialized one sixth of our economy, has entrenched crony capitalism, and enshrined too-big-to-fail.

The Progressives from the Ivory Tower to the White House have worked tirelessly for over 100 years to change the iron-clad guarantees of the Constitution into a Living Document that is as firm as Jell-O and as clear as mud.  They want a one party state and a unified centralized government to efficiently complete their transformation.  It is in the interests of all lovers of liberty to vote for divided government so that we can bask in the light of gridlock.  For when the lawyers in Washington and the bureaucratic minions aren’t able to do anything maybe we will have a chance to do something.

The biggest hurdle we have in maintaining the safety of gridlock is that the Progressives have captured the leadership of both major parties.  They have also rigged elections in such a way as to almost eliminate the possibility for a minor party to win.  Using our ballots strategically we must find ways to keep the Progressives from gaining one more shot at one party rule.  We must maintain some breathing room so that freedom doesn’t suffocate.

Why is gridlock a good thing? Because it might be our last chance to get something done.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Hoarder in Chief

Hoarder-590CI

Government hoarding. We’re being buried alive in big government.
Read more at http://comicallyincorrect.com/2014/03/28/government-hoarding/#pPMrjkrJtiTCQd5S.99

What’s the Reason?

Just as the pursuit of perfection can often end in the sacrifice of what is good so too the worship of reason often results in the exaltation of mediocrity and the circumscription of reasonable thought and action.

Daily the Progressives aggressively push forward against positions which have long been the traditional battle lines of the conservative movement.  The front lines in the culture war move ever closer to the transformed America they envision.  First prayer was expelled from School.  Then the sexual revolution wave peaked with the nullification of state abortion laws by the Supreme Court and then crashed into the mainstream with condoms and birth-control distributed to school children.  Divorce became common-place, and out-of-wedlock births account for the majority in several demographics.  Pornography is a constitutional right and as close as a mouse click away in most homes.

Those who want to hold on to the America we were raised in are ridiculed in the press, movies, and by our elected officials as a wild-eyed fringe of traditionalist America-firsters clinging to our guns and Bibles.  This is why it is important to examine the place of reason as opposed to tradition in the operation of society.

To paraphrase the infamous phrase of George Bush the Younger, “I have sacrificed free market principles to save the free market system,” I would say, “At times we must suspend the rule of reason for reason to flourish.” Or follow in the footsteps of David Hume who was said to have turned against the Enlightenment its own weapons to whittle down the claims of reason by the use of rational analysis.

It is the ability to think in symbols and imagine abstract things that sets man apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.  Therefore at the outset let me say this is not an appeal for irrationality or any type of transcendental mysticism.  It is instead meant to be a rational examination of the anti-rationalistic position which is necessary for the preservation of individual freedom, personal liberty, and economic opportunity, and the only conditions under which reason can flourish and evolve.  For the attempt to apply reason and reason alone to the organization of society’s intricately woven interface of conventions stifles creativity, leaves no place for innovation, and is ultimately unreasonable.

When we attempt to apply the laws of science or the mechanical practices of engineering to human activity we run the risk of building a maze so perfect the mouse can never find the cheese.  Or in other words we can seek to make our processes so ideal that there is no room for free thinking, free action, or for the splashes of genius that are the real catalysts of societal evolution.

Those who stand by the idea that reason and reason alone should shape the future must of necessity seek to abandon tradition; for traditions are not built upon reason.  They are built upon trial and error.  That which doesn’t work is discarded, and that which works becomes accepted through use and time.  However it is impossible to completely disregard tradition.  Every day each of us moves through life acting upon hundreds of unconscious rules and procedures that we don’t think about because they were bred into us by those who raised us.  It is the consensus of a common culture and heritage which makes a people one, E Pluribus Unum.

Those who worship reason believe that they can design a perfect society, a utopia, and that all of their dreams of perfection will stand the light of day.  History proves over and over that those who seek to guide the evolution of man through the evolution of society do not create the heaven on earth they advertise.

Look to the French Revolution which cast down Christ and enshrined Reason as their God.  It didn’t produce the liberty, equality, and fraternity it promised; instead it brought forth Terror, dictatorship, war and ruin.  The Russian Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy of the Romanovs and installed an even more absolute dictatorship that promised a worker’s paradise and delivered the gulags, starvation, and collapse.

When those who think they are wise enough to make everyone’s decisions about everything try to manufacture a society that looks like their computer models they must use coercion to force those who do not accept their vision to act as if they did.  Rules, regulations and red tape bind the human spirit and prevent the growth of the un-designed, the unforeseen, and smother the spark of genius.  As counter-intuitive as it may sound a free society will always be in large measure a tradition bound society. For traditions, though they may seem unbreakable at times, are always evolving while rules are cast in concrete.

Patrick Henry told us, “Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed . . . so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger.”

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Our virtue is embodied and defended in our traditions.  Once these walls have fallen how can our virtue stand unprotected assailed on all sides in what is becoming an alien culture?

The ethics of virtue tells us “virtue is determined by the right reason. Virtue requires the right desire and the right reason. To act from the wrong reason is to act viciously. On the other hand, the agent can try to act from the right reason, but fail because he or she has the wrong desire. The virtuous agent acts effortlessly, perceives the right reason, has the harmonious right desire, and has an inner state of virtue that flows smoothly into action. The virtuous agent can act as an exemplar of virtue to others.”

The virtuous person acts in the way they do because it is their nature.  They have imbibed the virtue of their society and they act naturally as an embodiment of the good.  They have absorbed the traditions and they act as they do without thought, without regard or reliance on reason.  They do not question what is right or wrong.  They know what is right or wrong and act accordingly.  They follow tradition.

The worshipers of reason reject the traditions that have grown up organically in society and design their own.  They reject the good and seek the perfect.  The problem is that perfection is impossible in this life.  Perfection does not belong to the realm of man.  The air castles and utopias of the rationalistic social engineers may look good on paper; however they never materialize into anywhere we can live.

Why is it hell the Progressives will deliver instead of the heaven they promise?   This is what has traditionally happened and that’s the reason.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

The Question is, “What’s the Answer?”

In politics and economics as in everything in life there always seems to be more questions than answers.

Some answers previously shared:

Politically speaking, I have said before in these columns that I no longer consider myself to be a conservative because there is nothing left to conserve.  Instead I consider myself a Liberal in the classical sense: in the tradition of Jefferson and Paine a believer in human liberty.  The once proud name of Liberal has been coopted and fundamentally transformed by the Socialists who have followed the advice of one of their early leaders, Norman Thomas, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

I say it is time to reclaim the name.

In the economic realm, I am unabashedly a believer in capitalism.  The reason for this is that it is the only system ever devised by man that requires freedom as a foundation for it to exist.  Every other economic system ever tried is a centrally-planned command system.  The king, the dictator, or the politburo decides how many widgets the country needs and that is how many widgets the country gets and everyone works at the widget factory.

As a child of the Cold War who had Marx shoved down his throat by Socialist teachers from grade school through college, I rebelled when one of my History professors told me that economics was the lynchpin of History.  It wasn’t until after the fall of the Evil Empire that I was able to appreciate this truth.  It is interesting to note that before we adopted the German style of College education in the 1890s Economics, History and Political Science were all one discipline.  How can we understand any one of them without the others?  One legged stools do not stand very well.  Information in a vacuum is still a vacuum.

So what is the question?

How can America continue to exist politically as a Republic with a constitutionally limited government dedicated to personal liberty, economic freedom and individual opportunity if our central government destroys competition?

The support of competition does not make someone an anarchist as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accuses.

The use of competition as an organizing mechanism in society precludes the use of certain types of coercive regulations.  However, it does not preclude the use regulations or guidelines.  There are important reasons why the negative aspects of this statement have been stressed by the advocates of competition while the positive have been neglected by its opponents.

It is necessary that all parties in the market place must be free to buy and sell at any price which they can agree on. It is also necessary that everyone should be free to produce, sell and buy anything that can be produced or sold.  It is also necessary that everyone has equal and free access into the trades.

Any attempt to control or regulate prices or quantities of commodities deprives competition of its ability to bring about the effective coordination of individual efforts because price changes then are no longer able to correctly act as a reliable guide for an individual’s actions.

This is not an iron-clad rule.  As long as any restrictions placed on all potential producers affect all producers the same and are not used as an indirect method for controlling prices and quantities.  All such restrictions impose extra costs however if they are imposed evenly competition can survive if not thrive.  For example, it is generally agreed that regulations to control the use of poisonous substances, to limit working hours, or to require sanitary conditions are both desirable and necessary.

The only question here is: are the social advantages gained by these regulations greater than the economic costs they impose.  Neither is the existence of social services incompatible with freedom as long as their organization and operation is not designed to restrict competition.

Thus it is shown that the advocates of competition and economic freedom are not anarchists demanding a Laissez-faire anything goes free-for-all.  They admit the need for safety and agree that as long as things are equal things are fair.

The fairness of competition is shown in one of its primary foundational principles: that the owner of private property benefits from all the useful services rendered and is liable for all the damages caused to others by its use.  When it becomes impossible to make the enjoyment of certain services dependent on payment or if the damages from its use are deflected then completion is ineffective as a social organizer because the price system has been disrupted.

Thus both restrictions on the use of property and bailouts which transfer the cost of failure from those who made the bad decisions to the taxpayers cause the market to become unhinged from reality and the creature of government direction.  We see licenses, permits, and other regulations control who can engage in what economic activity.  Look at the stock market.  Does it rise or fall because of innovation?  Do the efforts of people to create and market new products lead the DOW to new heights?  No.  The market rises and falls on whether or not the Fed is going to continue pumping fiat money into the system.

The rules of the game have been so distorted by the government that honest and open competition is almost impossible.  This is why the underground economy flourishes, because it the only place where free competition still exists.  And people will always yearn to be free.  No matter how governments try to chain their citizens down with webs of regulations and nets of laws Gulliver will always struggle and strain against the ties that bind until he breaks free.

It is obvious to all that President Obama has succeeded in his goal of fundamentally transforming America.  For example, his massive stimulus that paid off campaign debts to unions and donors and his mountains of new regulations on everything from banking to coal to student loans. There is the never-ending FED pump which just keeps pouring more money into an already bloated bubble in an effort to make a socialized crippled economy at least look like it works. And of course there is Obamacare which effectively socializes 1/6 of the entire economy.  The combination of these policies breaks the back of competition and sound the death knell of the great experiment in freedom begun in 1776.  Drip by drip, inch by inch we have been moved closer to the goal.  Now it is the Health Care take-over and the flood of fiat currency that are leading to a terminal case of bankruptcy, a systems collapse, and as our Progressive leaders hope the dawn of a new day.

When the invisible hand has been tied and competition weighted in favor of government chosen winners and losers, when the electoral game has been stacked in favor of a two headed Progressive Republicrat party of unlimited power, pride and ambition, when equal justice under the law applies only to citizens and not to officials, the Question is, “What’s the Answer.”

That answer might be, “How long?”

How long before we the American people demand that our nation founded in revolution against tyranny reject the empire and restore the Republic?  We can all see that the emperor has no clothes.  We all know the deck has been stacked, the game rigged, and the winners chosen.  How long before we demand that we are allowed to live in a nation where we will be judged by the content of our character and not by our membership in a protected or favored group, our political contributions or whether or not we have saluted the party line?

As we watch our beloved nation transformed it might be well to remember what our second President John Adams once said, “a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  Then again he also said, “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Please donate any amount you can to help us try to recover legal costs in defending liberty and the right of free speech !