I grew up in Virginia Beach, the largest beach town in America, and I think guards there make something in the $10-$15/hr range. If that.
I am giving the California life guards a bit of a hard time. Surf rescue can be a deadly serious business and there is quite a lot of responsibility associated with the job. Lord knows these guys do more work than a lot of administrators back in City Hall who are probably paid even more. But retiring at 50 with a $100K pension? Can’t go for that.
Newport Beach’s wealth masks the municipality’s self-inflicted fiscal problems, said Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, a former county treasurer whose district includes the city. Full-time lifeguards hired before November 2012 are eligible to retire with full pensions when they turn 50. The city has the highest per-capita unfunded liability among Orange County’s 34 municipalities, Moorlach said. Eight city lifeguard managers made more than $100,000 in 2012, according to compensation data on state Controller John Chiang’s website. In all, 357 of the city’s 1,234 employees were paid more than $100,000 that year, the data show.
For more see Against Crony Capitalism.org
The wealth of nations has increased by astronomical amounts over the last 2 decades. Literally billions of people have been brought out of poverty thanks to economic freedom. It is as if once the Soviet Union died, once the scourge of international socialism was utterly and completely decimated both economically and intellectually, humanity couldn’t help but lurch forward.
The Berlin Wall “death strip.”
Actually that is what happened.
Sadly we have gone in the opposite direction over the last 2 decades. Instead of freeing our economy we have wrapped it ever more in welfare state red tape. We have regulations on top of regulations on top of regulations. We make it harder for businesses to start. We make it harder for businesses to hire. We promise completely unrealistic pensions to government workers which are paid for by workers and businesses and crush the finances of our great cities. We nationalize car companies. We bail out banks which should be dead. Our government picks winners and losers of all kinds in the economy (and is almost always wrong – at great cost). In short, the United States which for so long was a beacon of liberty and economic freedom has dimmed dramatically. A system of crony capitalism has taken hold. The state (often the corporate state) is ubiquitous.
We must again embrace liberty and economic freedom. This is the way to an American Renaissance. We can again lead the world. We can again be a source of hope to the world.
You know, REAL hope.
(From The Wall Street Journal)
It’s not hard to see why the U.S. is losing ground. Even marginal tax rates exceeding 43% cannot finance runaway government spending, which has caused the national debt to skyrocket. The Obama administration continues to shackle entire sectors of the economy with regulation, including health care, finance and energy. The intervention impedes both personal freedom and national prosperity.
But as the U.S. economy languishes, many countries are leaping ahead, thanks to policies that enhance economic freedom—the same ones that made the U.S. economy the most powerful in the world. Governments in 114 countries have taken steps in the past year to increase the economic freedom of their citizens. Forty-three countries, from every part of the world, have now reached their highest economic freedom ranking in the index’s history.
This post reprinted from Against Crony Capitalism
A couple of days ago we wrote about robots developed by Boston Dynamics – funded by DARPA – which may some day soon be deployed as an adjunct and perhaps even one day as a replacement for human soldiers. Scary stuff.
On the flip side (so to speak) comes this story of how robots will soon make our lives better. (At least for those of us who like burgers.) A company in California has developed a machine which which makes 360 high quality hamburgers an hour. It makes these burgers perfectly each time in clean conditions and without fry cooks sneezing on the food.
Please note that these robots are only cost effective if the minimum wage is raised significantly.
So keep calling for a higher minimum wage unions. I know it’s tempting to try to bring all of these folks under the organized labor banner. It would be a huge prize if it were not for the fact that many who currently work in fast food will soon find themselves without a job at all if the minimum wage is raised.
(From The Libertarian Republic)Against Crony Capitalism.org
But don’t think that the makers of the burger machine are necessarily anti-worker. Their website reads: “The issue of machines and job displacement has been around for centuries and economists generally accept that technology like ours actually causes an increase in employment. The three factors that contribute to this are 1. the company that makes the robots must hire new employees, 2. the restaurant that uses our robots can expand their frontiers of production which requires hiring more people, and 3. the general public saves money on the reduced cost of our burgers. This saved money can then be spent on the rest of the economy. We take these issues very seriously so please feel free to tell us how we can help with this transition.”
One of the best videos I have seen in a long time. This is what I’m talking about. Al Sharpton (the MSNBC designated African-American mouth piece for this White House) goes to Chicago and gets an earful from a vastly African American audience which is fed up with the Chicago political system, with Al Sharpton, and to at least some degree with this president.
I found this video deeply encouraging. See more at Against Crony Capitalism.org
As we have said in the pastMSNBC is what modern propaganda looks like. Media Matters issues talking points (often with the input of the Obama White House) and MSNBC spits them back out. (To a smaller and smaller audience it should be added.)
I’d call most of what MSNBC does infotainment if it was either informative or entertaining, but it’s neither. It is a mouthpiece.
(And yes Fox is often a mouthpiece too. Though as of late much less so. During the Iraq War it was ridiculous and was nearly as bad as MSNBC, at times arguably worse.)
We at ACC are for capitalism because it is a liberating force. It makes lives better. It provides opportunity. It offers escape from despair.
The big government Marxist critique of the 20th Century is death. Centrally planned projects, with an emphasis on state approved “experts” is a dead end.
That is actually kind. Perhaps “societally and intellectually suicidal” would be more accurate than “dead end.”
If one wants people to live poorly, to die early, to feel more pain than need be, to live below their potential spiritually, intellectually, and economically with a longing always in their heart for something better but which can not be obtained, then by all means support socialism.
If on the other hand one believes in the human spirit and the dignity of all humankind, I’d suggest learning about how real capitalism, free voluntary markets, make the world a better place.
If one does this however one may have a sudden urge to feed one’s Che Guevara t-shirt into the garbage disposal. So be warned.
One other thing. Before one becomes too enamored with the “noble savage” idea. That cellular communication makes the rain forest of New Guinea less “real.” I say tell that to the mother who can now treat her daughter who suffers with typhoid, or the village chief who can now upload illegal logging around his home to the world.
(From Technology Review)
The project was set up by a team from the University of California, Berkeley. The resulting network is now operated by a tiny stand-alone telecommunications company run by a local NGO, with a laptop for local billing and a satellite connection to the rest of the world. The network relies on Swedish phone numbers because no local telecommunications company would provide them.
Read more at Against Crony Capitalism
These companies probably legitimately care about Internet freedom, and they are probably sick of being pushed around by the Feds, but this letter has everything to do with business. If people can’t trust that their Gmail is secure (and boy is it not) this will eventually affect Google’s bottom line. If people think that doing business with Microsoft also means giving the NSA a back door into the heart of their enterprise, people will stop buying Microsoft.
Tech is arguably the most important industry in the United States. It would be a shame to flush the Silicon Valley down the toilet, or turn it into some wing of the global security apparatus (which is pretty much the same as flushing it down the toilet.)
We are very pleased to see this open letter.
The companies behind the letter are AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo. They set out a list of five principles at the ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com website including (1) no bulk collection of user data; (2) independent judicial review of intelligence agency demands, (3) transparent reports on what is being compelled; (4) no country firewalls against cross border data; and (5) a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) among countries to prevent conflicts.
Read more at Against Crony Capitalism.org
In the attached interview Glenn Greenwald (the former Guardian reporter who has worked closely with Edward Snowden) speaks about the danger of a surveillance state, and the complicity of the #oldmedia. Where the press once was at least somewhat adversarial it has become a lapdog. In many ways it is mere propaganda for the crony capitalist state.
Greenwald also speaks of the need for a free Internet, and why privacy must be respected for human beings to be truly free. (In this country the 4th Amendment should protect us from a ubiquitous surveillance state but the government has tossed aside this part of the Constitution it seems.)
“But if we know we’re being watched all the time, then we’re going to engage in behavior that is acceptable to other people, meaning we’re going to conform to orthodoxies and norms. And that’s the real menace of a ubiquitous surveillance state: It breeds conformity; it breeds a kind of obedient citizenry, on both a societal and an individual level. That’s why tyrannies love surveillance, but it’s also why surveillance literally erodes a huge part of what it means to be a free individual.”
Think what you want about Greenwald and Edward Snowden – and Snowden camping out in Russia was a mistake – they, in the words of a very socially conservative friend of mine – “did us a favor.”
In the interview I am particularly taken by how much Greenwald is a citizen of the Net. Many of the experiences he has had online, pushing personal political assumptions, learning about new cultures and new ideas, engaging in real debate outside of his insulated world, are similar to my own and to the experiences of millions of other people around the world.
It is the marketplace of ideas, and it must be defended.
See more at Against Crony Capitalism.org
We couldn’t be more for this. In fact, last year we suggested a very similar idea. We said:
Detroit is crashing badly. It can’t pay its bills. It basically can’t even function. It has little to lose at this point. How about we declare Detroit an economic “free-zone.” No taxes, private everything, and see how it does. I’m not kidding. Why not let the market do its thing and revitalize the city, or at the very least help it convert from open economic sore, to a net contributor. It sits right at the Canadian border. This is a huge advantage for trade. What does it have to lose?
If Detroit is able to do what Senator Paul suggests Detroit will bloom.
Detroiters, it’s right there for the taking.
This post appeared at Against Crony Capitalism
Obamacare was crafted in the back rooms of Congress. Congressional staffers and industry lobbyists scribbled away, writing the massive law deep into the night, night after night. Everyone wanted to make sure they got what they wanted. The insurance industry and Big Pharma made sure they got new mandates forcing Americans to buy their products. The politicians got lots and lots of new taxes wedged skillfully into the nooks and crannies of the bill.
I thought that families that made under $250k/year weren’t going to see their tax bills rise. I am pretty sure that’s what the president said.
But I suppose we’ve learned by now that what this president says, and what he does are 2 different things.
For more visit Against Crony Capitalism