No Business Is Safe from the Left’s Ignorance & Envy

The late Darryl Royal once explained the problem with cockroaches, “It’s not what they eat and tote off, it’s what they fall into and mess up.”

That pretty much sums up the left’s impact on economics. Recently the most visible example was Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez’ attack on Amazon’s plans for a New York City headquarters. The ignorant but passionate congresswoman opposed the project because the company is owned by the world’s richest man and the deal was rife with crony capitalism.

Taylor Jones Hoover Digest

Amazon then dealt a telling blow to New York City’s economic and business climate by giving AOC exactly what she wanted. The company canceled its plans.

In Tulsa city council member Vanessa Hall–Harper is the Ocasio–Cortez of the prairie. Her self–appointed mission is attacking the greatest gift to parents since the invention of the disposal diaper. Namely, the Dollar Store.

For me the Dollar Store was an integral part of parenting. A trip was a reward for good behavior. A spontaneous treat. Or a bribe to end whining. I gave my son his money and let him pick whatever he wanted. (A dangerous practice in Target or Walmart.)

And who cares if he quickly tired of the toy or it broke, because IT ONLY COST A DOLLAR!

Meanwhile, HH sees that dollar price tag as a savage assault on low–income Tulsans through using predatory pricing.

HH’s crackpot theories on the market and competition are nothing new as Bernie, AOC and Fauxcahontas demonstrate. What’s new is the platform she’s given to share the ignorance. If ‘The Nation’ or ‘In These Times’ had profiled her fight against dollar deodorant, mouthwash and Mentos it would’ve been no surprise.

But this story was in the Washington Post. And the WoePost’s national business reporter, Rachel Siegel, was mixing her own anti–business incompetence with that of the politician. Sounding like an Ulta shopper, she asserts Dollar Stores “trade in economic despair” and “undercut grocery stores” on everyday items “pushing them out of business.” Then she relays the risible claim that Dollar Stores aren’t “just a response to poverty — but a cause.”

After reading that you’d think Dollar Stores were a division of Trump Industries colluding with Russia to drive Safeway out of business.

It never occurs to Siegel or HH that the money management saves on not having to mark prices is offset by the lower disposable income of the customer base. That’s why Dollar Stores aren’t found next to the Apple Store. Management can’t afford the rent.

There’s a Dollar Store in my suburb. The county is in the top 20 most wealthy and the median household income is $126,000. The store is located next to a Food Lion that shows no signs of packing up to leave and there’s not been an outbreak of poverty or dispair since it opened.

Not only is the WoePost angry about Dollar Store pricing, it has issues with inventory and display, “Most Dollar Generals don’t sell produce”. Those that tried to appease the ignorati were condemned because “grapes, apples, avocados, potatoes [are] sandwiched between bags of fried pork skins and cases of Michelob Ultra.”

Tulsa tried to fight capitalism with cronyism and funded a grocery store through a “development grant”, but that store closed in 2014 driven out of business by dollar balloons.

Naturally the solution to combat “geographic privilege” is more crony capitalism. This time the tax dollars go to a pair of subsidy farmers who have never operated a grocery store in their lives.

That would be a sign if anyone in city hall were paying attention.

A business model that offers limited income shoppers a limited inventory with a limited price isn’t good enough for ideologues. In the left’s fantasy economics, the only reason Dean & Deluca aren’t in the ghetto is because the Dollar Store got their first.

Libertarian titans of commerce who believe their support of come–as–you–are bathrooms and donations to ‘pride’ parades they never attend will spare them the insensate wrath of the leftist mob are pulling the wool over their own eyes. Amazon and Dollar Store aren’t outliers.

They’re a harbinger.

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California Reinvents Medical Tourism

Until very recently medical tourism was traveling from your home to find less expensive medical care, usually overseas. Medical tourists were leaving the warm embrace of the American Medical Association and the FDA to journey far from home. There were three motivations: Elective plastic surgery not covered by insurance, wanting to try an experimental procedure not covered or getting surgery done without benefit of any insurance at all.

That’s why breasts were being lifted in Brazil and hips replaced in India. Particularly courageous patients scheduled foreign heart transplants. I know all about this because I was almost a medical tourist myself. A few years ago we had what was laughingly called health insurance. Our deductible was so high you had to have been on life support for a week before coverage started.

I had a sports hernia, which meant the problem was on my dime. While pondering options, I devised an effective, temporary solution for the gym. After carefully folding a washcloth over the leak, I’d wrap myself with a giant Ace bandage.

Frankly, I liked my new slim waistline with only a hint of bulge in the intestinal wall. There were days when the Ace came loose and I trailed spandex out of my shorts like toilet paper stuck on a shoe, but it was a small price to pay.

The wife didn’t agree. Janet said it was gross and told me to quit procrastinating and get the hernia fixed. The medical tourism broker’s choice was Thailand or Oklahoma City. I couldn’t see paying $1,000 for an airline ticket on top of the procedure when the Okies were so much closer. Even then the procedure would set me back about $4,500.

That was still too much. In the end I opted for Dr. Amazon and bought a 12–dollar truss, which didn’t make me look as slim, but kept my lower tract in place.

California politicians have a proposal before the legislature that would totally eliminate my worries about cost. Instead of patients traveling overseas and paying for medical care, California politicos will have foreign patients coming to the Golden State and it won’t be to consult with me about trusses.

After the airline ticket or the coyote’s bill is paid financial worries are over. California taxpayers will cover the rest.

That’s just one of the disasters awaiting passage of what the LA Times terms “government–run universal healthcare.”

The Times description: “SB 562, would establish a publicly run healthcare plan that would cover everyone living in California, including those without legal immigration status…The state would pay for all medical expenses, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care.”

Talk about no “pre–existing” condition worries. One doesn’t even have to be a pre–illness resident. Just make your way from the airport or border crossing to the hospital and watch the doctors scrub up. California welcomes Anchor Babies and Anchor Patients!

Lefty politicians claim the program will be paid for by what is nebulously described as “broad–based revenue.” This sounds ominous to me. California’s tribal Democrats oppose rounding up illegal aliens, but they have no qualms about corralling taxpayers and squeezing them until their wallets pop out like hernias.

Supporters of the bill were the usual suspects: Unions looking for guaranteed taxpayer–financed positions with permanent job security and clueless members of “Our Revolution,” a Bernie Bros conglomeration.

The support of the Saunders’ crowd is particularly interesting because Vermont tried a version of single–payer healthcare and it was so expensive it collapsed before it was implemented, which must be a record of some sort.

In Vermont the bill was passed and prior to the program’s kickoff the legislature got cold feet and commissioned a financial projection study. It found the cost would be $4.9 billion a year, which would double the state budget. To pay for it payroll taxes would have to be increased 11.5 percent, individual income taxes would jump 9 percent and a border wall would be built to keep rich people from fleeing to cheaper states.

The governor and legislature were so taken aback the plan was shelved.

Cost estimates for the Golden Fleece, I mean Golden State plan put the yearly total at more than double (there’s that word again) the state’s current budget of $180 billion. But there’s no need for California single–payer fanaticists to worry, their legislature never learns. They plan to seize the $50 to $100 billion the private sector currently spends on employee health insurance and then wait for the rest of the money to turn up.

In the meantime many trips are anticipated at taxpayer expense. Legislative “fact finders” are planning trips to Canada, Taiwan and Maryland to learn “best practices.”

The only place they won’t visit is Vermont.

It’s Cyber Monday Every Day at the USPTO!

Amazon Prime users know what a great deal the program is for frequent online shoppers, but the civilian benefits pale in comparison to the windfall government workers can reap. Take the US Patent and Trademark Office. It has an “award winning” teleshopping program for both full and part–time patent examiners.

Employees, AKA personal shoppers, can browse from the comfort of their home while still claiming a 40–hour week.

working-for-the-governmentSure they call it “teleworking” but we know what’s going on. The Commerce Department’s Inspector General does, too. It found employees with the highest number of “unsupported” working hours — can you say Amazon Lightening Deals? — also had the highest number of overtime hours claimed.

How’s that for a cashback bonus?

It’s true these employees may not have been shopping while claiming to work. They might have been watching porn. That’s such a problem among government employees rumor has it when California porn sites shut down to protest a law requiring condoms, productivity in government offices skyrocketed.

We do know whatever these patent examiners were examining during the so–called workday, it usually wasn’t patents.

Sure there was an investigation and you’ll never guess what happened! Only you’ll have to click on the link below to find out. It’s worth it because you’ll also learn what happened when I contacted the investigating office to learn the final outcome.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/us-patent-office-trademark-office-inspector-general/2016/12/03/id/761981/

 

 

Now Humans Are Just Along for the Ride

Google self driving car lucky buttonI have seen humanity’s future and it is cargo. Not shipping cargo, but being cargo. One cannot pick up the newspaper without discovering a new area of transportation where human control will soon be superfluous.

I don’t know whether to blame the auto–pilot or Roomba.

So much of flying today takes place while the aircraft is on auto that some safety experts believe the human pilots are at a disadvantage — due to lack of hands–on practice — when they have to seize control in an emergency.

AP reports Government Motors is working on a self–driving car in cooperation with Lyft that will automatically apply for a government bailout when the car is involved in a crash. Even better, if any of the humans at fault are illegal, the car’s CPU will file an emergency asylum request.

Google is hard at work on a self–driving car just perfect for anyone that’s ever considered human cannonball as a career option. The control freaks there are lobbying Congress to grant the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “special, expedited permission” to allow it to sell cars that don’t have steering wheels or brake pedals.

Even if you refuse to relinquish your steering wheel until its pried from your cold, dead, flattened hands — programmers can still affect your driving experience. Daimler, a major auto manufacturer from the country that gave the world the Panzer, is part of an umbrella body in Europe working on the self–driving truck.

AFP says the concept is called “’truck platooning’ similar to concepts with self-driving cars” only there will be two to three trucks driving in a convoy where the lead truck determines the route, speed and who gets mashed on the way — much like the elephant march in the movie Dumbo.

Think of a traffic jam that has the power to move independently and is never cleared.

Melanie Schultz van Haegen, a cheerful EU bureaucrat, speaks with certainty when she says, “Truck platooning will ensure cleaner and more efficient transport. Self–driving vehicles also contribute to road safety because most accidents are caused by human failure.” Meaning regardless of how it occurs, any time a “truck platoon” runs over your car, it’s your insurance rates that will be increasing.

There’s no refuge on the ocean either. The Telegraph has discovered Rolls’ marine unit is developing “drone ships.” These automated leviathans are destined to be controlled from land bases as they cruise from port to port. Rolls predicts the S.S. GetOutofMyWay will be in commercial use by the end of this decade.

“Sensors such as radar, lasers and computer programs will allow the ships to pilot themselves, with shore-based captains taking over if there is a problem or for complex docking procedures.”

Don’t let that reference to “complex docking procedures” get your hopes up for maintaining a modicum of control in your robot vehicle. The Israelis are working on taking that away, too.

Israel21c found the Unitronics Group is automating parking garages. Here’s how it works: If the programmers at Google approve and you’re allowed to go there in your self–driving vehicle, the car is directed into a 20’ X 20’ entry bay. At which point you need to step lively, because a “Unitronics robot scoots under the car, engages the wheels and lifts the vehicle” into it’s parking spot.

No speed–demon valet parking attendants. No cellphone–under–the–ear idiot banging their door into your car. No car burglaries.

To retrieve the auto you swipe a credit card through the terminal and if your carbon footprint for that day is low enough, the car takes you home.

No wonder the Mail Online predicts if current trends continue — lack of exercise, gluttony and the common belief that a 16 oz. bag of Fritos is a single serving — “by 2025 18 percent of the world’s men and 21 percent of women will be obese.”

You may not even be able to use a Lark scooter to get to your car, if your waist is too large. But tech can solve that problem. Amazon is building robots that can load even the biggest cargo into the proper transportation. And Prime members will be able to choose between headfirst or feet first.

Obama Internet Giveaway May Open Pandora’s Box of Porn

Porn hookPresident Obama has a new administration initiative, supported by tax dollars, to close the Internet pornography gap. The divide is caused by ill–gotten gains that give too many Americans fast, broadband access to the booming porn industry; while other Americans are reduced to lurking in seedy newsstands, sneaking peeks between the pages of lurid magazines and hoping the clerk doesn’t notice their free browsing.

ConnectHome “will bring high–speed broadband access to over 275,000 low-income households across the US.”

That’s good news for pornographers. They can always use new customers. Thirty percent of all data transferred on the Internet is porn according to The Huffington Post. While porn sites have more visitors than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

HuffPost also contends poor people are already online and elevating their heart rate. Mississippi is dead last in per capita income, yet this state leads the nation in average time — almost 12 minutes — spent per porn site.

There are a number of possible explanations. The extra time could be due to initial stupefaction on the part of Mississippi viewers or the Internet connection could be so turgid that viewers don’t want to waste time waiting for a new site to load. It’s even possible there’s a single Internet terminal in the library and viewers have to hot–seat the only chair.

Certainly closing the porn gap is not the official reason for the program, even though it’s likely to be the result.

Once again “it’s the children.” Cnet.com explains, “The effort will initially connect nearly 200,000 children to the Web.” Or as administration flacks put it, “While many middle-class U.S. students go home to Internet access, allowing them to do research, write papers, and communicate digitally with their teachers and other students, too many lower-income children go unplugged every afternoon when school ends.”

Still there is nothing preventing low–income students from logging on after they finish their free school breakfast or doing the work in study hall. They could even join a homework club and do the assignment after school before trudging home to their www.desert.

But this is an administration that discourages initiative and responsibility and encourages lining up in the freebie queue.

Yet the clichéd reason isn’t true, as we’ve come to expect from Obama. The Tennessean looked at Nashville and found that of the 5,200 homes targeted, only half contained any children, school–age or otherwise.

Administration dreamers no doubt believe the students will be spending the majority of their time on LetsAskArchimedes.com and not joining the epidemic of teens exposed to pornography. Those unable to resist the temptation to browse on the wild side have a grim fate in store, courtesy of Obama.

Webroot.com writes, “Pornography viewing by teens disorients them during the developmental phase…when they are most vulnerable to uncertainty about their sexual beliefs and moral values. A significant relationship also exists among teens between frequent pornography use and feelings of loneliness, including major depression.”

Parents concerned about the feds opening a sewer in the living room will discover blocking software and other parental monitors — assuming the kids have parents who will monitor — add additional cost to this “free” program.

Obama personally announced ConnectHome in a visit to Durant, OK. There the hapless Department of Agriculture (?) will be giving $50,000 to the Choctaw Nation for it’s web–in–the–wigwam program.

The amount is small, but Air Force One touched down exactly 2.2 miles from the Choctaw Casino Resort, an Indian gaming establishment that grossed an estimated $461,666,666.00 in 2010 according to NewsOK.

Since the Choctaw Nation claims “Almost all the profits of the tribe’s business enterprises are poured back into services for tribal members…” wouldn’t 50K for Internet be included?

The rest of the 27–city program is being paid for by various Internet providers and cellphone companies that know which side their bread is regulated on, but don’t expect ConnectHome to stay tax dollar free.

The FCC is already talking about expanding the Lifeline program to pay for Internet service. Lifeline is a spectacularly wasteful and incompetent federal program I’ve written about here and we pay for it to the tune of $2.2 billion yearly through cellphone taxes.

The Boston Globe quotes Jascha Franklin-Hodge, the city’s chief information officer, “Many students, especially lower-income students, may be able to get online in school, but when they go home, for reasons of affordability and access to equipment, they’re not able to get online.”

It may turn out those kids were the lucky ones after all.

Introducing another social pathology to join all the others low–income homes already suffer from hardly seems like an improvement, but that’s the way government works as it “helps.” Meanwhile the rest of us can sit back and watch Obamaphone meet Obamanet.

Federal Bureaucrats Misbehave & Taxpayers Are Punished

Thousands of federal bureaucrats are home every day during working hours. They surf the web — although presumably not this column — shop, nap, drink or look for Lois Lerner’s lost email, all while collecting their paycheck at our expense.

It’s a continuing scandal and I have details in my Newsmax column, link below.

Incidentally, my column has been moved and I think it’s harder for the casual reader to find me. So I would ask that if you like the column please post a link on your Facebook page or send a tweet or tell people it contains the cure for Ebola. Anything to boost readership.

Thanks.

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/Federal-Workers-Paid-Leave/2014/10/23/id/602641/