Thursday, January 30, 2014

Immigration Breakdown

In the midst of the WSJ editorial today lavishing support on the GOP for plans to bring an immigration policy bill to the floor of the House in 2014, was a lovely nugget that we need more "lower-skilled workers who can help fill the labor shortages in many parts of the country."

We have labor shortages in America?  Who knew?  We should tell this nation's unemployed, especially those who have dropped out of the workforce, and let them have a crack at these unfilled jobs.

Keep in mind, that the ranks of unemployed are not having any trouble feeding themselves... as you consider the next line in the same WSJ piece:
Agriculture is among the worst off, and millions of crop acres go fallow or are left to rot due to too few farm workers.
The farmers can't get enough workers to harvest the food, but at the same time we have so much food that even those without a job have enough to eat... sounds like we don't need that extra food at all... so why should we bother seeking migrant workers to staff these fields?

As I've said before, the best immigration policy I can think of would be to encourage as many foreign countries as possible to seek freedom and liberty.  We would all rise on that tide, and many foreign nationals could find success in their own homeland... and we can stop having nonsensical arguments like those in today's WSJ.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Plank: Public Employee Unions

As I went through American History in my schooling, I was instructed that unions grew in the United States for the noble concept of protecting the downtrodden employee from the mean and evil corporate boss who was trying to take vicious advantage of the common man.  The lesson would not be completed until we heard about the Triangle Factory FIre in 1911.

Ok.  So if that's what unions are here for... why do we have public employee unions?

Public employees work for the government.  The government is made up of the people.  The leaders of the government are elected by the people.  The wages of the employees are paid by taxes on the people.

Two thoughts:
  1. Public employee unions operate in opposition to the people and the people's representatives.  I.e.: they are fighting with their own neighbors
  2. Public employee unions are operating against the interests of their own members, by increasing the costs and burdens required to provide public services.
Position Statement: Public employee unions should be abolished as they are illogical by nature.

Remove the Veil of Income Tax Withholdings

Has anyone challenged in the federal courts the laws requiring an employer to withhold taxes from their employees paycheck and remit those payments to the government?

The requirements for income tax withholdings began with the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943.  Overturning this withholding requirement would push tax remittances back to the people who are being taxed.  The blinders we all have currently as to the amounts paid, and the separate line items we must pay for, would be removed.  The idea that we receive a "gift" from the feds each year when we receive a tax refund would be wiped out.  See this article from The American Thinker, which approaches the issue from a legislative direction.

In several searches on the web, I haven't yet encountered references to any cases that challenge the requirements placed on employers by these tax withholding policies.  Yet it seems this would be ripe for a challenge.

  • The employers are accomplishing the withholding at their own cost
  • The employers are accomplishing the remittance at their own cost
  • The employers are serving as an agent of the federal government, impacting the natural relationship forged with employees
I would think the first two bullets above would fall under the 5th Amendment, as private property taken for public use without just compensation.  The third bullet, and I think the most compelling, might reasonably be considered a 1st Amendment claim...

Washington State, being one of the several states without an income tax, would seem an excellent place from which to launch the lawsuit, as the issue would be limited to federal withholdings, and no separate state laws would enter into the picture to muddy things.

This in and of itself is a very appealing reason to run a company.  I would love to launch this lawsuit.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Questioning Authority

I opened a new tab on my Chrome browser this afternoon... and saw something unexpected at the bottom of the page...

In case you can't make that out:

"Your chance to ask the President a question"

...which resolves to this page plugging President Obama's upcoming State of the Union address and his policy agenda.

Google is now quite openly serving as a propaganda machine for Obama... while at the same time allowing me to publicly criticize them on one of their products, Blogger...  It's a trade off.

Lyrical Writing

Burt Bacharach appeared as the author of an op-ed in the Opinion page of today's WSJ, about compensation for songwriters in the digital music era.

As songwriters, we want these new digital services to succeed. But they exist because of our music—and those who create the music deserve to be fairly compensated. I am not sure a young writer can survive in the online and mobile world restrained by a compensation regime that couldn't fathom "streams" that come from "clouds." We live in a free-market economy and should be able to negotiate rates that sustain a marketplace where both services and creators can thrive.


[...] I am not sure a young writer can survive in the online and mobile world restrained by a compensation regime that was created when the only thing "streaming" from "clouds" were those raindrops keep fallin' on my head. [...]

I'm jus' sayin'.  It is his song after all, and Oscar-winning at that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I am Post-Abortive Life

Roe v. Wade was decided on January 22nd, 1973.

I was born later that same year.

I was a choice.

      The right one.

            Choose life.

40 years ago today, seven men on the Supreme Court decided in favor of a case presented to them from a 27 year-old, unknown, post-abortive lawyer, Sarah Weddington. That case was Roe v. Wade and, along with its companion Doe v. Bolton, it legalized abortion in all 9 months of pregnancy, for any reason, in the United States.


After repeated encounters with stories of the declining quality of the education doled out in our public schools and the influence of the Glenns (Glenn Reynolds @ Instapundit and Glenn Beck @ The Blaze TV) I've gradually taken an interest in homeschooling.  Could I accept sending my kids to public schools?  Could my wife and I manage the homeschooling effort?

A huge unknown, that last one.  The greatest obstacle I can imagine is gaining the knowledge ourselves, so that we can impart it to our children.  I know there are plenty of sources and good curricula out there... but gosh it would be easier if our knowledge of Latin, etc., existed at all prior to trying to teach it to our kids...

So I've started to take an interest in the concepts of classical education, particularly from a Lutheran perspective.  It is eye opening.

The most interesting thing that I have learned so far is how much extraordinarily interesting information is out there that our modern popular society simply ignores on a regular basis.  And all of that information is available to all of us at anytime.

Self-learning.  It is a very viable solution.

A post on the American Conservative about homeschooling, which I found via Instapundit, began with a great anecdote:
Years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, a Catholic priest friend listened to several of us grip [sic] about how bad the homilies were in most parishes, and how lousy was the catechesis. He told us that we were absolutely right, but that we didn’t have the right to complain. “All of you can get on Amazon right now and order the kind of libraries that Aquinas could only have dreamed of, and have them delivered to your front doors within a week,” he said. “There are so many resources out there if you really want to teach yourself about the faith. Don’t be so passive.”
Don't be so passive.  Get out there and feed yourself.

Selfishness in Public

Peggy Noonan's contribution this past weekend took American politicians to task for behaving primarily in their own interests, rather than the best interest of the country.  Michael Medved picked up the conversation as well on his radio program yesterday afternoon.

Question: do either of these two, or any of us for that matter, believe that we are more civic minded than selfish?  Is Noonan or Medved placing their livelihood at risk to run for Congress in 2014 to ensure the installation of a better type of person in office?

Answer: No, I thought not.

Step into the fray, people, if you have a better solution than those that have already volunteered and then were approved by us in the population.  Don't expect others to fight on your behalf while you sit comfy and secure in your home / life / job on the fringes.