The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Jobs”

We are what we Worship: Idols and their Makers

by Uri Brito

John Calvin

Calvin c. 1554.

Human beings are a marketable people. Those who shop around for us see our lifestyles and develop an entire strategy aimed at purchasing our wants at an exceedingly rapid speed. But not only are we easily bought, we are also very creative. We are idol-makers, to quote Calvin’s famous line. We are industrious, and the consequences of our hard work are a boost to the Baal factories and stock.

Unfortunately, this type of productivity is not encouraging. St. John quietly, but forcefully exhorted us in the last verse of I John to keep ourselves from idols. We have not heeded the apostle’s words. We have approached the idols and bargained with them about producing an entire new line of idol fashion and idol currency. We take the idol money and invest it into our own companies. We are good at what we do. In fact, we produce the best idols in town. We make them in all colors and shapes. We sell them at a discount during the Christmas holidays. All we want is for everyone to share in our pleasures. We make idols and the idols make us. We are what we worship. The more we consume the more marketable we become for the more sophisticated idol seller. We become like the gods. We treasure their style. They roam around speechless and blind, and we perceive that to be the new fad.

Read more…

The Pseudo-Capitalist Border Patrol: With friends like this the free market doesn’t need any more enemies

The debate is raging over whether the latest immigration bill is an amnesty for illegal immigrants, but one part is clear: The legislation would forgive businesses that have employed those immigrants illegally.

via Immigration bill grants amnesty to employers of illegals; no prosecution for bogus IDs – Washington Times.

open borderIt is amazing to see the same people who, day and night, scream and moan against business regulation and Obama’s socialism, suddenly act as if this is some sort of “smoking gun” proving the evil nature of immigration reform.

Restricting who a business can hire is an inefficient regulation that hurts consumers. I can’t say as a Christian that I condone breaking the law in such as case, but then, if this law passes, the lawbreaking will be dealt with by the highest civil authority. Paul’s directions in Romans 13 will have been followed. Read more…

Obama’s State of the Union, Minimum Wage: More Bricks with Less Straw

Scale 3

Capitalism is not a system to be promoted or evaded.  Capitalism is a fact.  Capitalism is the way it works.  Capitalism means: when the scale goes up on one side, it goes down on the other.  Our love of law making to fix economics is the obsession with the irrational idea that you can push down on both sides of the scale at once without breaking the scale.

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the president said he wants us to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.

Hurray, we can buy more stuff!  Like… apples.

If I have an apple, and you want to buy it, will you be surprised if at the register I tell you, “They’ve raised the price to nine dollars.” You say, “Is that what you want to sell it for?”

No, I say. No one can afford to buy them now. So I am having to throw out all my apples as they go bad.

When two people are trading at a price they negotiate for themselves like grown ups, and the buyer is forced to buy at a higher price, it will hurt the seller. The seller cannot sell $9 apples. Since the buyer is forced to buy them at a high price, he won’t buy, so the seller is harmed. But don’t get confused about the analogy, listen carefully to who the buyer and seller are.

In work and wage – the business owner is the buyer. Stores are hoping to buy some hourly work from a worker.  The worker is the seller. Of course, we are used to thinking that workers are victims.  But they are only victims where they aren’t free.  Like slaves in Egypt. Rather, in a free society, workers are business people who sell labor to businesses that buy the product of work.  Sellers, though, are the ones hurt by the intrusion of a minimum hike. Stores can’t afford as much work so the seller (the worker) is the one who is hurt – and that means higher minimums would hurt workers.  As we said, in non-free societies, workers become victims.  Minimum wage is a mathematical Pharaonic brick policy

It is simple math – more money for the same work equals less work for the same money. They will cut your work.

Suddenly, the business doesn’t have a choice, they have to charge workers nine dollars an hour (if they were to get that hike through congress). But they would have to alter something to deal with the effects of such a change, because they would have to pay more without more income. This means less hours assigned to workers. More bricks… less straw. The extra money has to come from somewhere. It will come from the hours of workers. It will come from the quality of products they can afford to buy from vendors to sell to the public. The higher minimum will obstruct the people who have jobs to offer; it will starve the people who are hungry for jobs. Companies will offer less jobs. The higher minimum wage hurts the very workers it purports to protect.

When the scale goes up on one side, it goes down on the other.

By the way, we are promised you would have more cash in your pocket. But those dollars would be spent by you in some store that now would have to comply with a higher minimum.  Stores don’t just pass on these “savings” to their workers – they also pass them on to their customers.  The most logical place for the business to recoup the difference in P&L is from you.  The prices will go up.  The hours worked by workers will go down. (So customer service will incidentally hurt as well).

And this movement is understandable, because the market IS free in a way, even under duress of big government intrusion. Capitalism is a fact. The market may get told what to do, but it will retain a mathematical balance on its own.  Bernoulli tells us that if you squeeze the back end of the toothpaste tube, paste will come out the other. You may call that tightening up the system.  But you could just as well call it bleeding the system. When the scale goes up on one side, it goes down on the other.

Listen, friends. If you make hourly wages, and if you make minimum, then I hope you can do better and better for yourself. But know that pushing down on businesses is not going to hurt the businesses.  It will hurt you, the worker.  If you make minimum wage, you need to know that raising the minimum wage is one of the worst things that could happen to you.  You will get a bump, but then you will get laid off.  Or just cut back.  And then the prices will rise against your cut-hour paycheck.

We could stop voting for Pharaoh’s mathemagicians.  But that would mean finding the candidate who promised less stuff.  And since we don’t understand the scale, we think that promising less government enforced and funded stuff means we would get less stuff.  But less intrusion means more freedom.  Less intrusion means improvement of general welfare.  And we love to hear big promises.

Pharaoh makes big buildings. And he promises big promises. But whenever you hear Pharaoh promising you so many more bricks, remember that you’re the one making them.

The President has the power to buy voters and everyone knows it

This is an excellent analysis of how much can be wasted over wishful thinking. But it also pretty much spells out the producers v. dependents scenario that most Conservative/Libertarians fear (which I guess slipped through in the article because it was off topic). I’d love to get the writer in a room and ask him some questions about what he thinks this all means.

Romney advisers say it was impossible to compete against Obama’s huge war chest. They also envy his ability to leverage the presidency for his campaign. Young voters were told about new provisions for student loans and Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, an issue that appeals to young voters. Hispanic voters were wooed by the president’s plan to waive the deportation of children of illegal immigrants. One Romney aide also included the much-debated changes to welfare requirements as a policy aimed to win over African-American voters. “It was like they had a calendar,” said one Romney aide. With each month, the Obama administration rolled out a new policy for a different segment of their coalition they hoped to attract.

via Why Romney was surprised to lose: His campaign had the wrong numbers, bad assumptions, and underestimated Barack Obama’s campaign team. – Slate Magazine.

Conservatives have two things (humanly speaking) going for them.

1. Hatred of slavery. Romney didn’t believe in this. He figured if the 47% didn’t pay taxes/or were dependent (which? I was never clear on this). But while more dependency will obviously favor the giver of gifts, it isn’t going to be that great experience for everyone. Some will hate it. If they get the idea that the government has destroyed the economy and is benefiting from that destruction by moving more people into dependency, we have every reason to hope for a backlash.

2. Greece Benefits are only attractive when the government actually gives them to the people who are voting for them. Obama is gambling that he can spend and spend some more and not feel the repercussions while he is still in office. Maybe he will make it and escape offshore after he leaves office. But there is a debt Doomsday about to hit. Republicans have contributed to that horrible situation, but Obama has made their sins look almost insignificant. We need to put out a consistent message so when the Obamalypse hits, everyone knows its name.

As a Christian, there is also a lot more to do. But on the level of appealing to a secular culture on economic issues, I think these two points are really important.

(This article derived from a slightly longer version at my website.)

9 Billion Dollars Equals 910 Jobs

CNS News reports:

The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 that created, as the end result, 910 “direct” jobs — annual operation and maintenance positions — meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each of those long-term jobs. {Read the entire piece}

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