Saturday, May 21, 2022

Are we losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our young adults?

Our young people think most corporations are owned by people like Mr Burns


The Left is turning up the volume on their narrative. They are force-feeding glib explanations that blame conservatives for the disasters caused by Leftist policies, glib explanations. These glib explanations create Victim-Aggressor-Rescuer triad, create anger and stoke feelings of envy.

It seems to me that we will be challenged by Progressive tools when we least expect it. Consequently, it is good to have a few "scripts" tucked away that address core-issues and will knock the challengers off-balance. They do not expect resistance and are unprepared for cogent argument.

Furthermore, those fifteen second repartees are excellent for convincing those people who are still considering the evidence and are still sitting on the fence.

I took the liberty of underlining the sentence that I see as the kill-shot. If you can only remember one line, remember the underlined sentence.

Example One

Mrs ERJ went to one of the post-offices in the metro-Lansing area last week. She was approached by a young man with a clip-board. "Have you signed the petition to raise the minimum wage" he asked.

"No point in it, young man. It just drives prices up and young workers are no better off than before. And the higher prices are tough on those of us who are on fixed incomes" Mrs ERJ responded.

"No, you don't understand. We just want the money that the rich corporations are hoarding. Differences in payscales are not equitable. They have to share it so everybody can have a decent life" the young man asserted.

"Frankly, young man, I am very happy to pay a brain-surgeon more than the person making my Subway sandwich" Mrs ERJ responded.

"Yes, but that is not a living wage. Nobody can have a decent life on those wages and everybody deserves a decent life" he shouted.

Mrs ERJ briefly considered asking him if babies who were about to be aborted "deserved a decent life" but decided the question was inflammatory.

"Making sandwiches at Subway shouldn't be a career. It is a job with flexible hours that gives people the opportunity to make a few bucks while they upgrade their skills. Either that, or it is a part-time job for a retired person or a mostly-stay-at-home mother"

The kid gave Mrs ERJ a dirty look and stalked off to look for easier prey.


"Dirty, rotten, corporate bastards are price-gouging and that is what is driving up the price of gasoline. There needs to be a law..."

There already are laws. The RICO statutes specifically outlaw collusion in the setting of prices. If you have proof of collusion then send it to Biden's Justice Department and to the local newspaper.

The primary objection seems to be that gas stations raise the cost of gasoline between gasoline deliveries. Key point: they have to charge the replacement cost of what they are selling if they are to stay in business. It is irrelevant that they might have paid $4 a gallon for the last load of gas. If it jumps to $5 a gallon and they charge $4 then they cannot refill their underground tanks. The only thing worse than expensive fuel is no fuel.

Really, the only opportunity that a gas station has for price gouging is after every other station in town has run out of fuel. Then you can make a credible case for gouging. But really, if you had the last ticket for a super-hot concert...would you have any moral twinges at selling it for 10X what you paid if some other music lover was willing to pay that much out of their own free-will. Asking for a friend.

Gas was cheap under Trump because A.) Covid B.) He was buying gas from the Russians

From Gasbuddy website. Trump, before Covid circled in red. Trump, during Covid response circled in yellow. Biden to the right of the yellow highlighted area.

The United States has NEVER bought any significant amount of oil, gasoline or natural gas from Russia or the Soviet Union. Ever. Full-stop. Total non-factor.

Baby formula shortage is a ploy by greedy corporations to drive the prices up so they can make more money

The implication is that there are warehouses filled with baby formula and corporations are waiting for a total feeding frenzy before releasing it to the market.

See comments regarding collusion in the second paragraph under Price-gouging.

A variant on this argument is that the manufacturers of baby formula are waiting for the US government to invoke the War Powers Act so the "dirty, rotten, greedy, rat-bastard corporations" can avoid the cost of follow Federal Safety protocols and make more money. I suspect that in the long run they would lose any short-term gains to the class-action law suites they would be hammered with. You might want to Google "Johns-Manville asbestos" to see how that worked out.

The reason there is a baby formula shortage is because poorly written and arbitrarily applied regulations make it impossible for new players to enter the market.

Universal, single-payer healthcare

"Everybody deserves access to high-quality health-care"

Yes, the healthcare system in the United States is irrational and confusing and expensive. By-and-large, it is also pretty darned good quality and we have doc-in-a-boxs in adequate numbers east of the Mississippi. People who complain about how hard it is to get to a doctor rarely have problems driving 70 miles to visit a casino or attend a pro sporting event. And the trip to the casino is nearly always more expensive than visiting Dr. Gupta at the DIAB.

So who decides if a trans-gender operation is funded while a 45 year-old diabetic parent who needs a kidney is not? Who makes those decisions? Will there be somebody local that you can present your case to or will it be controlled by anonymous bureaucrats in Washington D.C.? Single-payer translates into "bureaucrats who are not answerable to the people they are presumably serving."

Furthermore, will cash-payment be outlawed under single-payer? "Single-payer" implies that payment can only be disbursed (and therefore accepted) from the Federal government. You might be financially capable of paying for a doctor's visit out-of-pocket but will they be allowed to accept it? I recently had the experience of visiting a doctors office and we lacked a single insurance document. They were on the verge of cancelling our appointment (10 minutes before we were scheduled). When I suggested that we could pay-out-of-pocket the receptionist was unsure on how to make that happen. We got a deer-in-the-headlights stare.

Comments will be appreciated, especially if you can offer simple challenge questions that really will make people step back and examine their assumptions. We cannot win the hearts and minds of our young people by telling them what to think. We need to throw bread-crumbs on the ground that lead them to "Ah-ha!" moments.


  1. With the deliberate mutation of the English language, it's hard even to get across basic ideas to public schooled youngsters. That deer in the headlights or some pseudo-offensive response is quite common.

    Who said control the language and even revolt cannot be conceived?

    “Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments.”
    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm

    This quote was about the Pigs changing the rules every night to amuse themselves.

    Now once in a while I am happy to chat with very intelligent young folks who mostly own their own businesses and such, but they don't need that kick in the pants your talking about.

    Praying for wisdom

    1. "Praying for wisdom"

      I think you have a lot of company.

  2. Not a single person in the entire history of the planet has ever been entitled to a "living wage".

  3. While there are problems in many schools, there is also LOTS of pushback and large numbers of both students and parents recognize and fight the problems.
    Our country is not lost - YET.
    While the problems are bad, they are not irretrievably bad.
    Don't forget that over 90% of the national media is based in either NYC or LA, and much of the rest is based in the DC area. They represent what the see around them and usually it is representative of the whole country - it isn't.

  4. It's always been and always will be: cost for burger, drink and fries is one hour of wage.

  5. Without an increase in minimum wage how are they supposed to afford their new tattoos and hair dye? ---ken

  6. ERJ, maybe yes and no. Yes, perhaps in large brush strokes we are "losing the battle" - but I am finding that the young people are also getting smacked in the face by economic realities. It is easy to argue for something in the abstract. When a living wage everywhere means you cannot go out to eat or do the things you normally did because of added cost, or your fuel prices are eating up a larger and larger percentage of your paycheck, it can change thinking. It just takes longer.

  7. Raising the minimum wage indeed will only throw more wrenches into an already broken system and hurt everyone. These issues aren't left vs right either; they are working class vs ruling class, we the people vs the "not our government". I don't want a single payer system but dare I say we the people have already paid for one in the obscene taxes collected. People are cattle, and taxes are the harvest. It would be nice if they were actually spent on the people.

    My understanding of the minimum wage issue is that the purchasing power of our currency is near worthless and has been on a steady decline ever since Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold. Minimum wage was $1.25 in 1964, but people have demanded $15 (2016), $20 (2019) and now $24. The dollar amount is largely irrelevant, it's the purchasing power demanded for basic labor that is relatively the same and seems to follow the melt value of silver. A currency backed with silver is an asset based currency and immutably linked to other goods, services, and assets; quite different than debt based FIAT we currently use.

    Unfortunately we have no price discovery anymore and I think this trend is also about to break. We have record breaking inflation but precious metals are down significantly. Physical is double that of spot due to the milking of premiums and suppression of spot price with paper trades.

    The relation of rent and housing to wages have also become far out of whack. In the 1930s, rent cost around 18% of the average paycheck and a house was around 200-300% of a years pay. Today, it's over 25% and nearing 800% respectively. This is for too many factors to list but some of them include debasing the currency, Blackstone buying up single family homes, cost of energy increasing everything in general, etc. People today have little hope of owning a single family home in a good neighborhood.

    I would sooner live out of a backpack in the wonderful national parks of America before accepting the insulting wages offered in this day and age. $15/hr won't even provide the essentials of a roof, food, vehicle + insurance, and a cell phone and it's going to get a lot worse.

    If I walked into the hardware store and demanded 3/4ths plywood for $8/ea, 2x12 - 16 boards for $10/ea, I would be shown the door; yet employers make demands in-kind for skills and labor, then wonder why no one is selling to them. Businesses of every size claim no one wants to work, but the truth of the matter is businesses refuse to pay a wage that people want to work for. Big difference between a good wage for good work vs blatant exploitation. People are more than willing to work if they are paid to work.

    I'll restate that the minimum wage does not need to be raised, rather it is the currency that needs to be repaired. When the money is fixed and the dollar buys what it used to, then everyone will benefit from it. This is not left/right issue but a working class vs ruling class issue. Big government thrives on unchecked spending and it hurts us all.

    Before anyone calls me a lazy loafer; I'm a former 0311 and now a sole-proprietor / business owner specializing in ornamental plants. People have very little disposable purchasing power and I'm seeing it first hand with my customers drying up; it's mostly due to the gas prices and the dementia patient. When money is tight, I'm first to get cut. I made good coin under President Trump when gas was cheap and everyone was still hiding inside / in back yards and planned appropriately.

    Separate issue but still tied to wages. Rampant illegal immigration combined with keeping Americans too poor to have kids and a legal system set against men results in demographic replacement. America will cease to exist within a few generations unless we change course.


    1. Regarding housing: The square footage per person has increased by approximately a factor of four since the 1950s. That pushes the price up.

      One person estimated that the new requirements (at least in Michigan) that foundations be insulated with the equivalent of 6" of foam drives the cost of an average house up $60k. It also makes wiring exterior walls and running plumbing more challenging.

      Builders are faced with almost $100k in mandatory costs (engineered drain-fields, insulated foundation, well and so on) before they build a single square foot of enclosed space. The best way for them to dilute that fixed cost is by building big houses. It is easier to hide an extra $100k in a 2800 square-foot house than it is in an 800 square-foot house.

      So, at least with respect to houses, there are a lot of factors coming into play to make them more expensive.

    2. Trimmed to 2K char

      Indeed. several books could be written on wages and housing. Older homes also didn't have garages or AC, an attic at best. All of the regulations and improvements do drive up costs. Regulations are why I like unincorporated land.

      Food and home owning racing ahead of wages is one of the core reasons why some want the MIN-wage increased but they don't grasp that it won't help solve the disparity between purchasing power of the wage and goods.

      I didn't expect to write a wall, but I thought I would touch on wages again; specifically addressing the wealth hording and tax the rich topic often brought by the left. I read/lurk on r/anti-work, among others and I actually learned a lot on how to defend myself against unions, lawsuits, employee theft, etc.

      The subject of wages is a complicated mess with multiple right and wrong positions. A psycho-pharmacologist should make more than a stock-boy, Illegal aliens depress wages similar to slavery, and increases to the minimum wage are near as bad as debasing the currency; etc.

      Now is when I get to sound like a liberal and tickle the evil corporate topic. The created wealth from employees doesn't dissipate into nothing regardless of the currency. Rather than wealth returning to workers as higher wages, it appears that the wealth created is indeed hoarded by top executives and CEOs.

      Businesses exist to make money, usually by bringing goods & services to market; I formed a little LLC for the same purposes. The people that form, run, or put forth the financial risk do deserve the lion's share of profit, however the median worker to CEO pay gap has gone far beyond the lion's share.

      Disclaimer: stats that follow are from which I recall is heavily funded by labor unions (liberals) and relatively biased but it is what it is. A salt shaker is handy.

      1965 - 1989, the median worker pay to CEO / executive pay was 1:20 - 1:58, very reasonable pay. It peaked in 2000 at an obscene 1:386, bounced a little bit, now at 1:351 and rapidly increasing. In decades past, this wealth would have been put back into the company as improved facilities, bonuses, and better pay, but it seems that it's being concentrated into a few hands.

      It's partially greed, the rest being byproduct of competition in the market place and companies trying to build the best pay/benefit packages to retain high skilled executives. The CEO / Board can make or break the company and high pay is warranted.

      I'm not going to say eat the rich or steal their money, etc, it's the owner / shareholder's money and they have every right to it. People willingly work for their wages despite their limited options; so the system persists. Unions are now on the rise as a result; unions are usurpers and a mutinous

      Better wages would help working class America but it can't be forced. Printing FIAT/debasement produces inflation. Hiking MIN-wage increases cost of doing business. The one place left for money to come from in a way that it won't increase the cost of goods is by companies willingly putting excess profit into better wages like the old days. Trying to force this will result in company wealth being further shielded.

      Socialists may be shocked to learn that what they want is actually a capitalist idea, probably the original idea of a company: a co-op. Every member has some ownership and is entitled to a portion of profits, after expenses, relative to their time and role in the company. Stock is a common compensation that makes members fractional owners.

      Don Vultaggio Keeps Arizona Ice tea $.99 because the difference comes from disposable profit.

      Hopefully I articulated the whole greedy corporations hoarding the wealth thing in a way that makes some sense. A lot of people on the street with clipboards are likely ignorant on their own topics. I think the true solution to the situation is the improvement of moral health of Americans but that's a tall order. As for me, I'll simply be the change I wish to see.

      - Arc

    3. Arc, have you ever considered blogging when business is slow?

  8. The reasons for health care costing so much are complex and myriad. Among them are the vast improvements in technology that allows us to provide much better care than half century ago....i.e things like CT and MRI scanners. They give ENORMOUS amounts of information to doctors but the equipment is VERY expensive and competent techs to run them are not minimum wage employees either. Another factor, probably the BIGGEST factor was the EMTALA law from the 80's the REQUIRES healthcare facilities with an ER to see and provide care to ANYONE regardless of ability or willingness to pay. When you offer something to people and don't force them to pay for it a huge percentage will take that offer and refuse to pay. But the costs still exist and are merely passed on to those who have insurance or who have assets that can be taken from them to pay the bills. Finally.....the litigious nature of American society. EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR is forced to practice 'defensive medicine' in case they are sued. If they don't they have ZERO defense for any lawsuit they face. Thus they order EVERY TEST imaginable for EVERY complaint a patient gives them. This drives up costs....which again are passed on to those with insurance or who have assets. There are other lesser factors involved also. And there is no easy solution to ALL of the problems regarding healthcare costs. Ending the insanity of EMTALA would help but it's only a portion of the problem.